For the 13th year in a row, Massachusetts is celebrating Italian Heritage Month with a number of events going on throughout the state. The official kick-off event was held at the State House in Boston on Monday, October 3, 2011, with numerous prestigious guests honoring the special recurrence.
“It’s an occasion very close to my heart,” said House Speaker Robert DeLeo at the foot of the State House Grand Staircase. “Congratulations to the Italian American Heritage Month Committe for the 13th annual celebration of this great month. It’s great to see that Massachusetts, as it has been the leader in so many things that happened in this country, isonce again a leader in making sure Italian Americans receive their just tribute.”
Special awards for their contribution to Italian American culture were handed out to Retired Hon. Judge Rudolph Sacco, Dr. Maria Lombardo (recently appointed by President Barack Obama as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation) and high school senior Livia Graf of Newton South High School for her outstanding scholastic achievements and her hard work last summer as an intern at the Italian Consulate in Boston.
Consul General of Italy Giuseppe Pastorelli personally delivered the $1,000 scholarship award to Livia. “We must stay united and help each other,” said Pastorelli. “We must learn that the success of one of us is the success of all of us. What we cannot achieve as individuals, we can achieve as a community. We must stick together and hold together the many Italian and Italian American associations in Massachusetts. That’s the best way we can honor what our predecessors did and the Italian Heritage Month.”
Speeches were also given by State Senator Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett), Retired Hon. Judge Joseph Ferrino, Appeals Court Associate Justice Peter W. Agnes, President of the Italian Heritage Committee Kevin Caira, Chairman of the Committee’s Board Stephen Maio, OSIA State President James DiStefano and Lino Rullo of the Dante Alighieri Society.
Musical performances of Verdi’s “Va Pensiero” and Giacomo Leopardi’s “L’Infinito,” as well as the Italian and U.S. national anthems, were brought by the Coro Dante.