Columbus Day

Written by G.J.S., a thirteen year old eighth grade student.

As an Italian American girl with immigrant grandparents I take pride in being Italian. I also have great respect for Christopher Columbus. Columbus is a symbol of courage and perseverance and strength for the Italian culture. That’s why Columbus Day means so much to me as an Italian American. Columbus Day is a holiday that commemorates the landing of Christopher Columbus in the Americas in 1492. Columbus left such a legacy from that day forward. Unfortunately, today Columbus is portrayed as a villain. Many states in America do not celebrate Columbus Day. However, New York celebrates this magnificent explorer.

Italian Americans take this day very seriously. This day celebrates all the Italians that came to America for a better life. When the Italians came to America they worked very hard and faced discrimination. However, they persevered to make a better life for their families. The Columbus Day parade holds great significance for myself and my family. Italians made the ultimate sacrifice by leaving a world they knew for the unknown. My Nonno, grandfather, came to this country alone when he was 24 years old and left his parents and 4 siblings behind. He came to America with $20.00 in his pocket with no prospects and no where to go. What made things harder was that he didn’t know the language. To make money he worked various jobs during the day so he would have money to pay for classes to learn the English language. This is just one example of Italian courage, strength and perseverance. This is why the Columbus Day parade means so much to my family and I. On that day we remember all the sacrifices our ancestors made for us and what the Italians contributed to the world. Italians have enriched the world with music, art, fashion, cars, and especially food.

“On that day we remember all the sacrifices out ancestors made for us and what the Italians contributed to the world.”


Columbus Day is celebrated the second Monday in October each year. The parade is sponsored and run by the Columbus Citizens Foundation in Manhattan and the parade runs down 5th avenue. On that day all Italian Americans line the streets of Manhattan to show their admiration for the Italian explorer that came before them and paved the way for the Italians that came after him. For these reasons it is important not to erase history and not hold people from over 500 years ago to today’s standards. Instead of tearing down statutes why don’t we learn from the past. Christopher Columbus is a hero not only for me, but for all Italian Americans.

You Don’t Have To Be Italian to Love Italian Language and Culture!

I love advancement, especially Latino advancement and every opportunity that affords you the ability to learn & succeed, I say do it! And that’s exactly what Latino high school students are doing (26% per @College Board), studying the Advanced Placement (AP) Italian Language and Culture Course and the numbers continue to grow. And the Italian Language Foundation (ILF) is doing everything they can to support these youngsters.

If you are Latino, stand and applaud these students who are on their way, preparing to become a part of a U.S. based global workforce.  If you are of Italian heritage, take a bow because as Italian language grows through non-Italians, so does the love for Italian culture and its influence within the U.S. economy. Together as Americans, let’s scream and shout, thanks to these students global diversity is real and happening.  These youth, by choosing to study Italian are preparing themselves for college, broadening their horizons and breaking cultural barriers and stigmas.

And please take a moment to thank the Italian Language Foundation, which through their advocacy continue to work ardently to ensure the Italian language (both Italian courses and AP Italian) continues to be offered within public high schools nationwide.  By providing scholarships and resources to students, ILF is growing the amore for Italian studies; And by providing professional development to teachers of Italian, we are ensuring this lingua appassionata is not lost and its culture continues to thrive to benefit Italians, Latinos and all Americans.

And you can help spread the word to parents, teachers, students and schools…

Tell them, I support studi di lingua italiana (Italian language studies)!

Grande Italia – Growing the Love for Italian

Greetings, Our desire and wishes are for each of you to stay safe, heal, embrace family and rise above the chaos that can sometimes be present during this challenging time.

Here at the Italian Language Foundation, we are concerned about the affects to the global business economy and the U.S. economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic. There is much work to be done and businesses the world over must find ways to recover.  As we reflect on continuing our organization’s work, we are reminded how truly grand is Italy in the face of this pandemic and as a vital economic engine for the U.S. economy. Hence, we are embracing the term #grandeitalia (grand Italy)

Italian Fashion Brands

How truly grand is Italy?  In 2019, Italy shipped to US   $532.7 billion worth of diverse goods, including computers, furniture, gems, clothing, shoes, food, and much more. The U.S. is the third highest importer of Italian products (9.6%).[1] Italian products are well-known and weaved into American life, from favorite food products like prosciutto to visits to the Little Italy food markets sprinkled nationwide from New York to Boston, Chicago, and all the way to the west coast in places such as San Diego. Lovers of all things Italian gravitate to Italian fashion brands like Fendi, Prada, etc. to an appreciation for Italy’s best-selling cars like the Lamborghini, Maserati to long-time Italian car maker Alfa Romeo. When it comes to art, and music, especially opera, Italy holds a renowned historical significance and presence worldwide.  Lest we forget to mention, the love for Italian leather products and the high-quality grade of the much sought-after Italian leather handbags, shoes, upholstery, etc.  Italian leather craftsmen are the best in the world!

Alfa Romeo’s Giulia QF

And yet, sometimes during challenging times, the economic, educational and cultural contributions of a country and how this makes America a wonderfully cultural and vibrant nation can get lost.  This includes its diversity, people, and yes, even the plethora of different languages. As such, in the coming weeks, the Italian Language Foundation will highlight Italian contributions to the United States, including outstanding corporations and small businesses, their executives, family living, authentic restaurants, virtual happenings and much more to bring forth unity and an appreciation for all cultures. 

Stay with us and follow #grandeitalia as we showcase all that makes Italy grand and equally important, we will emphasize ILF’s goal to promote and support Italian language and culture to ensure it remains relevant and growing. We shall continue, in the midst of this pandemic, to bring vital resources to high school students, teachers and support schools and universities to increase Italian language studies.  Join us through our website, blogs & social media and embrace #grandeitalia as a symbol of a united nation in love with all languages and culture.


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