Letter to Hon. Nancy Pelosi from the Italian American Civic Club

Jul 12, 2020 5041

BY: The Board of Directors, Officers, Members of Italian American Civic Club of Maryland, Inc

Dear Honorable Nancy Pelosi:

This was a sad 4th of July for the Italian American citizens who helped build the City of Baltimore and especially heartbreaking for the Italian American Civic Club of Maryland Inc, which was created in 1943 by your father, the Honorable Thomas D'Alesandro, Jr., who was one of the founding members of our Club. Your brother Tommy was a lifelong member of our club. Your father created our club logo that symbolizes the voyage of Christopher Columbus.

He wrote that one of the objectives of our organization is to commemorate Christopher Columbus “with a fitting celebration, on October 12th” (Article I, sec. 4 Constitution of the IACC ). We have done so since then and established what is now the longest continuous Columbus parade in the United States. As a little girl you and your father celebrated Columbus Day by placing a wreath of honor by the Obelisk in Harford Road. We continue that tradition and started the parade from the Columbus Statue in Little Italy.

Now, the beautiful Statue of Christopher Columbus, the Great Admiral of the Ocean Seas, made with Carrara marble imported from Italy has been destroyed by a mob and thrown into the inner harbor while the police were told to stand down and do nothing. We immediately united and all got together as a community and went down into the harbor to recover its pieces. Like the statue our hearts are broken, but we are putting the statue back together again. We feel this is bigger than Columbus and Little Italy. We feel that these perpetrators have desecrated our happiest memories and attempted to destroy our children’s and our grandchildren’s heritage and history. It was the Italian American working class behind the struggle to build the Columbus Piazza, and now we will rebuild it with the help of our community.

Honorable Speaker Pelosi, a reporter asked your input on this desecration of our memories. We heard you yesterday when you stated that “is up to a community to decide what statues they want to see, but it is very important that we take down any of the statues of people who committed treason against the United States of America.” We understand that Confederate statues are divisive but are outraged to see Columbus associated with those statues. For many of us Columbus is the symbol against these same racial and violent actions perpetrated by white supremacists and the KKK against the Italian American communities starting with the largest mass lynching is U.S. history of 11 Italians in 1891 in New Orleans.

We also heard that you stated your pride in your Italian American heritage. We too are proud. We mourn, we pray, we work, we vote, and we struggle so that our posterity will feel proud to celebrate their heritage. It was a sad 4th of July. One that we will never forget. But our strength is in our unity and in our values to overcome injustice, oppression, and prejudice. We will rebuild. We will endure. We will continue to welcome our brothers and sisters of all ethnicities in Little Italy in hope that you stand with us to celebrate and respect diversities and heritage in the city that we all love. If you would want to know more about the struggles and oppressions of the Italian American community, read this letter that we sent to the Baltimore Mayor and City Council on June 25, 2020—nine days before the destruction of the statute. The City received this letter below and many notifications. Yet they did not nothing.

Dear Honorable Nancy Pelosi, you are also mentioned in the letter. As a 10-year-old girl you are in the picture standing right next to your father in front of the Columbus Obelisk. This message is also for that little girl that now is the only woman in U.S. history to be the speaker of the House of Representatives. We hope you will also speak for us and for your father’s legacy here in Baltimore and condemn this hate crime against our Italian heritage.

Sincerely

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