APD Brothers Promote Italian Heritage and the Memory of Christopher Columbus at 2015 NYC Columbus Day Parade
Scores of Brothers gathered with our National President and Vice President (Christopher Mancusi and Jim Miller) to honor the Fraternity's Italian Heritage by marching in New York's Columbus Day Parade on October 12, 2015. This annual tradition --which dates back many years-- is always well-supported by brothers in the New York City area. In recent year's Alpha Phi Delta has had large marching contingents, floats, and Italian pride abounding. The pictures below show our brotherly contingent in the parade as well as in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral. This year, National Vice President Jim Miller travelled from the western Pennsylvania to partake in the marching and merriment of this annual event. National President Christopher Mancusi and other officers, alumni leaders, and undergraduate brothers were on the scene. Columbus Day continues to be a very important day in the life and heritage of Alpha Phi Delta.
If you want to know why Columbus Day is so important, read this article from the Sons of Italy.
Italian is considered one of the most romantic and melodic languages in the history of the world. It is one of the more desirable languages to learn, and people from all around the world strive to master this enchanting tongue. The history of the Italian language actually illustrates the history of Italy itself, as well as the ultimate unification of the Italian people.
Italian is classified as one of the Romance languages in the family of Indo-European languages. It was originally derived from Latin, and of all the Romance languages, the Italian most closely resembles the departed language of Latin. While the Italian language is not exactly universal, this tongue has spread to regions beyond its native land of Italy.
Italian can be heard throughout all of Italy, as well as in the southern parts of Switzerland, in the islands of Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica, and also along the northeastern shore of the Adriatic Sea. Some Italian is also spoken in countries that are former Italian colonies, such as Abyssinia, Eritrea and Somalia in Africa.
The evolution of the Italian language from Latin occurred at a deliberate and leisurely pace over the course of hundreds of years. This resulted in many varying dialects of Italian. Though all of the dialects are classified as Italian, they are quite distinct and can be difficult to recognize as the same language. As you can imagine, some of the most distinct versions of the Italian language occur on the islands of Sardinia, Corsica, and Sicily, regions completely separated by water from the mainland on the Italian peninsula. A group of the dialects in the northern and northwestern regions of Italy are known as Gallo-Italian and show much influence from the French language spoken to the north. The areas surrounding the famous city of Venice exhibit yet another distinctive dialect of the Italian language.
The Tuscan dialect hails from central Italy and is the most well known dialect of the Italian language. During the 14th and 15th centuries, Tuscany became central to Italy's commercial and diplomatic positions, largely due to the immense growth of the city of Florence. The Tuscan dialect is also the one that most strongly resembles Latin, which made it favorable among famous Italian politicians, philosophers and writers of the time, who usually preferred the Latin language over any other. These prominent members of society made the Tuscan dialect popular in regions throughout Italy. Famous written works, such as Dante's Divine Comedy and Petrarca's Canzoniere, also spread the popularity of the Tuscan dialect and the Italian language in general as these writings gained worldwide recognition.
With the formal unification of Italy in 1861, the Tuscan dialect of the Italian tongue became the official language of the Italian nation. The appearance of a collective Italian dialect signified the unification that took place among Italians at this time, which was also evident in Italy's political scene, educational system, and economy. (excerpted for educational purposed from the Life in Italy website; article by Elizabeth Walling)
APD Beta Lambda Chapter (St. Francis University) Brothers Matthew Julian (Spring '13) and Nicholas Johnson (Spring '14) explored our Fraternity's heritage this past semester while studying abroad. Now back home, they have made the brothers aware that they brought APD's Italian heritage to meet Italy's Italian heritage by way of unfurling our flag at key landmarks in Rome. The two brothers provided us these picture by way of brother Timothy Hornick.
Italy’s Five Star Movement (M5S) party has collected more than 100,000 signatures on a petition calling for a law that would allow a referendum on withdrawal from the eurozone. M5S MP Carlo Sibila says he expects a referendum to take place at the start of next year. Though the petition has already surpassed the required amount of signatures needed for the initiative, Sibila said that he hopes it will gather another 50,000 by early May in order to highlight the issue.
“Who wants to stay in euro? This is the main question,” Sibila told RT. “But we don’t want to get out just like this - we want a program and a discussion, and then let the citizens decide. It’s really necessary today as the situation in Italy is going from bad to worse where jobs and economy are concerned.” The Italian constitution, however, does not provide for the cancellation of international agreements through referenda.
According to Sibila, Italy’s debt increased dramatically after the introduction of the euro. He also noted that Italy’s unemployment rate hovers around 12.7 percent, the sixth highest in the EU. “We can’t have our own fiscal policy, but without the euro it is possible in Italy,” Sibila said.
The Five Star Movement, formed in 2009 by comedian and activist Beppe Grillo, finished second in the 2014 European Parliament election with 21 percent of the vote. Sibila stressed that M5S does not seek to leave the European Union, but merely to leave the currency union. “Italian citizens need to have the right to decide if they want to stay inside or outside the monetary union,” Sibila told RT. “We are not questioning the European Union, it is only the monetary union.” Italy joined the Eurozone in 1999, and the currency was introduced into circulation three years later. (Excerpted from RT for educational purposes)
I'm Dreaming of a White... Easter? Italian City Sets World Snowfall Record -- as 100.8 inches fall in 18 Hours
The next time the people of Capracotta, Italy, hear the folks in Boston complain about a snow season of more than 100 inches, they'll be like: "That's nice. We've been known to get that much in one day." In 18 hours, actually -- when 100.8" (8 ft., 4 in.) fell on March 5, 2015. This blows away (snow blows perhaps) the previous 24-hour record which was set in the town of Silver Lake, Colorado, where 76 inches (6 ft. 4in.) of snow fell on April 20-21, 1921. The Italian village which got 100.8 inches now holds the all-time record for most snow in 24 hours. Pescocostanzo, about 21 miles away, got a mere 94.5 inches in that same time frame. To put this in perspective, this is more than the city of Boston got in January and February 2015 combined -- and this was Boston's snowiest winter ever. (Though it just shy of Boston's 108 inch total snowfall, thus far, for the whole winter season -- December-March). While Bing Crosby yearned for a "White Christmas," the folks in Capracotta might be enduring a white Easter!
Italy’s Highest Court Upholds Sex Case Acquittal for Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi; Decision May Not be Appealed
Italy’s highest appeals court on Tuesday upheld the acquittal of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on charges of paying for sex with an underage girl and then abusing his power in trying to cover it up [referred to in the Italian media as the "Bunga Bunga" case]. The verdict, which came after deliberations that lasted almost until midnight, is a boost to 78-year-old Mr. Berlusconi, who has argued that his myriad legal problems are the product of a witch hunt against him by politically motivated magistrates. But it is unlikely to restore the political fortunes of the billionaire politician, who has been overshadowed by the rising popularity of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. Mr. Berlusconi has been scrambling for months to hold together his party, which is sinking in the polls and riven by internal divisions. The ruling follows an appeals court’s decision last July, when Milan magistrates overturned a previous conviction and a sentence of seven years in prison for the conservative leader. Mr. Berlusconi has denied the charges in the sex case. Tuesday’s decision is definitive and can’t be appealed.
The trial is related to events that occurred in 2010, when then-Prime Minister Berlusconi phoned a Milan police station asking for information about a Moroccan woman, Karima El Mahroug —an underage nightclub dancer nicknamed “Ruby Heart-Stealer”—who had been detained for allegedly stealing cash. Ms. El Mahroug has denied the allegations. Prosecutors alleged that Mr. Berlusconi abused his power by pressing the police to release the woman. They also argued that Mr. Berlusconi sought to have her released to cover up an alleged payment he made to her for sex when she was 17. Mr. Berlusconi said he met the woman during dinner parties at his mansion and acknowledged phoning the police station, but denies having pressed police to free Ms. El Mahroug. Both he and Ms. El Mahroug deny having had sex with each other, and Mr. Berlusconi told a court that he didn’t know that Ms. El Mahroug was a minor.
Mr. Berlusconi has faced at least two dozen trials since entering politics in 1994. Yet his first—and only—final conviction came in August 2013, when he was sentenced to a four-year jail term for tax fraud. The sentence was reduced to one year of community service, which the former premier has just finished serving. Mr. Berlusconi was also banned from public office until 2016 and ousted from Italy’s Senate because of the tax fraud conviction. The tax fraud charge was related to Mediaset , Italy’s dominant private television broadcaster, which is controlled by Berlusconi’s family. A court found that the broadcaster bought U.S. film and television rights at inflated prices, allowing the company to fraudulently lower its tax bill. Mr. Berlusconi is also under investigation for alleged witness-tampering related to the trial on the sex and abuse-of-power charges. Prosecutors are investigating whether the media mogul, together with other people including two of his lawyers, sought to corrupt witnesses to give false testimony during the first phase of the trial, which led to the seven-year jail sentence. Mr. Berlusconi and his lawyers deny all charges.
After his tax conviction in August 2013, Mr. Berlusconi’s political leadership has been severely dented. In European elections of May 2014, his center-right party Forza Italia garnered just 17% of the vote.The party, weakened by deep internal divisions, is now polling around 13%. While Mr. Berlusconi’s political power is waning, his financial empire is also under heavy pressure. His family wealth has been halved from 2007 to 2013 according to Forbes, and Fininvest—the holding company his family controls—posted a net loss of €428.4 million in 2013, the latest data available. (excerpted from the Wall Street Journal for educational purposes; byline: Manuela Mesco)
Italy is planning to introduce a national minimum wage as part of its labor market overhaul, although the level is yet to be established. The country is mulling setting the wage at about $7.00 per hour with the details set to be woven into law and addressed by the cabinet over the next few weeks. The wage would only apply to those working in sectors whose salaries are not already regulated by an employment contract that applies to specific categories of workers (i.e., union workers). If Italy makes this change, Austria and Cyrus will be the only non-Scandinavian European nations without a minimum wage in place.
With a goal of promoting cultural exchange, tourism and economic opportunities, officials have announced that Toms River has joined the Sister Cities International program and has formed a partnership with Matera, Italy. The partnership, announced at dedication ceremonies for the Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts at Ocean County College, makes Toms River the first town in Ocean County and third in New Jersey to form a sister city partnership through Sister Cities International.
According to Sister Cities International, the program was introduced at a White House conference by President Eisenhower in 1956. The idea is for individual sister cities, counties, and states across the United States to link up with the citizens of other countries in an effort to bring about citizen diplomacy. Sister Cities International’s member programs focus on four main areas of exchange: arts and culture, youth and education, business and trade, and community development and technical exchange to connect citizens around the globe.
“It’s not just the signing of a proclamation. It’s the things we can do together in the future,” Dr. Andrea Canepari, Consul General of Italy in Philadelphia said of the new relationship between the towns. “We can open doors for new opportunities in technology, the arts, science. The possibilities are endless.” Canepari recently visited Toms River for a meeting about the partnership. “I think this will be a great partnership between the two cities and a great exchange of culture and history,” Cav. Mario Marano, commissioner of the New Jersey and Italian American Heritage Commission said. “What a wonderful opportunity for residents in Toms River to develop relationships with residents of Matera, Italy. We hope this partnership will blossom into both cultural and economic ties in the future,” Mayor Thomas F. Kelaher said.
Council President Jeff Carr said Matera has been selected as the European Culture Capital of 2019. “This will certainly be an opportunity to improve and increase the cultural awareness of both Toms River and Ocean County,” Carr said.
The city of Venice will impose new restrictions on self-propelled watercraft within its vast network of canals, according to guide company Venice Kayak. A February 20 blog post on the company’s website says that a new modification to the city’s traffic rules, set to take effect March 1, prohibits kayaks, canoes, dragon boats, and SUPs in the Grand Canal—the city’s main thoroughfare. In a February 18 blog post, Venice Kayak owner René Seindal raises questions about the unintended effects of closing the Grand Canal to such traffic. He claims it will change the entire nature of canal transit in Venice and cause confusion and potentially traffic snarls in smaller canals connected to the Grand Canal.
If banning Gondolas in the Grand Canal was wasn't bad enough -- loud suitcase may be next on the list of banned things in Venice. It seems that Venetians are tired of being kept awake at night by throngs of tourists, wheeling their luggage through the city’s narrow streets and over its famous bridges. So, the city’s special commissioner, Vittorio Zappalorto, has come up with a plan to let his citizens get their 40 winks: ban the suitcases. Under new anti-noise pollution proposals, tourists will be barred from bringing luggage with plastic or full rubber wheels to Venice. But bicycle-style tyres, made from rubber and filled with air, will be allowed. If Zapalorto’s plan gets the go ahead, tourists will be fined between €100 and €500 if they break the suitcase rule. Venice residents, however, will be free to continue to use whichever luggage they please. (excepted from OutsideOnline and TheLocal.it for educational purposes; bylines, respectively, Matt Bell (Canal ban) and Rosie Scammell (suitcase ban))
The PBS series "Italian Americans" is available this week on DVD. The documentary reveals the unique and distinctive qualities of one immigrant group’s experience, and how these qualities, over time, have shaped and challenged America. Unlike other immigrant groups, many Italians did not come to America to stay. At the turn of the 20th century, most came to work, earn money to support their families, and eventually return home. Nearly half of the first generation Italian immigrants returned to Italy. For those that made America home, their struggle to maintain a distinct Italian culture was guided by ideals of family that had always been at the center of their lives. In the Italian family, the needs of the collective came before the individual – a value system often at odds with American ideals of freedom and personal choice. While the power of the Italian family became a source of strength, it also bred suspicion, popularized in popular media as a dark, criminal element. The Italian gangster group known as the “Black Hand” was able to prey on the insularity of the Italian immigrant community’s distrust of authority and outsiders. This clash of culture echoed through generations of Italian Americans and, as they entered positions of political, social and cultural influence, left its mark on the American landscape. There is a companion book called "The Italian-Americans: A History" by Mario Laurino.
Through extensive archival materials and interviews with scholars and notable Italian Americans such as Tony Bennett, Dion DiMucci, David Chase, Gay Talese and John Turturro, who speak from personal experience, “The Italian Americans” tells the story of those who played vital roles in shaping the relationship between Italians and mainstream American society. These include the stories of:
The series also presents the expertise and insights of historians, scholars, journalists and authors including Donna Gabaccia, Thomas Guglielmo, Gerald Meyer, Robert Orsi, Mary Anne Trasciatti, Lawrence DiStasi, Bruce Watson, Stephen Fox and Selwyn Raab. (excerpted from Beliefnet for educational purposes; byline: Neil Minow)
About this Page
All members of Alpha Phi Delta are bound by oath to promote the Italian Heritage of our Fraternity. This page is one way of promoting that heritage.