Italian Americans Unite to Oppose NYC DOE Elimination of Columbus Day in Major Event at Columbus Circle in NYC

Italian American organizations unite to denounce NYC DOE elimination of Columbus Day - demand Mayor and Chancellor return Columbus Day holiday to NYC Schools.

Italian American Civil Rights event sends clear and united message to Mayor deBlasio and NYC DOE - stop violating the civil rights of Italian Americans!

A widespread assemblage of Italian Americans joined forces in Manhattan to denounce the New York City DOE elimination of Columbus Day.

BLOOMFIELD, NJ, USA, May 20, 2021 / -- A widespread assemblage of Italian Americans joined forces at Columbus Circle in Manhattan to denounce the New York City Department of Education’s (“NYC DOE”) elimination of Columbus Day. The event, held on May 12, dubbed “An Italian American Civil Rights Press Conference,” was covered by major networks and media outlets. The Italian American One Voice Coalition (“IAOVC”), joined with dozens of Italian American organizations, from across the tri-state area, to demand the NYC DOE immediately restore the Columbus Day holiday in New York City schools.

Speakers at the event, representing many thousands of Italian Americans spanning the region, presented the case for the restoration of the holiday so important to generations of Italian Americans. Introduced by entertainer and radio host Joe Piscopo, dignitaries from the Italian American groups that organized the event presented a detailed and compelling case opposing the attack on Italian American civil rights by nixing the holiday.

“Last Tuesday the NYC DOE, without warning or public input changed Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day,” stated Angelo Vivolo, President of the Columbus Heritage Coalition. “Due to the immediate backlash, within hours they attempted to placate us by making it both Italian Heritage Day/Indigenous People’s Day. That is totally unacceptable. It is a violation of Italian American civil rights to eliminate our holiday. The Mayor and Chancellor should immediately restore Columbus Day to the school calendar.”

Basil Russo, Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations stated, “Columbus is an iconic symbol to all Italian Americans as an apology for the lynchings, discrimination and denigration suffered by generations past. Primary sources show Columbus was not responsible for all being claimed by revisionists. Indigenous People should be celebrated on the two days and month already set aside for them and Columbus Day should remain in New York City and across the USA. Today we have unprecedented unity of Italian Americans from across the country denouncing the NYC DOE’s attack on our heritage.”

Robert M. Ferrito, National President of the Commission for Social Justice of the Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America (“CSJ-OSDIA”), continued, “Stop violating Italian American civil rights. Stop dividing people by pitting one group against another. Italian Americans should be treated equally. We are calling for all elected officials to join in defending Italian American civil rights. Mayor De Blasio and Chancellor Ross Porter must immediately restore the second Monday each October permanently to Columbus Day.”

In addition to the three main speakers, representatives from other organizations commented. These included Frank Lorenzo, VP of IAOVC and John Frata, NY State Chair of CSJ-OSDIA, also organizers of the event.

Arthur Aidala, Past President of the Columbian Lawyers Association, NY City Councilman Joe Borelli, Sid Rosenberg of the Bernie and Sid Radio Show on WABC 770 AM, Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa and many other special guests, celebrities and dignitaries attended to show their support along with the Columbia Associations of FDNY, SDNY and the NYPD

Anthony Naccarato, President of the New York State Grand Lodge of OSDIA, the largest Lodge in the country, has been directly involved with the organization of this event since inception. He commented, “Since this is a New York State issue that affects Italian Americans in New York City, the State and actually, across the country, we must do all we can to have our civil rights respected by NYC DOE by immediately restoring Columbus Day to New York City schools.”

“The Italian American Civil Rights event was a resounding success,” stated Manny Alfano, Founder and President of IAOVC. “This is just one of many actions we have planned to defend our Italian American civil rights and our important American holiday, Columbus Day.”

"Our organizations have already filed federal lawsuits in other parts of the country to defend Italian American civil rights, and New York may join that list," commented Andre DiMino, Executive Board member of IAOVC. “We thank NY State Senator Andrew Lanza for introducing a bill to reclaim Columbus Day on the NYC DOE school calendar. All representatives should be taking action to combat City-sanctioned racism that targets Italian Americans in the NYC school system, “continued DiMino.

IAOVC notes there is no other ethnic group in NYC subjected to such unequal treatment and misuse of government authority. IAOVC has stated on several occasions that there is no legitimate government objective in removing, renaming or combining Columbus Day with another holiday. “Combining our ethnic holiday with another only dilutes our culture making our contributions to NYC and the USA insignificant. That is anything but inclusionary.”

IAOVC’s sole focus is to foster education to fight bias, stereotyping and discrimination against Italian Americans. An IRS-Registered 501(c)3 non-profit, IAOVC issues an email newsletter, “The Alfano Digest,” to more than 6,000 individuals and Italian American organizations nationwide. Written and compiled by Dr. Manny Alfano, the Digest issues alerts on instances of bias, stereotyping, discrimination and defamation and activates the IAOVC nationwide network of “Defenders” who respond through calls, emails, faxes, letters and demonstrations. The Digest contains informative and educational Italian American cultural and heritage information. To receive the Digest, email Dr. Alfano – or visit

Andre DiMino
Italian American ONE VOICE Coalition
+1 201-739-6000
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