Petition to Cleveland City Council, Mayor Frank Jackson
Replace the statue of Christopher Columbus in Little Italy with Chef Boyardee
In 1988, Clevelanders erected a statue to Christopher Columbus in Little Italy. Today it sits in front of Tony Brush Park, and it is the centerpiece of the annual Columbus Day Parade. It is allegedly a monument to a legendary Italian explorer and a symbol of Italian-American pride. Except it isn't. Columbus is not someone we should celebrate. He was a racist monster who initiated the genocide against indigenous Americans. He pioneered the Transatlantic slave trade and likely sent more enslaved people across the sea than any other person. The trade in enslaved Indians was the forerunner to and the basis for the trade in enslaved Africans. According to Spanish historian Peter Martyr, a contemporary of Columbus, so many enslaved Indians died on these journeys that "a ship without a compass, chart, or guide, but only following the trail of dead Indians who had been thrown from the ships could find its way from the Bahamas to Hispaniola." Columbus also bragged in a letter about selling 9- and 10-year old girls into sex slavery. He was, as historian Patrick Wyman put it, "a dogshit person even by the standards of the late 15th century." We don't even know if Columbus was Italian. There is scant evidence to back up the notion that he was born in Genoa, something he never claimed in his own writings. He never wrote in his supposedly native tongue, and some scholars think he was Jewish, Spanish, or Portuguese. If Italian-Americans in Cleveland want to celebrate one of their own, they need look no further than the iconic Ettore (Hector) Boiardi, AKA Chef Boyardee. Born in Piacenza, Ettore immigrated to the U.S. at age 16 in 1914. He eventually moved to Cleveland, where he opened a restaurant, Il Giardino d'Italia, that was so popular people asked him to bottle his sauce for them. Boiardi and his brothers built a canned food empire from the ground up, opening a factory in Milton, Pennsylvania. During World War II, this company produced canned food for American soldiers 24/7. The U.S. government recognized his contributions to the war effort by awarding Chef Boyardee with a Gold Star in 1946, and the Italian government awarded him a Cross of Honor and the title “king of the spaghetti dinner." It's time for Cleveland to remove its statue to a genocidal sociopath with a bowl cut and erect a statue to an immigrant success story who enriched our community with his food and iconic mustache.
Petition to Mayor Frank Cownie, Carl Voss, Connie Boesen, Joe Gatto, Jonathan Gano, Erin Olson-Douglas, Chris Johansen, John Cacciatore, Board of Supervisors
Acknowledge Columbus Park/McKinley School Neighborhood Des Moines Iowa as "Little Italy"
WE, THE UNDERSIGNED, HEREBY PETITION, the City Council of the City of Des Moines Iowa, to pass an ordinance, allowing district signage within the commercial district (crossroads of E. Jackson Ave & SE 1st St) of Columbus Park/McKinley School neighborhood of Des Moines Iowa as “Little Italy”. WE STATE OF BELIEVE: -Signage will be readily visible and comprehensive to create a better sense of geographical and cultural mapping of the city, providing a means of orientation. -To better assist travelers in identifying historical landmark.-To promote a sense of unique identity within the City of Des Moines for the neighborhood and business district. -To attract and support business owners for a thriving business district that provides shopping and dining for the community and travelers.
Petition to Mayor Bill de Blasio
Help us save Nivola's horses.
The recent campaign of rezoning and gentrification of part of Manhattan’s UWS neighborhoods has resulted in the abrupt removal of a herd of stone horses - a series of well-known public art pieces created by Sardinia-born Costantino Nivola. The horses were removed from their urban meadow stretching from 90 - 91st street, between Amsterdam and Columbus Ave, which resulted in their partial or complete breakage. We have talked to Nivola’s Museum Foundation in Sardinia, Italy, and are aware that a conversation with the City authorities has started. However, several weeks have passed and we don’t know where the statues are currently stored. Although the statues will supposedly be re-installed, no renderings of the plan have been released. We have started this petition to voice our concerns about the works which are going on at the Wise Towers complex, and which will result in a re-configuration of the statues different from Nivola's original plan. We are asking all neighbouring communities, State and City associations, agencies, artists’ and residents’ groups, public and private schools, particularly those located on the Upper West Side, to join in and support our request for transparency and regular updates from the authorities. Please sign and share.
Petition to U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, Andrew M. Cuomo, Nancy Pelosi, Donald J. Trump, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Phil Murphy, Charlie Baker, Ned Lamont, Rosa DeLauro, Mayor Byron Brown
Recognize Italian Heritage Day as a Cultural Holiday
Italian Heritage Day already exists, with celebrations and parades throughout the nation. Now it needs its rightful name, in solidarity with, and support of, Indigenous Peoples' Day. MISSION: Establish Italian Heritage Day; a day of celebration for Italian-Americans, who, over the course of generations, have built a nationwide cultural community. Remove the name given to what is effectively Italian Heritage Day, Columbus Day, in 1892 after the mass lynching of 11 Italians in New Orleans. In cities & states that have removed or replaced Columbus Day, recognize Italian Heritage Day as its own, new & separate cultural holiday. Present the petition to politicians, especially Italian-Americans in office, to achieve recognition. [further details] WHY: The Italian-American community is rich and multifaceted. One man does not embody it. Columbus Day is, at times, defended as an Italian heritage day. It should instead be recognized as just that, Italian Heritage Day.Columbus Day will inevitably be done-away with throughout the country, within the decade. Italian Heritage Day should be recognized for current & future generations. Christopher Columbus was a historical figure who sailed for Spain, with a goal of arriving in Asia. He never set foot in modern-day United States. He committed & oversaw atrocities against the indigenous people of the Caribbean, and was arrested & removed from his post by the Spanish crown. This initiative is rare in contemporary politics, as it proves positive across the board. From those who want to celebrate Italian culture, to those who want to help to facilitate recognition of Indigenous Peoples' Day, to those who have defended Columbus Day but understand that the public's opposition will see it replaced in the near future, with Italian Heritage Day presenting a new and welcomed celebration. A step forward for all sides to strengthen the community. Ultimately, Christopher Columbus shares no relation to the modern Italian-American community. Upon arrival in the U.S., 19th & early 20th-century Italian immigrants were persecuted. In efforts to gain acceptance, we embraced the American mythological tales of Columbus as a hero. Today, we are the 5th largest ethnic group in the U.S., and Italian culture is beloved in the American story - on its own, without Columbus. Considering the long list of incredible Italians and Italian-Americans throughout history, we know that he is not our hero, and we, proudly, do not require him to uphold our culture. The minority conflict for preserving his celebratory day unnecessarily pits the entire Italian-American community against the general public and the Native American community, and promotes Italian-American culture in a negative light. There is no movement to detract from Italian-American culture, and negative views on Christopher Columbus need not be perceived as attacks on Italian heritage. Resistance to this change does a disservice to the complex histories of Italian-Americans, Native Americans, and Christopher Columbus himself, forcing controversy rather than the open, in-depth learning that these histories should so receive. Our own history in this country is all-at-once vibrant and dark, triumphant and repressed, joyous and dejected. So we celebrate our parents, our nonno and nonna, our zio and zia, and those before them. We celebrate those who brought with them a specific ambition, as well as those who came empty-handed; those without an ‘American Dream’ in mind, merely searching for sustenance beyond the lives they had, in the lands they knew. We celebrate the great many achievements of Italian-Americans, and the many more to come. We celebrate tradition, family, art, sport, cuisine, community and culture. We, the vast majority of Italian-Americans today, along with an American public that has embraced Italian culture and will be proud to festeggiare with us, are ready to celebrate Italian Heritage Day.
Petition to Al Smith, Josh Losardo, Roshan White, Ted Spera, Elizabeth Stamler, Union County Freeholder Chairman Al Mirabella
Preserve and Protect the Columbus Sculpture in Scotch Plains
I hope this letter finds you all well, On Monday October 12, 1998, the Scotch Plains Community gathered around the Village Green and specifically for the dedication of a three-ton marble sculpture honoring Christoforo Colombo during its annual Columbus Day Festivities. Former State Senate President and Scotch Plains native Donald DiFrancesco called it, "a fabulous tribute to the work ethic of the entire community." The coordinator for the project and the Scotch Plains UNICO Chapter founder John Appezzato, described it as, "It's something that brought the town together." Between UNICO, the Knight of Columbus, and the Italian-American Club they raised $50,000 for the sculpture and shipped it from Italy (where it was sculpted), to Port Newark (like many of us who settled in New Jersey), and eventually to its home today at the Alan Augustine Village Green in Scotch Plains. The design of the sculpture was done by Lennox Brown, an 18 year old African-American student from UCCC who crafted the brilliant design of the world's sphere into the palm of a hand symbolizing how Columbus saw the world as round and defying logic 500 years ago that he'd sail off the edge of the planet. It's hard to believe that almost 22 years later, this sculpture is in danger of being taken down. The proponents of such a move would rather push a narrative that Columbus was a conqueror and not the explorer who represents the journey so many immigrants, Italian or not, made in order to come to this country and make this land their new home in search of a better life. I'm asking you today to sign this petition to show Deputy Mayor Josh Losardo, who asked that the sculpture's place in Scotch Plains be deliberated at the next Township Council meeting Tuesday July 21st at 7:00 pm. Let's show him that we support this gift to the community from 22 years ago and what it truly means for Italian Americans and all immigrants alike. Let us support the inscription at the bottom of the sculpture that reads, "Every man in himself a continent of undiscovered character. Happy he, who acts the Columbus tohis own soul." Thank you, Joe Sarno Proud Member of UNICO and Scotch Plains resident