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PEP Nov 2016
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Public Employee Press

DC 37 Celebrates Italian Heritage


By JOSEPH LOPEZ


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THIS year's presidential race has brought immigration to the forefront of national conversation.

For many union workers, Republican candidate Donald J. Trump's talk of banning Muslims and building a wall to keep Mexicans out of the country stings personally because they are immigrants and proud that the birth of the American labor movement is inextricably linked to immigration.

The labor movement in America has a rich history of growth and strength of workers who came here from other countries and built the work ethic that allows unions to thrive today. Without immigrants, in one sense, there would be no labor unions.

DC 37's annual Italian Heritage Celebration, held Oct. 15 at Russo's On The Bay in Howard Beach, Queens, honored the many contributions that Italian-Americans have had on both labor and our country overall.

The journey through Ellis Island


DC 37 Italian Heritage Committee helped plan the annual Dinner Dance at Russo's On The Bay, where people came to eat, dance, and be Italian!

"I wouldn't be here today if my grandparents, who were immigrants, didn't come to this great country through Ellis Island," said DC 37 Italian Heritage Committee Chair and Traffic Employees Local 1455 President Michael DeMarco.

DeMarco recalled the history of Ellis Island, located in Upper New York Bay. Ellis Island opened in 1892 and had over 12 million immigrants pass through its gates during its 40 years of operation.

"For almost all Italian-Americans like myself, Ellis Island is the first chapter of their family story," DeMarco said. His grandmother made the journey through Ellis Island at the age of 5, just six years after Ellis Island opened. The opportunity to live in America allowed her to gain an education, marry, and build a family that still proudly identifies with its Italian roots.

"Whether we're Latino, Asian, Italian, Irish, or Jewish, we are all here as one," DeMarco said.

DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido thanked the DC 37 family for once again coming together for the great food, flowing wine, and fun dancing that are all highlights of Italian culture.

"It is important that we come together and celebrate different cultures every year, and with that same unity we can make sure that labor and this country continue to succeed," Garrido said.


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Saxophonist Rafael Escoto and his classmates from the Wheels High School Band made their DC 37 debut at the SSEU Local 371 celebration.































 
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