Italy declared October the Italian Heritage Month, an occasion that coincides with the celebrations for Columbus Day and therefore symbolizes the importance of the Italian immigrants and their culture in the US.
The ceremony at the John Ferraro Council Chamber at the Los Angeles City Hall, like every year, kicked off the series of events that will take place until the end of the month, and saw the participation of Italian Consulate General, Italian Cultural Institute, Italian-American Museum of Los Angeles, Italian American Club of San Pedro, Federated Italo-Americans, National Italian American Foundation, Order
of Sons of Italy in America, San Gennaro Foundation, COM.IT.ES and Trappeto Club, just to mention the biggest organizations.
District 15 Councilmen John Buscaino opened the ceremony sharing memories of his Italian family and thanking the Italian Community in California for its contribution to the economic and cultural development of the city. A feeling shared by the Consul General Giuseppe Perrone, who marked as “powerful” the presence of Italians and Italian-Americans in this Country.
An interesting ceremony, that synthetically, but with great enphasis, recalled the history of Italian-Americans in Los Angeles, their first settlement in the area, their first commercial activities and cultural associations, including the Italian Hall, the St. Peter’s Church and this newspaper, L’Italo-Americano.
A fascinating history that the Italian community has been trying to keep alive with the creation and opening of the Italian-American Museum of Los Angeles.
“Celebrating this occasion here in Los Angeles,” explains IAMLA Director Marianna Gatto, “is a way to tell people that we are not just a minority; our past has to be remembered and preserved because it is a fundamental part of the history of Los Angeles.”
So many Italians settled here in the past, where they formed the old neighborhood of Little Italy; that neighborhood was the tangible proof of their powerful presence in this city. Architects, farmers and entrepreneurs directly contributed to the making of this wide neighborhood. Today, Little Italy no longer exists –at least it is no longer the Italian neighborhood. However, so many Italians still migrate to Los Angeles and California, and keep enhancing the local Italian community.
In this perspective, the Italian Heritage Month is a symbolic occasion to reconnect the past, the present and the future. Symbolically, all those who joined the celebration, had the chance to access the City Hall tower, to admire the landscape that once was the “landing point” of our ancestors.
October will be a month of festivities to celebrate, remember and renew our roots, and to share them with everyone.
For a calendar of the main events please visit http://www. italianheritagemonth.com/