Parades across the nation were flooded with spectators, and White House delivers Columbus Day Proclamation praising Italian Americans!
By Truby Chiaviello, PRIMO Magazine
- COPOMIAO President Basil Russo Wins Key Revisions in 2022 White House Columbus Day Proclamation
- Italian Americans Flooded the Executive Branch’s Communications Network With Petitions
- Columbus Day Showed Intense Outpouring of Enthusiasm in Cities Across the Nation!
- It’s Not Over: Biden Issues Indigenous Peoples’ Day Proclamation on Oct. 10
What a day!
Maybe the best Columbus Day of the 2000s.
Italian Americans came out in glorious enthusiasm for festivals, ceremonies and parades, from Boston to Baltimore, from Syracuse to San Francisco.
Amateur photographs and videos from endless smart phone uploads flooded social media on Monday to show hundreds of thousands of participants in this year’s Columbus Day parades.
The weekend celebration began with a bang.
Big news from Washington.
The outcome was at hand over the annual Columbus Day proclamation by the White House. Would the message be a repeat of 2021? Would President Joe Biden again insert text to taint the legacy of Christopher Columbus with reminders of past injustices committed by others against Native Americans?
Niente da fare!
Basil M. Russo came through. He sent out a call for all Italian Americans to get involved. As president of the Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations (COPOMIAO), Judge Russo structured a well-managed grass roots campaign. Italian Americans were urged to contact the White House by email, text and phone. The mission was to demand this year’s proclamation be about Columbus, only.
Italian Americans flooded the communication lines of America’s executive branch. The message was heard loud and clear inside the West Wing.
The White House Office of Public Engagement turned to Judge Russo about the specific wording of this year’s Columbus Day Proclamation. Unacceptable was any wording to diminish the legacy of Columbus or taint the celebration of a day of great importance to Italian Americans.
No repeat of 2021: There were no of Indigenous Peoples Day references, or wording about the past injustices of Native Americans.
This year’s White House proclamation, posted on October 8th, praised the courage and vision of Columbus, along with the acknowledgement of contributions made by Italian Americans to the United States. That was what we wanted.
The effort is indicative of what Italian Americans can do when mobilized. When we speak up, we will be heard by our elected officials.
Victory is to be cherished. Defeatism avoided. Cynicism contained.
There will be those who remind us that not one, but two, White House proclamations were made this year. One for Columbus Day, the other for Indigenous Peoples Day. This was also done in 2021. Yet, unlike last year’s, the proclamation for this Columbus Day was solely focused on the Genoese explorer and Italian Americans. That’s a big step forward in lieu of a Democratic president and administration tied to a host of interest groups to embrace political correctness and historical revision.
President Biden is, no doubt, an experienced politician. He knows the ways of Janus. He turned one side to Italian Americans to ensure Columbus Day was exclusively issued as our ethnic holiday. Another side was turned the other way toward American Indians and supportive minority groups to claim the duality of October 10th, for Columbus Day and Indigenous Peoples Day.
Machiavelli would be proud.
Like it or not, Columbus Day has become a hot button political issue. Hence, leaders such as Basil Russo and others, with experience in politics and grass roots campaigns, are to be supported and followed.
The struggle continues. We have to keep up the pressure in all corners of the United States. From City Hall to the Halls of Congress. From Governors’ Mansions to the White House. Italian Americans are called upon to petition their elected leaders to ensure the survival of Columbus Day for future generations. We must educate ourselves about the true achievements of Columbus to defend our hero against any and all revisionists who seek to destroy his reputation. We must engage. We must stay on offense.
We take heart in the Italian American One Voice Coalition, as founded by the late Dr. Manny Alfano. Here is a group that is unceasing in their frontline advocacy. They have Andre DiMino, a natural born speaker, with the necessary charm and eloquence, who was on more radio and television shows this year than in years past to offer his vital defense of Columbus Day.
Moving forward is a theme to make this year’s Columbus Day so special.
The Columbus Day parade up Fifth Avenue in New York remains the stellar event. An incredible display of Italian American pride was in full force with festooned floats, boisterous bands and fervent flag wavers. Shown on local television, the occasion marked a time when the federal holiday was one of the city’s top events. The Columbus Citizens Foundation, an organization devoted to all things Italian American, as founded by Generoso Pope in 1944, once again did an outstanding job in organizing the Columbus Day parade. Meanwhile, the Columbus Heritage Coalition, as led by Angelo Vivolo, has established a wide range of political support. Vivolo was most pleased to hear Mayor Eric Adams say on the Arthur Aidala Power Hour radio show, yesterday, “Uplifting the heritage of groups doesn’t have to tear down other groups. We have room in this country to uplift all groups because all of us contribute to what we call the American Dream.”
Festivals from Boston to San Francisco saw more attendees than in years past. The reason was, in part, due to a continued reduction in Covid-19 restrictions, not to mention conducive weather in most places. Sunny blue skies were seemingly everywhere. Here are some highlights:
The Columbus Day Italian American Heritage Parade in Philadelphia started at the 1700 block of South Broad Street between Moore and Morris on Sunday, October 9, at high noon. This year’s grand marshal was Deana Martin.
Also, in Philadelphia, was the first-ever Acme Festa Italiana at 1901 Johnston St. in South Philly from Noon to 4 p.m., October 8.
In Baltimore, the Italian Heritage Festival convened from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., along Stiles and Exeter streets in Little Italy on October 9.
In Hunterdon County, New Jersey, the Columbus Day Parade was held on Sunday, October 9, in Seaside Heights. The grand marshal was the Honorable Gilda Rorro Baldassari.
In Chicago, the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans hosted the 70th annual Columbus Day Parade up State Street, from Wacker Drive to Van Buren Street, on October 10th. The parade saluted Angelo and Romana Caputo.
In San Francisco, the Italian Heritage Festival & Parade was held in North Beach.
In St. Louis, the Italian American Heritage Festa and Parade, formerly known at the Columbus Day Parade, began at noon on the Sunday before Columbus Day at the corner of Macklind and Botanical.
In Bloomfield, Pennsylvania, The Pittsburgh Columbus Day Parade was held on October 8, near the West Penn Hospital on Liberty Avenue, with a reviewing stand in front of Saint Joseph Church.
In Watertown, Massachusetts, a whole month’s worth of events have been ongoing in celebration of Italian American Heritage Month. In East Boston, The Columbus Day event at Tall Ship Park had thousands in attendance.
In Cleveland, the Columbus Day Parade began at noon on October 10th after a morning Mass at Holy Rosary Church in the city’s Little Italy neighborhood. The parade was sponsored by the Italian Sons and Daughters of America with grand marshal Paola Allegra Baistrocchi, Consul of Italy in Detroit. Special parade guests were Phyllis Lippardo, Marie Frank and Joe Frank.
In Queens, New York, the Federation of Italian American Organizations of Queens, Inc. presented the 45th Annual Queens Columbus Day parade on Saturday, October 8. This year’s grand marshal was Vito Giannola, executive vice president, chief retail banking officer of Provident Bank.
In Manhattan, the 2022 Columbus Circle Annual Wreath Laying Ceremony was held on Sunday, October 9, in Columbus Circle as organized by the National Council of Columbia Associations and the Columbus Citizens Foundation.
In Washington, D.C., the Holy Rosary Church and Piazza Italiana held a Columbus Day ceremony on October 9.
In Washington, D.C. the National Christopher Columbus Association held a ceremony at the National Columbus Memorial on October 10th. Honored was the Italian Ambassador to the United States, Mariangela Zappia, and the Ambassador of Spain to the United States Santiago Cabañas.
In Syracuse, New York, the Columbus Monument Corporation hosted their annual Columbus Day Wreath-Laying Ceremony at Columbus Circle with a luncheon celebration that followed.
In Fairfield, New Jersey, the Italian Columbus Festival was presented by Unico National on October 9 at the Fairfield Recreation Center.
Below is the full text of President Joseph Biden’s 2022 Columbus Day proclamation and excerpts from the White House proclamation for Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
In 1492, Christopher Columbus sailed from the Spanish port of Palos de la Frontera on behalf of Queen Isabella I and King Ferdinand II, but his roots trace back to Genoa, Italy. The story of his journey remains a source of pride for many Italian Americans whose families also crossed the Atlantic. His voyage inspired many others to follow and ultimately contributed to the founding of America, which has been a beacon for immigrants across the world.
Many of these immigrants were Italian, and for generations, Italian immigrants have harnessed the courage to leave so much behind, driven by their faith in the American dream — to build a new life of hope and possibility in the United States. Today, Italian Americans are leaders in all fields, including government, health, business, innovation, and culture.
Things have not always been easy; prejudice and violence often stalled the promise of equal opportunity. In fact, Columbus Day was created by President Harrison in 1892 in response to the anti-Italian motivated lynching of 11 Italian Americans in New Orleans in 1891. During World War II, Italian Americans were even targeted as enemy aliens. But the hard work, dedication to community, and leadership of Italian Americans in every industry make our country stronger, more prosperous, and more vibrant. The Italian American community is also a cornerstone of our Nation’s close and enduring relationship with Italy — a vital NATO Ally and European Union partner. Today, the partnership between Italy and the United States is at the heart of our efforts to tackle the most pressing global challenges of our time, including supporting Ukraine as it defends its freedom and democracy.
In commemoration of Christopher Columbus’s historic voyage 530 years ago, the Congress, by joint resolution of April 30, 1934, and modified in 1968 (36 U.S.C. 107), as amended, has requested the President proclaim the second Monday of October of each year as “Columbus Day.”
NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim October 10, 2022, as Columbus Day. I direct that the flag of the United States be displayed on all public buildings on the appointed day in honor of our diverse history and all who have contributed to shaping this Nation.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this seventh day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-two, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-seventh.
-JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.
On Indigenous Peoples’ Day, we honor the sovereignty, resilience, and immense contributions that Native Americans have made to the world; and we recommit to upholding our solemn trust and treaty responsibilities to Tribal Nations, strengthening our Nation-to-Nation ties.
I learned long ago that Tribal Nations do better when they make their own decisions. That is why my Administration has made respect for Tribal sovereignty and meaningful consultation with Tribal Nations the cornerstone of our engagement and why I was proud to restore the White House Council on Native American Affairs. To elevate Indigenous voices across our Government, I appointed Deb Haaland as Secretary of the Interior, the first Native American to serve as a cabinet secretary, along with more than 50 other Native Americans now in significant roles across the executive branch.
These efforts are a matter of dignity, justice, and good faith. But we have more to do to help lift Tribal communities from the shadow of our broken promises, to protect their right to vote, and to help them access other opportunities that their ancestors were long denied. On Indigenous Peoples’ Day, we celebrate indigenous history and our new beginning together, honoring Native Americans for shaping the contours of this country since time immemorial.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim October 10, 2022, as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities. I also direct that the flag of the United States be displayed on all public buildings on the appointed day in honor of our diverse history and the Indigenous peoples who contribute to shaping this Nation.
-JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.
ABOUT THE CONFERENCE OF PRESIDENTS OF MAJOR ITALIAN AMERICAN ORGANIZATIONS
Formed in 1975 and based in NYC, the Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations is comprised of 58 of the most influential, cultural, educational, fraternal and anti-defamation groups in the nation. The Conference of Presidents is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit institution.