Happy 40th Anniversary to NOIAW

Jul 15, 2020 751

BY: Aileen Riotto Sirey, Ph.D.

As a psychotherapist, my curiosity about the effects of ethnicity on personality development was heightened by my early work with patients.  There was little in the literature about Italian American ethnic identity and mental health before the late 1970s. While looking for answers–and missing the big family I left behind in Brooklyn some 20 years earlier–I began to attend events in the Italian American community.  My parents had seven siblings each, which gave me 14 aunts and uncles, each of whom married and most of whom had children; that’s many aunts, uncles and cousins left behind!

In 1980, after attending a few meetings, I heard a panel discussion with elected Italian American politicians from different political parties.  Serf Maltese, Mario Biaggi and Geraldine Ferraro were three that I recall on that panel. When it concluded, I approached Congresswoman Ferraro and introduced myself. We chatted a bit and I then asked her if there were any groups for Italian American women.

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SOURCE: http://www.noiaw.org

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