Your incredible leadership and the cooperation of the Italian American community in Cleveland is the model that we all need to follow.
We must promote your success with all Italian Americans to inspire them to get involved and support Columbus Day in their communities. Your example proves through commitment, hard work and unity we can achieve our goal to preserve Columbus Day while respecting others.
God Bless you especially, and all your friends in Cleveland for this wonderful accomplishment.
All my best,
Dear Angelo, Aileen and Conference Members,
WE WON! Last night Cleveland City Council voted unanimously to retain Columbus Day in Cleveland. The original Resolution presented to Council sought to abolish Columbus Day, and replace it with Indigenous People’s Day. Instead Council approved an amended Resolution that designated August 9th as Indigenous People’s Day, thereby preserving Columbus Day in Cleveland.
Hundreds of Italian Americans answered our call for help and packed Cleveland City Council chambers to show their support for maintaining Columbus Day in Cleveland. We were able to convince the Council that the fair and proper solution to this issue is to respect the right of both communities to celebrate their heritage, we on Columbus Day and the Native Americans on a day other than Columbus Day.
This battle played itself out over the past few months with the Italian American community working diligently and effectively to convince our Mayor and Council Members to appreciate and support our position. Council Members were deluged with over 1,000 emails, and one-on-one discussions were held with all of the public officials.
Bus loads of Italian Americans filled the Council Chambers last night, and cheered their victory while waving Italian and American flags. It was a very emotional evening.
This victory has certainly bonded Cleveland’s Italian American community, and I am hopeful it will serve as an inspiration for other communities experiencing the same challenge.
Basil M. Russo
Vice Chair, Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations
National President, Order Italian Sons and Daughters of America