Category Archives: press

What’s been happening around the VMF

If Only I Were That Warrior_alt coverThe last event we hosted was a great success and we want to thank everyone who made it out to the screening of If Only I Were That Warriorthe first full-length feature film from award winning independent filmmaker, Valerio Ciriaci, who was on hand at the event and participated in a panel discussion and Q&A session about the film.

Our good friend and longtime VMF member, Gary Bono, wrote an excellent review of the event for the People’s World that you can read here. Please share it on your interwebs!

Aside from that, our three-weekly occurring Chelsea Rising Reading Circle continue with VMF Co-Chairman, Gerald Meyer discussing Vito Marcantonio: Radical Politician by Annette T. Rubinstein. If you are interested in being a part of the reading circle, or if you are looking for more information, please see below…

We look forward to seeing you there!

First annual Vito Marcantonio Award

 

Melissa Mark-Viverito

Roberto Ragone with Melissa Mark-Viverito and Gerald Meyer

Melissa Mark-Viverito was honored at a dinner February 5th, 2017 sponsored by the Vito Marcantonio Forum. In accepting the Forum’s award, she described how her opponents in her run for Speaker used her support of Lopez Rivera to “bait” her. Despite that, she said, she remained in the forefront of a national campaign to convince President Obama to grant clemency to López Rivera, a campaign that was ultimately successful. She said, “If congressman Marcantonio was present today, alive today, he would support the struggle and the campaign to free Lopez Rivera”

Oscar López Rivera is a Puerto Rican independence activist who was one of the leaders of the Armed Forces of National Liberation (FALN). In 1977 he was arrested and tried by the United States government for seditious conspiracy to commit robbery, transport firearms and explosives with intent to destroy government property. López Rivera maintained that according to international law he was an anticolonial combatant and could not be prosecuted by the United States government. Nevertheless, on August 11, 1981, López Rivera was convicted and sentenced to 55 years in federal prison. On December 31, 1988 he was sentenced to an additional 15 years in prison for attempting to escape from the Leavenworth federal prison.

President Bill Clinton offered Rivera and thirteen other convicted FALN members conditional clemency in 1999, but López Rivera rejected it on the grounds that all his compatriots should receive clemency.

On January 17, 2017, President Barack Obama commuted López Rivera’s sentence and was scheduled for release from prison on May 17, 2017, after almost 35 years in prison. He had been incarcerated longer than any other member of the FALN.

Marcantonio was one of the most progressive and forward thinking representatives who ever served in Congress. He represented a district centered in East Harlem from 1934 to 1936 and again from 1938 to 1950.

Viverito called Marcantonio “a visionary leader – the kind we need at this moment, one who fights on behalf of those who are marginalized” She went on to say that her moral compass dictates that to fight for everyone is the only way to really make progress for the 99%.

She also related the Congressman’s well-known concern for the rights of the foreign born to today’s reality. In the case of attacks on Muslim communities and immigrant brothers and sisters, he would have been at the forefront and his voice would have been really loud, and unwavering! That’s the leadership we need today,” she said.

VMF Co-Chair Gerald Meyer echoed Viverito in stressing the timeliness of Marcantonio’s message. This is the time for people to come together as broadly as possible, he urged, and to push back against Trump and his policies, especially at this moment his ban on asylum seekers from seven predominately Muslim nations.

Meyer further noted that Marcantonio had always strongly opposed McCarthyism and anti-communism in all its forms. He reported that Marcantonio took the position that anti-communism was the road to fascism.

The Vito Marcantonio Forum is an educational, cultural and historical organization dedicated to preserving the Congressman’s legacy.

Readers can enjoy a reading of “Litany of San Vito,” a poem dedicated to Marcantonio by playwright, actor and historian LuLu LoLo Pascale, a lifelong resident of Marcantonio’s former East Harlem district.

by Gabe Falsetta

The 4th Annual Commemoration of Vito Marcantonio at City Hall Park in New York 2016

We want to thank everyone who attended the fourth annual commemoration of Vito Marcantonio. More than fifty persons of every imaginable background attended the event held at the exact location where Marc fell dead of a heart attach in 1954.

Vito Marcantonio Forum commemoration 2016 Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer

Bronx Borough President Gale Brewer

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Speaker of the City Council Melissa Mark-Viverito, as well as U.S. Attorney and Easy Harlem Community Activist Gloria Quinones, Gloria spoke about Marc’s tremendous contributions to Puerto Rico right to benefit from its association with the United States while fighting for its independence, and the need to day for pubic officials to follow in his example.

Leading up to the event, we had a banner ad posted on the Indypendent Newspaper’s website. Their online and printed publications represent the best in journalism.

We will soon post a video of today’s event on our YouTube channel. Roberto Ragone did an excellent job writing content, organizing, and emceeing. Below is the run of show so you get an idea of what transpired:

Melissa Mark-Viverito at the Vito Marcantonio Forum commemoration event 2016

Speaker of the City Council, Melissa Mark-Viverito

Vito Marcantonio:  Fourth Annual Commemoration

3:00-3:10pm – Roberto Ragone as emcee makes welcoming remarks and introduces Gil Fagiani, who along with Simone Cinotto, will recite his poem, The Litany of San Vito

3:10-3:30pm – Public Officials speak:
  • Hon. Melissa Mark-Viverito, Speaker of the NYC Council
  • Hon. Gale Brewer, Manhattan Borough President
  • Gloria Quinones, East Harlem Community Activist, Attorney, Advocate

3:30-3:45pm – Reading of “The People’s Proclamation for Vito Marcantonio”

  1. LuLu LoLo Pascale

    LuLu LoLo Pascale 2016 commemoration of Vito Marcantonio

    LuLu LoLo Pascale

  2. Simone Cinotto
  3. Gary Bono
  4. Chris Bell
  5. Rita Barakos
  6. Luis Romero
  7. Nicholas Arture
  8. Lionel Francois
  9. Gloria Quinones
  10. Adam Meyer

3:45-3:55pm – Dr. Gerald Meyer on the significance of site of the event|
3:55-4:00pm – LuLu LoLo Pascale performs a dramatization
4:00-4:09 pm – Intro. to dramatization and dramatization of Vito Marcantonio by Roberto Ragone
4:09-4:15 pm Closing Remarks – Dr. Gerald Meyer (on the importance of volunteers and supporting our future events given Marcantonio’s relevance)

Vito Marcantonio Forum pic at commemoration 2016 of Gloria Quinones with Gale Brewer and Gerald Meyer speaking

Professor Gerald Meyer discusses the late, great Vito Marcantonio while community activist Gloria Quinones and Gale Brewer look on.

Keep The Legacy of Vito Alive!

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Help us reach our goal of $1500 by contributing to our GoFundMe campaign at gofundme.com/vitoslegacy

The Vito Marcantonio Forum (VMF), has been dedicated to providing information through literature, events, video, and multimedia platforms. 99% of what we do is through volunteer work, but now we need your help so that we can continue on our path.

DONATE NOW

Italian News Mention of the VMF East Harlem Walking Event

Renato Cantore wrote a great piece on last year’s walking tour that you can see here:

Presto a East Harlem la “Vito Marcantonio Street”

Vito Marcantonio Forum Walking Tour 2015

Gerald Meyer speaking to members of the walking tour. Speaker of the City Council, Melissa Mark-Viverito is on the left of the picture.

 

Video of Nelson A. Denis book presentation of War Against All Puerto Ricans

Vito Marcantonio Forum founding member, David M. Giglio, has produced another masterpiece. It’s important that people see it, so please share it on social media, email blasts, and whatever platform you prefer.

Nelson A. Denis’ War Against All Puerto Ricans: Revolution and Terror in America’s Colony,  has excellent reviews and it is highly recommended that you purchase the book here.

It’s difficult to describe how moving Denis is… perhaps this picture of the crowd on hand at the event will give you an idea of how enthralling each performance was:

vito marcantonio forum with nelson denis book presentation crowd shot 2016

vito marcantonio forum with nelson denis book presentation crowd shot 2016

Nelson A. Denis Book Presentation at the Mulberry St Library

April 6th, 2016
Mulberry Street branch of the New York Public Library

War Against all Puerto Ricans: Revolution & Terror in America’s Colony
– Nelson A. Denis, Nation Books, NY 2015

Nelson A. Denis book presentation poster 2016 Vito Marcantonio ForumGil Fagiani brought the night’s event to order. Over 40 attendees heard a brief summary of the Many events the Vito Marcantonio Forum (VMF) has organized through the year and the VMF members who contributed their time and talents to these events. He officially opened the night’s event by reciting the Litany of San Vito, a poem he wrote and dedicated to the late, great congressman from East Harlem, New York City, who the VMF models their nonprofit after.

Nelson A. Denis began by giving some background of U.S. involvement in Puerto Rico; for example, by introducing U.S. dollars and eliminating the Puerto Rican peso (the Spanish peso)—in this exchange—the latter currency lost 40% of its value, thereby causing widespread poverty, loss of many businesses, collapse of banks and numerous financial institutions. Four corporations ended up owning almost half of all the sugar fields of the entire island.

Gil Fagiani, Nelson Denis, Roberto Ragone

Gil Fagiani, Nelson Denis, Roberto Ragone

“Vito Marcantonio was the most able, courageous, and principled defenders and friend of the Puerto Rican people. Much more principled than most Puerto Rican politicians of the times,” said Mr. Denis.

Denis’ presentation was energetic and impassioned. The audience felt his beliefs and outrage as he described the violent repression unleashed on the opponents of American intervention.

After the book presentation, Roberto Ragone, co-chairman of the VMF, ably dramatized two Vito Marcantonio speeches. At the end of the performance he received an enthusiastic applause and praise from Mr. Denis and the audience. Denis’ talk and Ragone’s performance blended together seamlessly to give flesh and form to Denis’ words.

Nelson A. Denis with Vito Marcantonio Forum Treasurer, Adam Milat-Meyer

Nelson A. Denis with Vito Marcantonio Forum Treasurer, Adam Milat-Meyer

The efforts by Gil Fagiani in organizing this event must not go unnoticed. His labors of putting on this event manifested themselves in the excellent presentations of Mr. Ragone, the impassioned and sometimes humorous words of Mr. Denis, and the support and intelligent curiosity displayed by the audience which filled the room at the Mulberry Street Public Library.

The group thanks David Giglio for filming the event, which soon will be released on this site (please check back frequently). The Mulberry Street branch of the New York Public Library for providing the event space deserves much thanks as well. Last but not least, Nelson A. Denis for his inspirational and fascinating presentation and Q&A discussion.

Click on the following link to purchase the book:
War Against All Puerto Ricans by Nelson A. Denis.  

Luis Romero
Cofounder/blogger of the VMF

WAR ON ALL PUERTO RICANS: REVOLUTION AND TERROR IN AMERICA’S COLONY

VMF’s AUTHORS SERIES PRESENTS:

NELSON DENIS and HIS BEST SELLING

WAR AGAINST ALL PUERTO RICANS: REVOLUTION AND TERROR IN AMERICA’S COLONY
Wednesday, April 6, 2016, 5-6:45 PM  

Vito Marcantonio Forum presents a book presentation on war against all puerto ricans by nelson a denis

WHAT:
VMF Authors Series panel discussion followed by Q&A

WHO:
Nelson Denis
discusses WAR AGAINST ALL PUERTO RICANS: Revolution and Terror in America’s Colony

Gil Fagiani, VMF co-founder, will moderate discussion. Roberto Ragone, will deliver dramatic readings of Marcantonio’s speeches about Puerto Rico

WHERE:
NYPL Mulberry St. Branch,  10 Jersey St., NY, between Mulberry & Lafayette Sts., one block south of Houston St.

WAR AGAINST ALL PUERTO RICANS BY NELSON A DENISADMISSION:
Free Admission, light refreshments will be served

The Vito Marcantonio Forum (VMF) is an educational organization dedicated to preserving the history of the radical political tradition of East Harlem, the cultural backdrop of Italian Harlem and El Barrio and increasing awareness of the American Labor Party that Marcantonio led for years; and the critical role of the Left that rallied to Marcantonio. 

LuLu LoLo Pascale MAS Podcast Interview

LuLu LoLo Pascale, one of our founding members, mentions Vito Marcantonio in a breakthrough, in-depth podcast interview. She also talks about her many endeavors and longtime dedication to projects like #RememberTheTriangle and much, more.

It couldn’t have been said better in the notes for the show:

LuLu LoLo PascaleNew York City has over a hundred monuments honoring specific men who’ve changed the course of history and made significant contributions to our communities. But guess how many women are up on pedestals in this city? Here’s a sad hint: you can count them on your fingers. One hand, even. Performance artist, playwright, and overall activist LuLu LoLo is on a mission to change that. In this Women’s History Month podcast episode, Lulu tells us about her latest venture, “Where are the Women? A Call for Monuments of Women in NYC,” and reminisces about growing up in East Harlem, a neighborhood where strong women (including the city’s first Puerto Rican librarian) graced every block.

Annual Sagra del Libro Book Fair in Little Italy, NYC

Gerald Meyer at IAWA and Order Sons of Italy in America Book Fair February 26 2016

Dr. Gerald Meyer, VMF co-chairman, giving a talk about his book, Vito Marcantonio, Radical Politician 1902-1954.

Friday, February 26, 2016
The Italian American Writers Association (IAWA) kicked off its 25th anniversary with the Sagra del Libro Book Fair. This event represents an historic collaboration between the Order of the Sons of Italy, Lt. Joseph Petrosino Lodge #285 and Italian American Writers Association (IAWA) that was initiated by IAWA’s recently departed Board Member and friend, Emelise Aleandri and was, in fact, dedicated to her memory.

All, not just Italian American authors, publishers, literary event organizers and artists displayed, read out loud and sold their books, materials, and services at the Lt. Joseph Petrosino Lodge #285 at the Church of the Most Precious Blood, often referred to as the San Gennaro Feast Church at 113 Baxter Street in the heart of Little Italy, New York City.

In past years on a Sunday in May most bookstores remained open in Italy to support and promote its writers. This initiative was called “Celebrazione dei Libri” (Celebration of Books). IAWA’s Sagra del Libro continues in the spirit of that movement by celebrating Italian-American literary culture and including other cultures as well.

Authors Anna fillameno with Gigi Sssante and Maria Lisella

Authors Anna Filameno with Gigi Assante and Maria Lisella

Besides the co-sponsors — the Italian American Writers Association (IAWA), and the Order of the Sons of Italy in America, other organizations and their members attended.

Eight Vito Marcantonio Forum (VMF) members participated, five of whom are published authors, who aside from retailing their published works, took turns at the podium giving talks about their respective research.

Side by side with VMF was the Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition representative, Rose Imperato, who brought flyers about the annual commemoration event scheduled for Wednesday, March 23 at the sight of one of the worst industrial tragedies in U.S. history. On March 25, volunteers are invited to Chalk for the Triangle Workers. Visit http://rememberthetrianglefire.org/events/month/

Gil Fagiani and Maria Lisella are founding members of both the VMF and along with Bob Agnoli who chaired the Sagra are also Board members of IAWA. The Church of the Most Precious Blood generously provided the venue for the event.

Maria Lisella
@MLJourneys
VMF Vice President