EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ—“Now more than ever it is up to us,” announced Italian American ONE Voice Coalition President Andre’ DiMino as he rallied key members and supporters of the first-ever network of Italian American anti-bias activists into action at a recent kickoff dinner in Bergen County, NJ.
The Italian American ONE VOICE Coalition, a national network of anti-bias activists, announced the creation of a “Rapid Response” team and multimedia effort aimed at fighting discrimination and defending Italian American heritage through emails, phone calls, faxes, written letters and, when necessary, demonstrations to combat bias and Italian American denigration. ONE VOICE will work through an “e-strategy” that includes the use of emails, The Alfano Digest, Facebook, Twitter, a webpage, a blog and a pro-active public relations plan.
“We must act as one united voice when dealing with defamation, discrimination and negative stereotyping of our great heritage and culture,” DiMino stated. “With the proliferation of trashy reality television shows that grossly misrepresent Italian Americans, we must fight back with everything in our arsenal. We live in a day and age where stereotypes and negative portrayals are unfortunately given far more attention in mass media than the news of the positive accomplishments of Italian Americans.”
DiMino made a dramatic presentation outlining the scope of stereotyping through mass media on reality shows, commercials, and more.
“It never ends,” said Manny Alfano, founder and Chairman of ONE VOICE, who writes The Alfano Digest, a national daily emailed report that goes out to thousands and is the recognized authority of the Italian American anti-bias effort. “We need to fight back in a manner that is fast and furious, and in large numbers. It’s the only way to crack through the wall and be heard in the mass media.”
Those on hand to welcome the announcement included the Hon. Andrea Barbaria, Consul of Italy in Newark, Former State Assembly Majority Leader Paul DiGaetano, Dr. Joseph Scelsa, founder of the Italian American Museum in New York City and Dr. Raeleen D’Agostino Mautner, PhD., who served as the Research Director for AIDA (The American Italian Defense Association) where, in conjunction with Zogby Pollsters, she created and launched a nation-wide survey examining American Attitudes Towards Italian Americans. Mauntner made a presentation about the poll at the dinner.
Also in attendance were several past National Presidents and officers of UNICO National, members of the Order of Sons of Italy in America, and the Federation of Italian American Societies of New Jersey.
DiMino highlighted other strategies that ONE VOICE would implement, including a national “branding” campaign, the development of a comprehensive E-Strategy that employs the use of the internet, social media and emails in responding to bias, and a comprehensive proactive media campaign that involves the use of professionals in the field. He also added ONE VOICE would collect bias data and provide an analysis, offer a free speakers and seminar bureau upon request, and work to create a comprehensive annual report.
A dramatic high point of the evening was the announcement by accomplished businessman Sal Davino that he and fellow businessman Larry Paragano would jointly make a $10,000 donation to ONE VOICE. “I am so pleased to be able to support this important effort and campaign. It is sorely needed and I am glad to be part of it,” stated Davino to the attendees.
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 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 works closely with major Italian American organizations such as UNICO National, NIAF and OSIA. ONE VOICE issues a regular email newsletter, “The Alfano Digest,” to more than 5,000 individuals and Italian American organizations nationwide. Written and compiled by ONE VOICE founder and Chair, Manny Alfano, the Digest issues alerts on instances of bias, stereotyping, discrimination and defamation and activates the ONE VOICE nationwide network of “defenders” who respond through calls, emails, faxes, letters and demonstrations where necessary. The Digest also contains interesting and informative Italian American cultural and heritage news and information.
If you are interested in receiving the Digest, email Manny Alfano at firstname.lastname@example.org