H O U S E R E S O L U T I O N
DECLARING OCTOBER AS "ITALIAN-AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH"
WHEREAS, The House of Representatives of the State of Rhode Island support "Italian-American Heritage month" and recognize the contributions of Italian-Americans to the State of Rhode Island and the United States; and
WHEREAS, In April 1524, Giovanni da Verrazzano a mariner from Florence, Italy, set foot in what is now Rhode Island. His arrival at Block Island and his observation that it was about the size of the island of Rhodes later gave Rhode Island its name; and
WHEREAS, His accounts of the islands in Narragansett Bay, its inhabitants, houses and customs were the first written records of Rhode Island by a European explorer; and
WHEREAS, Other Italians, like Amerigo Vespucci and Christopher Columbus, were some of the first explorers to discover the American continents and illustrate the geography; and
WHEREAS, Italians and Italian-Americans have made great contributions to America's society economically, culturally, and politically; and
WHEREAS, Italian-Americans have won prestigious prizes, such as the Nobel Prize, the Pritzker Award for architecture, and the Fields Medal for mathematics; and
WHEREAS, Italians and Italian-Americans invented pianos, violins, calendars, radios, telescopes, compasses, microscopes, thermometers, eye glasses, steam engines, typewriters, and batteries; and
WHEREAS, Italian-Americans have toiled and labored while helping to build our Nation's infrastructure, including railroads, tunnels, highways, and subways; and
WHEREAS, A great many Americans have enjoyed the entertainment provided by Italian Americans, such as Hall of Fame baseball player Joe DiMaggio, singer and songwriter Frank Sinatra, world-renowned composer Henry Mancini, and Oscar-winning actor Robert DeNiro; and
WHEREAS, Great Italian-American political figures, such as Fiorella La Guardia (who was both Mayor of, then Congressman from New York City), Anthony Celebrezze (who, in the Kennedy administration, was the first Italian-American Cabinet member), Antonin Scalia (who, in 1982, became the first Italian-American Supreme Court Justice), and Rhode Island Senator John O. Pastore (who, in 1945, became the first Italian-American governor of Rhode Island), have enriched the political process and brought national pride to our country; and
WHEREAS, Over 5.4 million Italians immigrated to the United States between 1820 and 1992, which today has resulted in over 26 million Americans of Italian descent in the United States, making them the fifth largest ethnic group; and
WHEREAS, Rhode Island's Italian-American community boasts a rich history and unequaled vitality, adding to the rich cultural diversity of the Ocean State; now, therefore be it
RESOLVED, That this House of Representatives of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations hereby declares the month of October as "Italian-American Heritage Month" and recognizes the significant contributions that Italian-Americans have made to the State of Rhode Island and the United States; and be it further
RESOLVED, That the Secretary of State be and he is hereby authorized and directed to transmit a duly certified copy of this resolution to The Italian-American Heritage Commission, The Italian-American Historical Society and The Order of the Sons of Italy, Rhode Island.