December 17, 2017
The Vito Marcantonio Forum (VMF) is especially grateful to LuLu LoLo Pascale, a native East Harlem resident and founding member of the VMF, for her dedicated hard work with Speaker of the City Council, Melissa Mark-Viverito, in accomplishing the goal of naming the northeast corner of East 116th Street and Lexington Avenue in New York City, the Vito Marcantonio Lucky Corner.
The event featured keynote speech from Speaker of the City Council Melissa Mark-Viverito who explained to the large crowd on hand that she is proud to serve the same district that Marcantonio once did.
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer explained how Marcantonio’s legacy should serve as an inspiration for all.
Vito Marcantonio’s first cousin, once removed, Frank L. Marcantonio Jr., Esq., shared his family’s pride in connection to the late, great congressman.
Actor/Activist, LuLu LoLo Pascale, performed her “Personal Memory of Vito Marcantonio” that took place when she was a young girl growing up in East Harlem near his headquarters that was just three blocks from the Lucky Corner.
Melissa Mark-Viverito’s mentor Gloria Quiñones, Esq. discussed the importance of Marcantonio’s place in the history of Puerto Rico and how Marc’s legacy can provide a source of guidance for today’s leaders.
VMF Co-Chairman, Roberto Ragone, performed “Marc for Mayor,” which re-enacted a speech Marcantonio gave at a political rally at the Lucky Corner in 1949.
The ceremony was rounded-out by a poetry reading of The Litany of San Vito, a poem dedicated to Marcantonio that was written by founding VMF member and author of seven books, Gil Fagiani.
The Litany of San Vito was read in three languages: Gloria Quiñones, read the Spanish version, and VMF Vice President Maria Lisella read it in Italian and local Historian Christopher Bell. See the video below for an earlier reading by LuLu LoLo Pascale at Woodlawn Cemetery in 2014:
VMF Co-Chairman, Dr. Gerald Meyer, discussed the history of the Vito Marcantonio Forum that he co-founded in 2011, stating that “the Vito Marcantonio Forum looks forward to memorializing other sites associated with the life and work of this great spokesperson of all those who had been left out of the American Dream and advocate for a program of social justice and peace.”
The ceremony commenced with Melissa Mark-Viverito, along with members of the VMF and residents of East Harlem, pulling a rope that unveiled the street sign that was mounted on the corner lamppost.
We have additional pictures of the Vito Marcantonio Lucky Corner Streetcorner Co-Naming Ceremony posted on our Facebook and Twitter accounts that we encourage you to Like, Share, Comment, and Re-Tweet. We also have pictures in our photo gallery that you can find here.
We also want to thank all the press who covered the Vito Marcantonio Lucky Corner Co-Naming Ceremony, especially AM New York, who ran a great story: https://www.amny.com/news/harlem-vito-marcantonio-1.15498344
The People’s World will be printing an article written by Gabe Falsetta and Gary Bono that we will soon post a link to.
The City Council of New York City’s official press release on the event can be found here: https://council.nyc.gov/press/2017/12/17/1554/
Below is a video of the unveiling of the Vito Marcantonio Lucky Corner street sign that we thank Dorothy He for providing:
.@MMViverito joins the Vito Marcantonio Forum, relatives of Vito Marcantonio, and members of the East Harlem community for the official unveiling of the "Lucky Corner" street sign at East 116th Street and Lexington Avenue pic.twitter.com/d0ed2OfDiI
— Dorothy He (@dorothyhe93) December 17, 2017
Vito Marcantonio Lucky Corner
There will be a reading of the poem, “Litany of San Vito,” by Gil Fagiani that will be performed by: Christopher Bell, (English), Maria Lisella, (Italian), and Gloria E. Quiñones (Spanish). Other talks include:
The Speaker of the New York City Council & The Vito Marcantonio Forum
339 W 24th St
New York, NY 10011
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:
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.
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:
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
- 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”
- LuLu LoLo Pascale
- Simone Cinotto
- Gary Bono
- Chris Bell
- Rita Barakos
- Luis Romero
- Nicholas Arture
- Lionel Francois
- Gloria Quinones
- 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)
Renato Cantore wrote a great piece on last year’s walking tour that you can see here:
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
Gil 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.
“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.
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.
Cofounder/blogger of the VMF
October 15th, 2015
In commemoration of Italian Heritage Month, Hostos Community College’s Division of Student Development Enrollment Management proudly presented,
Vito Marcantonio: Champion of Immigration Rights
Marcantonio, who served as Congressman from East Harlem for fourteen years (1934-1936, 1938-1950), organized a powerful political coalition of his constituency’s mostly Italian-American, Puerto Rican, and African-American residents. Marcantonio’s dedication to his beloved East Harlem, a working-class community where he spent his entire life, continues to inspire his admirers.
The standing room-only event featured presentations and dramatizations of letters and speeches about the late, great Congressman. A number of areas of the College helped plan and promote the event and the Vito Marcantonio Forum (VMF). Special thanks to Nydia R. Edgecombe, Director of Alumni Relations, for her creativity and dedication in making the proceedings memorable for faculty, staff, students, and the many visitors in attendance.
Hostos counselors Professor Susan Miceli coordinated the production and promotion of the event that included a sumptuous spread of Italian specialties.
Vice President for Academic Affairs, Christine Mangino, provided insight and inspiration in describing the importance of observing Italian Heritage Month.
Poet, translator, and short-story writer, Gil Fagiani and Professor Lizette Colón read “The Litany of San Vito,” a poem written by Fagiani in dedication to Marcantonio:
San Vito of East Harlem, pray for us
San Vito bread of the poor, pray for us
San Vito crucified by Wall Street, pray for us
San Vito martyr of McCarthyism, pray for us
From the jail cell walls, San Vito deliver us
From the backyard crap game, San Vito deliver us
From the loan shark’s vig, San Vito deliver us
From the drunken stupor, San Vito deliver us
From TB and asthma, San Vito deliver us
From the social worker’s visit, San Vito deliver us
From immigration raids, San Vito deliver us
From the landlord’s greed, San Vito deliver us
Professor Gerald Meyer, who currently teaches World History at Hostos, also is well known for having written the most important book on the subject: Vito Marcantonio: Radical Politician, 1902-1954.
“Leonard Covello, Marcantonio’s teacher and mentor, created a club called the Circolo de Italiano, that helped Italian students learn to help one another as well as their families in the community of East Harlem. Covello firmly believed the children of immigrants must learn their parents’ languages ”
Marcantonio went on to become a congressman who championed the rights of immigrant groups that included mostly Italians and Puerto Ricans. Dr. Meyer described, in depth, how Marcantonio publicly defended Pedro Albizu Campos and Clemente Soto Vélez, who had been imprisoned for treason by the United States government for their involvement in the Puerto Rican Independence movement.
LuLu LoLo Pascale, community activist and performance artist, dramatized letters to Marcantonio from his constituency. An East Harlem native who grew up on the same block, Ms. Pascale reminisced talking to Marcantonio in the street when she was a small child. With a heavy heart, she recalled, “It was so long ago… if only I could remember what he and my father used to talk about!”
“When I put on this fedora, I become Marcantonio,” said Bronx native, consultant, and actor Roberto Ragone, who dramatized a Mayoral campaign speech made in 1949, the night before election day at the “Lucky Corner” on East 116th Street and Lexington Ave.
“[I pledge] our City shall be free from fear – fear of discrimination and fear of want,” Ragone read with much fervor and enthusiasm, “I pledge to fight for the ‘little’ people of the City of New York.”
Professor Meyer, Gil Fagiani, Maria Lisella, LuLu LoLo Pascale, Roberto Ragone, Ria Barakos, Luis Romero, Terry Anderson, Adam Meyer, and a dozen others dedicated to the cause formed the “Vito Marcantonio Forum” in October 2011.
The community based organization brings together people from a wide variety of backgrounds dedicated to disseminating and sharing knowledge of the life and work of Vito Marcantonio (1902 to 1954). For more information, please see the group’s website at www.VitoMarcantonioForum.org
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.
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.”
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.
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!
Vito Marcantonio Forum Celebrates Pope Francis’ Visit and Italian American Culture Month with a People’s Pilgrimage to East Harlem
Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015 @ 12:00PM
Walking in the Footsteps of Vito Marcantonio.
Starting at Lucky Corner at the northeast corner of 116th St. & Lexington Ave at 12pm. Highlights include a visit to Vito Marcantonio’s home, Our Lady Queen of Angels Elementary School that Pope Francis is scheduled to visit (the church was shut down to parishioners’ protests in 2007). VMF will appeal to the Vatican to bless Marcantonio who was refused a Catholic burial by Cardinal Spellman in 1954. Route details will soon be posted to VitoMarcantonioForum.org Weather will be great!
See below for a map of the tour. For questions or if you get lost, call or text Adam Meyer at 347.813.1396
Marcantonio and Immigration
Marcantonio and Immigration.
Presenting: Professor Gerald Meyer with life-long East Harlem resident performance artist, LuLu LoLo Pascale and activist, actor and marketing expert, Roberto Ragone. The format encourages audience participation.
Light refreshments will be served | Admission is FREE!
I’m Dying Now and I Did Not Kill Emmet Till
THE PRODUCER’S CLUB
358 West 44th Street
New York, NY off 9th Ave
Admission is $10.00
Friday, September 25, 2015 at 8PM
Saturday, September 26, 2015 at 8PM
Sunday, September 27, 2015 at 6PM
A play directed by VMF member Art Bernal with an acting appearance by VMF co-chairman Roberto Ragone.
The murder, the trial, the injustice for all is covered in this play. DON’T MISS IT. For more info, email email@example.com or call 201-416-9516
Michael Parenti Book Presentation
Saturday, October 31, 2015 from 2:00 to 4:00 @ NYPL’s Mulberry Branch Library, VMF will present a symposium on Waiting for Yesterday (Bordighera Press), Michael Parenti’s memoir of growing up in Italian Harlem. The event will be moderated by Gil Fagiani. Speakers will include author Stephen Siciliano and dramatizations by life-long East Harlem resident performance artist, LuLu LoLo Pascale and activist, actor and marketing expert, Roberto Ragone.
Parenti received his PhD in political science from Yale University and for many years, he taught political and social science at various institutions of higher learning. Eventually he devoted himself full-time to writing, public speaking, and political activism.
Parenti is the author of 23 books and many more articles. His highly acclaimed writings cover a wide range of subjects: U.S. politics, culture, ideology, political economy, imperialism, fascism, communism, democratic socialism, free-marketorthodoxies, conservative judicial activism, religion, ancient history, modern history, historiography, repression in academia, news and entertainment media, technology, environmentalism, sexism, racism, homophobia, Venezuela, the wars in Iraq and Yugoslavia, ethnicity, and his own early life.