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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

Next Vito Marcantonio event

Upcoming Events:

  1. Sunday Feb 5, 2017 12pm to 4:00 @ Gaetana Ristorante Italiana 143 Christopher Street on the corner of Greenwich St.  We will hold our first Vito Marcantonio Awards Luncheon. Our Honoree is Melissa Mark Viverito, City Councilperson from East Harlem and President of the NYC Council. Details to follow.
  2. Saturday March, 4th 3:00 to 4:45 @ Mulberry Street Public Library. In honor of Women’s History Month:
  3. Beloved Comrades: The Political and Personal Partnership of Annette T. Rubinstein and Vito Marcantonio. Presented by Stephen Siciliano and Gerald Meyer. Date is TBA.

Friends of the VMF Celebrate 5th Anniversary and Fundraiser

Vito Marcantonio Forum 5th AnniversaryWhat: The Friends of the Vito Marcantonio Forum will celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Vito Marcantonio Forum (VMF), whose public events have included nearly 30 lectures and panels accompanied by skits, dramatizations, presentations, and readings for diverse audiences ranging from 20 to more than 100 In addition, the VMF supports a website and has uploaded over thirty videos on youtube. The VMF has encouraged significant efforts to produce research and writings on these topics, and it has served as a clearing house for information on Vito Marcantonio and his world.
 
The Program: The celebration will present poetry, dramatizations, and interactive talks about Marc and his world, performed by Gil Fagiani, Gerald Meyer, LuLu LoLo Pascale, and Roberto Ragone.
Additionally, Bernard Johnson will perform a dramatization of Paul Robeson. Many may recall that Johnson’s last performance in October, 2014 for the VMF received a standing ovation.
When: Sunday, July 17, 2016 from 12 noon to 4PM.
 
Where: Gaetana’s Cucina Italiana, 143 Christopher Street in the West Village (northwest corner of Christopher Street and Greenwich Streets), between Hudson and Washington Streets.

For tickets and/or make contributions:
http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2569152

Cost: Admission is $20 in advance and $25 at the door. The entry fee entitles you to appetizers and one nonalcoholic drink. The VMF also needs and believes in angels.  At moderate prices in an atmospheric setting, Gaetana’s offers a full menu of typical Southern Italian dishes and beverages of all types. Benefactor tickets for $100 and donations are welcomed and needed.
For tickets, please send a check made out to Gerald Meyer and write on the memo line “Friends of the Vito Marcantonio Forum.” Checks should be mail to either Gerald Meyer 381-2nd Street Bklyn 11215 or Roberto Ragone 231 W148th St. #1R NYC 10039.
 
About VMF: The Vito Marcantonio Forum honors the memory of Vito Marcantonio, one of the most progressive Congressmen in American history. A protégé of LaGuardia and Leonard Covello, Marcantonio has been called the Thaddeus Stevens of the 20th century. In the House Marc led the fight against the poll tax and to make lynching a federal crime. He defended the rights of immigrants, and championed Puerto Rico’s independence. In the postwar era, he fought against McCarthyism at home and the Cold War foreign policy. He represented East Harlem from the late 1930’s to the early 1950’s, and although he ran on multiple party lines, Marcantonio was a leader of the American Labor Party. Because of his unshakable stand for progressive causes and defense of working people, ruling circles and the commercial press heaped on him buckets of slander. His district was gerrymandered and laws changing election procedures were passed with the intent of defeating him. Yet, he won time after time. The attacks, especially red baiting, intensified during the McCarthy period. In 1950, the Democratic, Republican, and Liberal parties coalesced to defeat the last American Labor Party Congressman. Despite endless opposition, Marcantonio never backed down. He was planning another run for Congress, when on August 9, 1954 at the age of 51, he was stricken by a massive heart attack near City Hall. And although he died with a rosary in his pocket, Cardinal Spellman refused him a Catholic burial; Vito Marcantonio is buried near his mentor, La Guardia at historic Woodlawn Cemetery.
 
Donations are not tax deductible.
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, educator Leonard Covello; and the critical role of the Left that rallied around Marcantonio.  

 

The Resistance Reading Series presents: An evening of poetry and prose

THE RESISTANCE READING SERIES

Sunday, February 21, 2016

5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

An Evening of Poetry and Prose

hosted by Tsaurah Litsky

featuring

Gil Fagiani

&

Bonny Finberg

WHERE: Gallery Gaia
79 Hudson Avenue at Front Street
Brooklyn, New York
Vinegar Hill, North Dumbo
A few blocks from the York Street
F train subway stop
THE RESISTANCE is a monthly reading series designed to foster light in these dark times.
* Come early to sign up for a space in the Open Reading!

Michael Parenti’s book presentation was a success!

Michael Parenti at the Vito Marcantonio Forum for Waiting for Yesterday SymposiumMichael Parenti was on hand for the Symposium of the latest of his 25 books entitled Waiting for Yesterday. Pages from a Street Kid’s Life (Bordighera Press).

The New York Public Library hosted the event at their Mulberry Street branch in New York City on October 31st, 2015.

The symposium was moderated by founding member Gil Fagiani, who also performed the first reading alongside Ketty Romagnoli, Litany of San Vito by Gil Fagiani, a poem dedicated to Marcantonio and his legacy.

Ketty Romagnoli reading at the Vito Marcantonio Forum symposium for Michael Parenti

Gil Fagiani & Ketty Romagnoli

Ms. Romagnoli of Bologna, is a digital media strategist and event planner by trade who has been researching Marcantonio and Covello’s roots in Italy. We look forward to her contributing her findings in the near-future.

The event featured a book presentation from author and journalist, Stephen Siciliano, who recently completed a full-length novel about Vito Marcantonio entitled the Goodfather. Siciliano discussed many aspects of of Parenti’s Waiting for Yesterday, highlighting sections found to be of the most historical and social significance.

vito marcantonio forum with LuLu LoLo Pascale

LuLu LoLo Pascale

“I know the house you grew up in.” said LuLu LoLo Pascale.  “A close friend of mine also lived in that house and so I took a picture and framed it for you.” Dr Parenti delightfully received the picture and gave thanks. Pascale, an East Harlem native herself, as well as an international playwright and performance artist, read, “Homage to Puglia” and “Coming Home to Both Worlds,” from Parenti’s book.

Vito Marcantonio Forum Co-chairman, Roberto Ragone, said “Halloween is the one day per year the country says you can be someone who you’re not. So I am going to be Vito Marcantonio while I read the following speech.” Ragone, who has experience working for the City Council, Mayor’s Office, and State Senate, dramatized a speech by the late, great congressman from East Harlem. Ragone also read, “Someone Else to Remember” and “Inventing Space,” his two favorite chapters from Parenti’s Waiting for Yesterday. 

vito marcantonio forum presents a book party event for waiting for yesterday by michael parentiBertell Ollman, the renown political theorist was in attendance and acknowledged by Parenti. East Harlem author and historian, Christopher Bell was also acknowledged. Artwork and online media was provided by Adam Meyer and Gabrielle Napolitano. The VMF thanks the New York Public Library for providing the venue  for the event. Also special thanks to Maria Lisella for press and promotional work.

Michael Parenti actively writes and lectures on a wide-range of topics. You can find his website at MichaelParenti.org and if you are interested in purchasing Waiting for Yesterday, you can find it at Amazon.com.

admeyer73

October 7, 2015

In Honor of Italian American Heritage month, Hostos Community College is sponsoring a presentation and book signing:

Congressman Vito Marcantonio,
Champion of Immigrant Rights

Introduction: Susan Miceli, LCSW
Opening remarks: Vice President for Academic Affairs, Christine Mangino
Presentation by Professor Gerald Meyer
Dramatizations: Vito Marcantonio Forum founders, Roberto Ragone & LuLu LoLo Pascale
Book signing of Vito Marcantonio: Radical Politician, 1902-1954, by Professor Gerald Meyer

Hostos Community College event 10-15-15 with the Vito Marcantonio Forum Gerald Meyer book signing

Location:
Hostos Community College

450 Grand Concourse
Bronx, NY 10451
located at C391 in the C Building

Complimentary refreshment will be served
Admission is free of charge. Must have valid picture ID to be admitted.

 

Thank You for Attending our Walking Tour of East Harlem

September 19th, 2015

Over forty people gathered at the Lucky Corner on East 116th St & Lexington Ave for “Walking in the Footsteps of Vito Marcantonio,” a walking tour of East Harlem. Another cultural/educational event sponsored by the Vito Marcantonio Forum.

Vito Marcantonio Forum - Melissa Mark-Viverito with Gerald Meyer and Roberto Ragone

Professor Gerald Meyer with Melissa Mark-Viverito. Photo by Daniel A. Nelson of the Columbia School of Journalism.

 

VMF Co-Chairman, Dr. Gerald Meyer, spotted Speaker of the City Council, Melissa Mark-Viverito in the crowd and promptly summoned her to the microphone where she said enthusiastically:

“This is a great way of remembering someone who is a great individual. Following in the footsteps of places that were important to Vito — someone who fought really hard on issues that we still care about today — in terms of living wage, in terms of immigrant rights… I feel really proud to represent a district that had been represented by Marcantonio.” 

Vito Marcantonio Forum - LuLu LoLo Pascale

Playwright/Actor and Performance Artist LuLu LoLo Pascale shares her early memories of Marcantonio.

The walking tour continued with a re-enactment of Marcantonio’s speech at the Lucky Corner by actor, activist, and Co-Chair of the VMF Roberto Ragone.

At a stop in front of educator Leonard Covello’s home at E116th Street, writer and performance artist LuLu LoLo Pascale, related her memories of having known Marcantonio and Covello as a child. She also read an excerpt from Covello’s breakthrough autobiogrphy, The Heart Is the Teacher.

A walking tour stop on E116th Street included a visit to Haarlem House, which was later renamed LaGuardia Memorial House. Pascale and Dr. Meyer discussed the historical significance of what was originally the Home Garden Settlement. What was interesting was a street vendor in front said he knew Marcantonio and that it was he who got his mother an apartment back in 1949.

VMF - Christopher Bell_walking tour of east harlem 2015

East Harlem native, Author and Historian, Christopher Bell.

Local author and historian, Christopher Bell, who has a chapter about Marcantonio in first book, Remembering East Harlem, discussed the importance of the next stop at 247 East 116th Street (between Second and Third Avenues): The Fiorello LaGuardia Political Association and later the Vito Marcantonio Political Association was often referred to as the “political club.”

Our Lady Queen of Angels School on 229 E112th St, New York and 229 E113th Street Our Lady Queen of Angels Church on 229 E112 Street are important for the fact that they will be at the site of a Papal visit next week.

Attorney Frank Marcantonio, who is a relative of Vito, read a letter to Cardinal Dolan about how Cardinal Spellman denied Vito Marcantonio a Catholic burial during the crazed Joseph McCarthy anti-communist era. The walking tour ended at Our Lady Of Mount Carmel Church, the site of Marcantonio’s baptism.

The Vito Marcantonio Forum thanks all who helped in presenting at the various stops as well as those who helped with audio & video, making signs, writing copy, contacting press, promotion, and more: Rita Barakos, Christopher Bell, Lizette Colón, Gil Fagiani, Lionel Francois, David Giglio, Maria Lisella, Frank Marcantonio, Adam Meyer, Gerald Meyer, Daniel A. Nelson, LuLu LoLo Pascale, Roberto Ragone, Luis Romero, Rosemary Siciliano, and many all who supported the cause — we cannot thank you enough!

Melissa Mark-Viverito looks on as Gerald Meyer speaks about Marcantonio altered on online photo application

Melissa Mark-Viverito (left) with friends and members of the VMF look on as Gerald Meyer speaks at a key location about Congressman Vito Marcantonio.