Basil Russo

Hon. Basil M. Russo is the national president of the Order Italian Sons and Daughters of America and the president of the Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations, having previously served on the Executive Committee of the National Italian American Foundation. Russo was the managing partner of Russo, Rosalina law firm until his retirement in 2015. He has served as judge of the Ohio Court of Appeals; judge of the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, for which he received the Excellent Judicial Service Award from the Ohio Supreme Court; and majority leader of Cleveland City Council.

A precedent-setting visit

A delegation from the Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations (COPOMIAO) recently concluded a historic trip to Rome, Italy. It was extremely important to embark on this initiative because our ties to our homeland have become weaker with each passing generation. It was time to reconnect with our roots. We were fortunate enough to meet with important leaders of both the Italian government and the Vatican. The primary goals of our delegation were twofold — first, to establish strong cultural and economic bonds between the Italian-American community and the Italian government, and second, to acknowledge the significant role …

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Historic conclave

The picture at the bottom of this column truly is worth a thousand words! It depicts the largest gathering of major Italian-American leaders in history. The photo was taken on Dec. 4, 2021, in Washington, D.C., at a meeting of the Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations ( The conclave was held the day after an unprecedented reception between the delegation and Italy’s new ambassador to the United States, Mariangela Zappia. The bond forged at this gathering allows our community to begin working with the ambassador’s staff to implement an exciting new strategic program. The subsequent COPOMIAO meeting …

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The anti-Columbus playbook is unraveling

The tide is turning in New York and across the country as Italian Americans mobilize to counter a jaded political formula. The strategy was straightforward: To score political points, all one needed to do was remove a Columbus statue, look the other way when one was illegally toppled or simply rename Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day. The formula worked for years, the blowback was containable and many media outlets, sympathetic to the anti-Columbus movement, didn’t kick up much of a fuss. But quite a bit has changed over the past 12 months, as Italian-American organizations have continued to mobilize …

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What Columbus stands for

We’re roiled by a national protest on inequality, we’re dogged by a disease that is surging back and forcing millions onto unemployment rolls, and we’re watching in disbelief as agitators splinter away from a good and necessary cause to go off and topple statues of Christopher Columbus. You can support the destruction and vandalism of statues, or you can respect the law, but you can’t do both — at least not without acknowledging the feverishly misguided precedent that is being set. City leaders across America are now removing Columbus monuments simply to prevent the chaotic effects of a mob mentality …

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