The Columbus Heritage Coalition’s mission of education, outreach and advocacy is energized and engaged at the highest levels of state government. Our comprehensive legislative agenda is focused on curriculum, charter schools and the advancement of our culture and heritage.
Our most pressing need is to stop pending legislation that would kill Columbus Day in New York State.
I am pleased to report on my successful trip to Albany on May 22 to meet with the Italian American Legislative Caucus. I was very fortunate to have been introduced by Anthony Ilacqua to John DeFrancisco who was for 26 years a State Senator and is liked and respected by everyone. He guided me and introduced me to as many senators as possible while he personally spoke with many of them privately in support of Columbus Day.
I had many very good conversations with the caucus members. I was so pleased to see my friend, longtime New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, an Italian-American who supports and respects the dignity that all cultures and ethnicities deserve, a view that we proudly share. I was very fortunate to stand alongside my dear friend and Caucus Honoree Lidia Bastianich as she encouraged legislators to listen to our message.
We support the proper recognition of a dedicated day of celebration for Indigenous Peoples Day on the Friday of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. We oppose the divisive approach of Senator Jessica Ramos of Queens to kill Columbus Day.
I had an eye opener when I visited the Senate as they debated and passed a law to add Asian-American history as part of the New York State schools curriculum which we are happy to support.
We have been a strong advocate for curriculum on the civil rights injustices, including illegal surveillance, arrests and jailings of 120,000 Japanese and more than 600,000 Italians in the United States during the World War II era.
We must remain engaged and continue to encourage the Caucus members on the importance of having this story included in the New York State school curriculum. We support all cultures and ethnicities.
We ask for the same respect for our rich culture and heritage, to be acknowledged and celebrated.
We can no longer be passive while others speak out and take action to achieve recognition. We must make sure our collective voices are heard.
This Memorial Day weekend is a time to reflect on all those who gave their lives for our great country. In celebrating this weekend let us not forget the gift they gave us with their sacrifice and support for the principle that America stands for.
All my best,
Columbus Heritage Coalition