Paterson School District Reinstates Columbus Holiday in Response to Pressure from Italian American One Voice Coalition

For immediate release… Contact: Sebastian D’Elia
October 4, 2011 Communications Director
Italian American ONE VOICE Coalition

President Andre’ DiMino: “We are so pleased that we prevailed in getting Paterson to do the right thing.”


NEW JERSEY— After being contacted late last week by concerned citizens, parents and teachers from Paterson who were outraged over Paterson’s cancellation of the Columbus Day Holiday observance, Italian American ONE VOICE Coalition President Andre’ DiMino mobilized the organization to correct this insult to the Italian American community. “Columbus Day is extremely important for all Italian Americans and, actually, to all Americans,” stated DiMino. “Paterson is being completely insensitive by disrespecting this holiday.” After unsuccessful attempts to reach officials in the Paterson School system, DiMino activated the Italian American ONE VOICE Coalition to begin emailing and calling Paterson and State officials. He also issued a letter to NJ Governor Christie and the NJ State Department of Education asking them to intervene and have the holiday reinstated. The campaign by DiMino and ONE VOICE attracted media attention early Monday morning with Fox 5 News, WCBS TV News, WPIX-TV News, News 12 NJ and WINS 1010 Radio conducting interviews and investigations.

By midday Monday, the news came that the campaign was a success. “I was so pleased to receive calls from the reporters to let me know that they had just heard back from Paterson School officials stating that they received numerous calls and communications about this issue and that they decided to reinstate the holiday. What a great victory for all of us,” declared DiMino. He noted that a number of Italian American ONE VOICE Coalition supporting members, such as UNICO National’s Anti-Bias Committee, The Italian American Museum, The Federation of Italian American Societies of NJ, The Coccia Foundation, UNICO’s Columbus Day Committee, The Petrosino Association in America, The Belleville, Woodcliff Lake and Brick Chapters of UNICO and many ONE VOICE activists from across the country barraged Paterson School officials with emails and phone calls. “It appears that our collective voices were heard as we spoke out in one voice against this outrage.”

ONE VOICE is different from all other Italian American groups in that its sole focus and objective is to fight bias, stereotyping and discrimination against Italian Americans. It is the only national Italian American organization with this exclusive mandate.

ONE VOICE’s stated mission is to “… secure the rightful representation of Americans of Italian origin and of all peoples whose paths toward social equality have been impeded. The powers of intellect, wisdom and due process of law will be brought to bear on all inequities.” ONE VOICE issues a regular email newsletter, “The Alfano Digest,” to more than 5,000 individuals and Italian American organizations nationwide.


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