ROME, Italy—History was made today when Parliamentarians overwhelmingly approved a motion in defense of Christopher Columbus. The motion was presented by Hon. Fucsia Fitzgerald Nissoli and Hon. Federico Mollicone, who are distinguished members of the Italian Parliament’s Chamber of Deputies.
Discussions on the motion began in October 2020, and its’ passage represents a landmark victory for Italians and Italian Americans alike.
The motion’s stated purpose is outlined below:
“The Italian Chamber of Deputies commits the Government
1) to take action, on the political and diplomatic level, so that the Italian cultural heritage in the USA and the symbolic figure of that heritage embodied by Christopher Columbus may be safeguarded;
2) to use all the communication tools available to the Government, to grant the enhancement, both at the level of bilateral Italy-U.S. relations and at the multilateral level, of the real historical role of Christopher Columbus, an explorer moved by the noble sentiments of discovery, at the basis of the evolution of society and of the whole of humanity.”
Read the full motion, here.
The Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations (COPOMIAO), led by Basil M. Russo, fully endorses this first-ever motion by the Italian Parliament, which, up until now, was unengaged on the fight for Columbus in the U.S.
COPOMIAO, the national voice on Italian American issues, would like to extend its unwavering gratitude to Hon. Nissoli and Hon. Mollicone, and to Umberto Mucci — the Founder and CEO of We the Italians.
With virtually no support from their peers to begin with, these Italian leaders spent years defending Columbus as a symbol of Italian American history and pride, and without them this near-unanimous vote would not have come to fruition.
In July, Mucci will organize a press conference live from the press room of the Italian Parliament in Rome, where Hon. Nissoli and Hon. Mollicone, as well as Basil M. Russo, will comment on the outcome of the vote.
Meanwhile in America, The Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations is working every day alongside the Columbus Heritage Foundation, the Columbus Citizens Foundation, the Commission for Social Justice, UNICO, Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America, the Italian Sons and Daughters of America, the Italian American One Voice Coalition, the National Columbus Education Foundation and many more to protect and preserve Columbus holidays, parades and statues — all of which are directly tied to Italian American heritage, traditions and values.
“Italian Americans are proud that our brothers and sisters in Italy appreciate the significance that Christopher Columbus represents in the history and assimilation of Italian immigrants and their descendants into American society. We are very grateful for their support,” said Basil M. Russo, in response to the newly passed motion.
The time-honored Columbus Day celebrations were launched in the late 1800s as Italian immigrants attempted to create a sense of self-esteem and dignity during a period where they were subjected to lynchings, bigotry and prejudice throughout the U.S.
Columbus’s journey sparked 500 years of immigration to America, attracting peoples from throughout the world seeking a better life for their families — this is the spirit we champion and are fighting to preserve, and this is what the Columbus statues stand for.
The Italian American community has always supported the designation of an Indigenous Peoples Day as it is most rightly and most justly deserved.
However, it’s patently unjust that our heritage be erased to appease another group.
Through today’s motion, the governmental and business leaders in Italy have sent a clear message that the unfair and lawless treatment of Italian American history will not be tolerated.
About the Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations (COPOMIAO.org):
COPOMIAO, based in New York City, is a coalition of leaders from the 48 largest and most influential IA groups, and we’re here to preserve and promote our impactful culture for today’s generations, and tomorrow’s.
For more information, please email our main office at firstname.lastname@example.org
(Photo credit: Presidenza della Repubblica)