San Francisco Italian American groups launched a referendum campaign Thursday to reclaim the former Columbus Day as “Italian American Heritage Day” following a Board of Supervisors decision last month to rename it as Indigenous Peoples Day.
The board voted 10-1 in January in favor of the name change. The national holiday was named in honor of Italian explorer Christopher Columbus, who is credited with discovering the Americas but also with contributing to Native American genocide
“It’s sad that a man who most Americans once recognized as the seed-planter of their civilization has been so unceremoniously cast aside.
There was a time when Columbus was a nearly universally revered figure in the Americas, a man who stood for the bold, entrepreneurial spirit of the New World.
Columbus was a hero for immigrants, a man who risked all to forge a new beginning in a far-off land.”
The San Jose, Calif. City Council voted to remove a statue of explorer Christopher Columbus from the City Hall lobby after hours of contentious debate.
“It’s kind of a setback in our culture. Columbus is renown throughout the world, not just in Italy,” said Tony Zerbo with the Italian American Heritage Foundation. “Italian Americans here, in San Francisco and throughout the Bay Area are very proud of that.”
Given the history of Italian music and the contributions to the development of twentieth- and twenty-first-century United States music by Italians and Italian Americans, to leave any and all of them out of an initial discussion, as did Carnegie Hall, suggests ignorance, disregard, and/or blatant prejudice with regard to the value such contributions have truly made to U.S. music in particular and to U.S. music in general.
The New York–based Stella, now 81, burst onto the scene barely out of college with his “Black Paintings,” sober geometric studies composed of wide black stripes separated by chalky white lines. These won him inclusion in “16 Americans,” the famed 1959–60 group show at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. He stayed in the forefront of art, working with famed gallerist Leo Castelli, relentlessly pursuing geometric form and never repeating himself. By the 1990s, he had moved from sober grids on canvas to ebullient three-dimensional sculptures, a path he continues to follow.
Why is this controversy involving Eataly in Chicago continuing?
The advertisement placed in the window of the River North marketplace reportedly reads “BRING HOME AN ITALIAN, WORTH THE SMELL” in large print, followed by an image of white truffles.The sign, which some believe to be an offensive message about Italians, continues with smaller print, “Fresh white truffles are hunted in the wild forests of central Italy only a few months out of the year. Once you taste the aromatic tuber, you will want to bring this well-shaven Italian with you everywhere.”
Here’s a link to more details about additional offensive ads used by Eataly Chicago, including: “BRING HOME AN ITALIAN, GREAT LEGS, BETTER BODY,” a sign displaying wine, and “BRING HOME AN ITALIAN, THE NEW HUNK IN TOWN,” advertising salami.
Photo credit Lou Foglia, Chicago Tribune
“To take our day away is an insult to our culture,” said Guido Perego, president of the Italian Athletic Club in the city’s traditionally Italian-American North Beach neighborhood. “The city is basically pitting one culture against another.”The board voted 10-1 to make the change on Tuesday.San Francisco is not alone. Four states and 55 other cities, including Seattle and Phoenix, have rebranded the federal holiday as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Berkeley, California, was the first U.S. city to make the mov
Assemblyman Ron Castorina said GOP leaders have attacked Italian-Americans in an attempt to bad mouth Gov. Andrew Cuomo and former aide Joseph Percoco outside the Manhattan Federal Courthouse Monday, where jury selection was underway for Percoco’s trial…….
Castorina (R-South Shore/Staten Island) said the imagery fails to attack the “alleged pay-to-play culture” and points the finger at Italian-Americans.
“The chairs, in attacking the Governor, acted in an insensitive and outrageous manner, misappropriating certain cultural markers and using them against an Italian-American Governor. “The hashtag ‘#CultureOfCorruption’ begs the question what culture? Italian-American culture?” Castorina said in statement.
Gaga gave a monologue on equality and then launched into “Edge of Glory”, dedicating it to her family and in particular to her cousins Antonino, Giuseppe and Maria Germanotta. “Today I’m here with my whole family,” she said, seated at the piano. “I met my Italian cousins for the first time; they came up from Sicily. I think about how my grandparents left such a beautiful place, of the sacrifices they made. Being here makes me feel like I’ve made them proud,” she said.
As a first generation Italian-American, to me and to many like me, Christopher Columbus represents the idea that you can voyage far away from home, and with a dream, and perseverance and sacrifice, and faith and hard work, you can find a better life and enjoy the freedom with which we are blessed to have in this awesome country we call the United States of America.
The Italian American Museum has struck a deal to sell three buildings it owns on Grand Street to a development group that will build a bigger museum in the base of a residential condo the group plans to erect on the site.The museum, founded by Joseph Scelsa, a retired sociology professor at Queens College who specialized in Italian American history and research, will use the larger space to expand exhibitions and hold events.”This space will be all about the Italian-American experience,” Scelsa said. “We want to show the contributions to society and the art that Italian-Americans have made. We’ll have more room for galleries in this new facility, along with areas for classes, lectures and performances.”
As the Holiday Season approaches, I wish to extend to you and your families my best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
During this time we ponder the events of the past months, reflect upon the outcomes, and start planning future projects.
In 2017 Italy has been on the forefront of the International scene, as Chair of the G7 and a Member of the United Nations Security Council. In 2018 Italy carries on its commitment towards peace and shared security by holding the Chair of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
The Embassy of Italy in the United States, the Italian Consular network and the Italian Cultural Institutes have been steadfast in their promotional activities in all sectors of political and trade relations, cultural events, scientific cooperation and teaching of our beautiful language.
Just like in the past, we were able to count on the priceless support of Italians who live in the United States, whom I have had the pleasure to meet in person on many occasions as I travelled throughout this country. I was able to appreciate the excellent and prestigious contributions that Italians bring to the various fields where they happen to operate. Grazie to all our citizens and to our American friends of Italian descent for their extraordinary passion, professional achievements and above all profound love for Italy.
The year that is about to begin will find us engaged in further strengthening the ties of deep friendship and unceasing cooperation with the United States.
Our fellow citizens residing in the United States will be called to participate in the elections of a new Italian Parliament. The Embassy and the Consular Network will ensure they will be able to exercise their right to vote.
With enthusiasm and, I am confident, with your support, we shall meet the goals that lie ahead of us.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!