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Tag Archives: JCCIA

Rewriting the antidefamation script

  At a moment in our history when conflict is rampant and emotions are running high, Chicago-area Italian Americans are charting a decidedly different course. They’re building coalitions, employing quiet diplomacy and reaching out across the divide to build support for their causes. The Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans has been at the forefront of this strategic sea change, beginning with a more inclusive approach to the Columbus Day Parade. Historically a celebration of Italian pride, the parade has become increasingly multicultural, with last year’s event boasting nearly a dozen floats representing a variety of African, Hispanic, Asian and ...

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The fight of our lives

We are stronger together than apart. There is no greater testament to that fact than the multiethnic coalition that has rallied to reverse the Chicago Board of Education’s decision to rename Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day. The removal of Columbus Day is not just about Italian Americans. On the evening of Feb. 26, while most of us were welcoming home our children from school or sharing dinner with family or friends, the Chicago Board of Education usurped Columbus Day. Poof. It was gone faster than your Nonno could pinch your cheek and let go. And why? Because the community ...

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JCCIA offers next-level aid to students

The Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans has launched a pair of scholarship programs that takes academic financial aid up a notch. A $5,000 Frank J. Vigilante Scholarship will be presented to students of Italian extraction who demonstrate financial need and high academic achievement. In addition, a $6,500 Nick and Helena Patti Foundation Scholarship will be awarded to college students of Italian heritage, with preference given to music or education majors who are orphans or who were raised in foster homes. The scholarship may also be awarded for other fields of study “Due to the rising costs of a college ...

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Circuit Court offers Italian Heritage Month tours

Circuit Court of Cook County Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans has announced that the annual Italian Heritage Month Courthouse Tour of the Richard J. Daley Center will take place on Oct. 9. The tour is co-sponsored by the JCCIA and the Justinian Society of Lawyers. Offering the public a sense of the day-to-day operations in one of the nation’s largest unified court systems, the tour will include a visit to a courtroom to observe a trial in progress, an informal presentation by a circuit court judge and a meeting with bar association representatives. Reservations are required by Oct. 4 with ...

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New JCCIA prez makes bold moves at annual meeting

The new president of the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans hit the ground running at the organization’s annual meeting. Speaking to a packed dining room at Casa Italia’s Banquet Center, Sergio Giangrande announced a dramatic rollback of dues in an effort encourage involvement on the part of both individuals and organizations. Giangrande proposed a tiered structure to replace the $500 dues for organizational members. $100 membership now grants voting rights and inclusion of events in the JCCIA’s e-blasts. $250 membership nets voting rights, inclusion in the e-blast and an ad in the souvenir book for the Columbus Day Parade. ...

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JCCIA installs officers, bestows scholarships

Community leaders turned out in force on Dec. 13 at Venuti’s in Addison to ring in the holidays and oversee the changing of the guard at the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans. Outgoing president Enza Raineri passed the gavel to Sergio Giangrande at a festive event filled with camaraderie, acknowledgements and honors. Cook County Circuit Court Judges Elizabeth Ciacci-Lezza and Lisa Marino presided over the induction of President Giangrande along with First Vice President Lisa Ryan, Second Vice President Ron Onesti, Third Vice President John Galluzzi, Secretary Joseph Rago, Treasurer Christine Caliendo-Cerami and Sergeant-at-Arms Pasquale Gianni, the grandson of President ...

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JCCIA rewrites Queen Pageant script

  The Chandelier Room at Casa Italia was transformed into a Milan runway for this year’s Columbus Day Queen Pageant, and event organizers couldn’t be more pleased. “It was like a Versace fashion show!” enthuses Jo Ann Serpico, executive director of the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans. “We had 22 contestants, the room looked absolutely beautiful and the event went off without a hitch!” Serpico is equally proud of the fact that no admission was charged, paving the way for a capacity crowd of nearly 200 family members and friends. Elizabeth Cavalieri Konopacki walked away with the crown, and ...

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Mariann Gullo picked to chair Columbus Parade

  This year’s Columbus Day parade chairperson is accomplished, committed to her heritage and tireless in her efforts to promote relations between America and Italy. The daughter of Giovanni and Maria, Mariann Gullo was born and raised in Elk Grove Village and graduated from St. Viator High School. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree from DePaul University with a major in Marketing and Communications and a minor in Italian, and pursued an MBA at Loyola with a concentration in Finance. At the young age of 22, she began working at Gullo International Development Corporation. A commercial and industrial real estate and ...

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Behind-the-scenes hero Dominic Gambino

Some benefactors are drawn to the limelight that their generosity attracts and others prefer to work their charitable magic behind the scenes. Domenico Gambino is cut of the latter cloth. A co-owner of the Tony’s Finer Food grocery empire, Gambino has been a quiet force for good in the Italian-American community for decades, deploying resources and leveraging connections with little fanfare and great effect. “What I do I do from the heart and because it makes me feel good,” Gambino explains. “That’s all the thanks I need.” Born in Ciminna, Sicily, in 1945, Domenico is one of eight children of ...

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Giangrande throws party to celebrate parade’s success

Sergio Giangrande sure knows how to run a parade … AND throw a party. Thanks to the enthusiastic leadership of the 2017 chairman, float, sponsorship and TV ad sales were through the roof. When all was said and done, five major sponsors had signed on in support of the festivities, and another dozen benefactors purchased 30-second introductory “vignettes,” making it possible to broadcast the entire parade commercial free on ABC. “And we did so well on float sales that the company we work with ran out!” says Domenico Gambino, who recommended Giangrande for the chairmanship. “I’m close friends with Sergio’s ...

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