Thank you all for being here tonight and supporting the great work of the SONS OF ITALY FOUNDATION.
I want to congratulate my fellow honorees and say how humble I am to be included with them in tonight’s celebration.
It is truly a great honor for me to be the recipient of the Sons of Italy Foundation Italian American Leadership Award.
However I accept this award on behalf of so many people in our community who deserve this recognition as much if not more than I do. There are so many friends who I share this recognition with. Many of whom are here tonight.
They quietly with out any personal agendas work hard to do good things on behalf of our Italian American community and beyond. Whatever success I have had, has been inspired by them and could not have been achieved without their leadership. So tonight I say congratulations and thank you to all of you who have lead the way and continue your noble and humble efforts on behalf of our community.
Italian Americans believe in God, Country, Family and hard work. That is who we are and proud of it. We are a compassionate people who respect all cultures and ethnicities. Respect is an important component of our culture and something the world needs more of especially during these times.
In my life I have always been a major proponent of our Italian Heritage and Culture. I have fought to support Columbus Day and the preservation of Columbus Statues. He is a great symbol of the accomplishments of our community. My motto is Drop the Hate and Seek the Truth.
At the base of the his statue at Columbus Circle in NYC is written “To the World he Gave a World and I am proud to say that I was able to help to have his statue be on the State and National Registries as an Historical Monument. It is not going anyplace as long as we stick together.
In Battery Park facing the Statue of Liberty I was fortunate to be the Chairman of a Commission that oversaw the creation of a wonderful monument to a Saintly Italian Nun, Mother Francis Cabrini.
Truly an inspiring statue that everyone should visit.
It is often said that Italians have a great culture but do not work well together. To those people I say:
I wish you were here tonight to witness the collaboration of a passionate and proud Italian American community.
It also has been often said that we are too complacent and do not stand up to others who may want to marginalize our contribution to this great country that our forbearers came to. I say I wish that they were here to meet all of you tonight
You are the strength and force that will ensure that our children and grandchildren will always be proud of their Sangue Italiana. We must continue to be vigilant and support one another so that our collective voice will be heard. With unity and respect for one another we have strength.
Once again thank you for this great honor and May God Bless you, Italy and America always.