Virginia (Papa) Gardner Italian American Alliance, National Chapter, President
I urge you to read this before you vote.
Like many other immigrant groups, we Italians weren’t always welcomed with open arms. We fought stereotypes then and now. But the potential for equality for all, in a nation that fights hard to achieve it every day, drives us forward. My grandparents quickly learned that in some places in this country they were not welcomed. When they looked for work they encountered help wanted signs that read “Italians need not apply” The most hateful act against Italians occurred in New Orleans on March 14 1891. Eleven Innocent Italian men were lynched. The Italian government withdrew its ambassador to Washington, D.C., in protest.
As direct result, Columbus Day was signed into law by President Benjamin Harrison in 1892 as a tribute and an act of forgiveness to the Italian immigrant community. To this day, it is still the largest number of people ever lynched at on time in the United States. The Columbus Day holiday quickly became a great source of pride. For the Italian-American community, Columbus Day was considered an apology for these horrific murders.
To take away the Columbus Day is a slap in the face to the Italian Americans who know the real reason why we celebrate Columbus Day.
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