Category Archives: VMF members

Beloved Comrades: Annette Rubinstein & Vito Marcantonio: March 3rd, 2017

Gerald Meyer and Stephen Siciliano

Present

Beloved Comrades: The Political and Personal Partnership of Annette T. Rubinstein (1912-2007) and Vito Marcantonio (1902-1954)

Sponsored by the Vito Marcantonio Forum (VMF)

Annette Rubinstein“Beloved Comrades: The Political and Personal Partnership of Annette T. Rubinstein and Vito Marcantonio” is a presentation by Gerald Meyer, author of Vito Marcantonio: Radical Politician, and Stephen Siciliano, screenwriter and novelist, that explores the relationship of the renown Marxist literary critic and the seven-term American Labor Party congressman from East Harlem. The event will take place on Saturday March 4, from 3:00pm to 5:00pm, in the Community Room of the Mulberry Street Public Library, 10 Jersey St. (btw Lafayette and Mulberry Sts.). Meyer will discuss the relationship between the seven-term American Labor Party Congressman and the political activist, Marxist literary historian, Siciliano will explore Annette’s analysis of Percy Shelly and Lord Byron, who Annette proved were revolutionary poets. The event will be chaired by Gil Fagiani. Free Admission / Light Refreshments

Gil Fagiani, a founding member of the VMF and co-curator of the Italian American Writers Association, is the author of six collections of poetry, most recently, A Blanquito in El Barrio.
Gerald Meyer, a Co-Chair of the VMF and Prof. at Hostos Com. Col. (CUNY), is author of Vito Marcantonio: Radical Politician, co-editor of The Lost World of Italian American Radicalism, and numerous articles.
Stephen Siciliano, a founding member of the VMF, is the author of Vedette or Conversations with the Flamenco Shadows andThe Sidewalk Smokers Club, who also writes for Marcantoniana: Items from the Life and Times of the Marvelous Vito Marcantonios.

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

Video of Vito Marcantonio Memorial at City Hall Park 2016

We are proud to announce the release of the latest Vito Marcantonio Forum video!

Thanks to VMF co-founder David Giglio, who films and edits our events, we have a brand new video! Please share it with everyone you know via email, social media, etc.

In addition to everyone in attendance, we also like to specially thank the following speakers:

  • Hon. Melissa Mark-Viverito, Speaker of the NYC Council
  • Hon. Gale Brewer, Manhattan Borough President
  • Gloria Quinones, East Harlem Community Activist, Attorney, Advocate

Click below for the latest Vito Marcantonio Forum video:

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.

Vito Marcantonio Commemoration 2016

Vito_Marcantonio_Forum_City_Hall_2016_320x180

Vito Marcantonio (1902-1954): Fourth Annual Commemoration

The Vito Marcantonio Forum (VMF) invites one-and-all to attend “Vito Marcantonio: Fourth Annual Commemoration,” which will be held @ 3:00 PM, on Sunday August 28th, outside City Hall Park across from the Woolworth Building. We are assembling there because it is nearby the site where, at fifty-one, the East Harlem Congressman fell dead. After the event, attendees will retire to a restaurant two blocks distance away.

The one-hour-long program will feature the reading of “The People’s Proclamation for Vito Marcantonio.” In addition, there will be dramatizations by Roberto Ragone and LuLu Pascale. Gerald Meyer will deliver a eulogy. Elected officials are invited to attend.

Vito Marcantonio (1902-1954), who represented his community in the House of Representatives for seven terms (1934-1936, 1938-1950), was elected to office as a leader of the American Labor Party. Through his activities, in and outside of Congress, Marc, as he liked to be called, earned the status of national spokesperson for American Progressives. He became an unrivaled leader in the struggle for racial equality, the rights of the foreign-born, and against McCarthyism in all of its ugly manifestations.

Marcantonio was devoted to the cause of Puerto Rico’s independence. In 1950, declaring his need to “vote his conscience,” Vito Marcantonio was the sole member of Congress to vote against United States participation in what he termed, the civil war raging in Korea. Vilified and slandered in his life time, Marc’s East Harlem’s mostly Italian-American, Puerto Ricans, and African-American constituents remained fiercely loyal. However, in 1950, when confronted with a “regular” Democrat who was also endorsed by the Republican and Liberal parties, Marcantonio was defeated.

Marc was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, a nondenominational cemetery located in the northeast Bronx, because Cardinal Spellman refused to allow him to be buried in a Catholic cemetery. Subsequently, Vito Marcantonio’s colossal work for all those shut out of participation in the American dream has been erased from American history. The Vito Marcantonio Forum is dedicated to righting this wrong by bringing information to the American progressive community and through the production of creative works. We invite you to join us in the work that will materialize this goal.

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.

 

Leonard Covello Panel discussion at the Left Forum 2016

VITO MARCANTONIO FORUM Left Forum panel event 2016We are excited to be back at the Left Forum. 2016 looks like an action-packed lineup practically guarantees this year’s Forum will not disappoint. If you are interested in attending, you must purchase a ticket from the Left Forum. You can try calling them (good luck) at the Left Forum Office at (212) 817-2002.

This year’s Forum event is being held at

 John Jay College of Criminal Justice
524 W 59th St, New York, NY 10019

The panel discussion and presentation will be informative and entertaining — BELIEVE THAT!!!

Here is the program:

VMF Left Forum panel event 2016 program

ITALIAN AMERICAN RADICAL CULTURE book presentation

VMF AUTHOR SERIES presents

ITALIAN IMMIGRANT RADICAL CULTUREITALIAN AMERICAN RADICAL CULTURE, 1890-1940, by Marcella Bencivenni 

Wednesday, May 18th 2016, 5:00-6:45 PM

Prof. Gerald Meyer will chair a discussion of ITALIAN AMERICAN RADICAL CULTURE, 1890-1940, by Marcella Bencivenni. Italian/English bilingual readings of Arturo Giovanitti’s poetry by VMF members: Gil Fagiani, Maria Lisella, & Roberto  Ragone.

Where: NYPL Mulberry St. Branch,  10 Jersey St., NY, corner of Mulberry & Prince Sts., one block south of Houston St.

Books available for purchase.
Free admission, light  refreshments served

marcella bencivenni

Author Marcella Bencivenni

VMF AUTHOR SERIES
This event is co-hosted with Italian American Writers Association (IAWA)

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.

The Italian American Writers Association will celebrate its 25th Anniversary in 2016. Since 1991, IAWA has given voice to writers through its literary series every second Saturday of the months. Readings begin with an Open Mic: IAWA-East is held even months at Sidewalk Café and IAWA-West continues at Cornelia Street Café on odd months.

Website: iawa.net
BLOG: italian american writers café http://newsite.iitaly.org/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/italianamericanwritersassociation

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