Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans President Ron Onesti has taken the organization’s battle on behalf of Christopher Columbus to a whole new level in recent months.
In late March, Onesti spearheaded a JCCIA-hosted Tour of Italy at the Wyndham Springfield that attracted more than 250 state representatives and senators as well as lobbyists from all ethnic groups. Bedecked in red, white and green, the hotel’s penthouse was brimming with delicious Italian food and enlivened by classic Italian tunes during an “event like Springfield has never seen,” according to State Rep. Anthony DeLuca. “We wanted to let the state government know that we continue to fight for an Italian heritage curriculum across Illinois,” Onesti says.
In early April, Onesti traveled to Italy with National Italian American Foundation President Robert Allegrini and Executive Vice President John Calvelli for a visit with Genoa Mayor Marco Bucci and his staff. As a result of the encounter, Bucci has committed to creating informational videos and conducting letter-writing campaigns aimed at helping the JCCIA and NIAF set the record straight in America about Columbus. “The meeting was a huge success,” Onesti reports. “Mayor Bucci has pledged his support, and we’re looking forward to working closely with him on all of these initiatives.” Onesti laid the groundwork last year with a visit to the mayor, who then sent two of his top officials to represent him at the 2022 Columbus Day Parade.