Author Archives: Adam Milat-Meyer

Gale A. Brewer Receives the Vito Marcantonio Award

Manhattan Borough President Gale A Brewer

The Vito Marcantonio Forum proudly presented the Vito Marcantonio Award to Manhattan Borough President, Gale A. Brewer in a ceremony in New York City’s West Village on June 23rd 2019.

Gale A. Brewer was awarded for her outstanding service to the community that she has served since she began working in politics during the late 1970’s. Mary Anne Krupsak, the former Lieutenant Governor of New York. From 1978 to 1990, she was chief of staff to then-New York City Council member Ruth Messinger.

Brewer served on the New York City Council for 10 years beginning in 2002. Brewer helped to enact legislation protecting domestic workers and has chaired committees that include General Welfare, Higher Education; Housing & Buildings; Mental Health; Technology; Transportation; and Waterfronts—to name a few.

Brewer was ineligible to run for re-election to the City Council in 2013 because of term limits. In February 2013 Brewer announced she would run for Manhattan Borough President. Brewer won the general election on Tuesday, November 5, 2013.

Since receiving the Vito Marcantonio Award, Gale Brewer has written a thank you letter saying “I write to convey my deepest thanks to you and the other members of the Forum for presenting me with the 5th Vito Marcantonio Award on June 23rd at Gaetana’s Restaurant. I so admire Marcantonio’s compassion for the ‘man in the street,’ his incredible perseverance and unflagging spirit, and the inspiration he gave so many through hard times and long struggles for justice.”

Gale A. Brewer is the fifth recipient of the Vito Marcantonio Award. The previous four are Annette T. Rubinstein, Ralph Fasanella, Pete Pascale, and Melissa Mark Viverito. Gale A. Brewer is married to Cal Snyder. They have adopted several children. Their son Mo Sumbundu carries on the family tradition of working in government at the Empire State Development Corp.

Brewer-receiving-award-June-2019
Holding Gabrielle Napolitano’s poster is (clockwise from left): Gerald Meyer, Maria Lisella, Gale Brewer, Chloe Swift, Adam Meyer, and Roberto Ragone. Photo by: Jennifer Wishnow

Puerto Rico on Our Mind

“Protests Shook the Halls of Power in Puerto Rico,” a very worthwhile article published in July 25th’s New York Times, notes its organizers’ belief that these historical demonstrations are not “spontaneous.” The article shows the high degrees of organization underlying these determined and successful mass demonstration. It quotes Shariana Ferrer, a leader of Puerto Rico’s women’s organizations: “This is an organic movement… but it is not a spontaneous movement.”

Significantly, women’s and gay/lesbian organizations are playing major roles in these activities. This development underscores that so-called “identity politics” has the potential of translating into coalition politics.

These mass demonstrations specifically called for Governor Ricardo Rosselló’s resignation. More importantly, the evidence reveals that while Puerto Rico is officially a territory of the United States, Puerto Rico has the attributes of a nation.

While calling for Rosselló’s resignation, the symbol of this movement is not the placards calling for Rosselló to step down. It is, and will continue to be, the flag of Puerto Rico (for many years displaying this flag was a criminal offense). Protesters waved countless Puerto Rican flags. Not one American flag was flown. No less significant, not one word of English was spoken from the platforms, nor was it used in any of the slogans. While one reggaton piece was composed overnight to be performed at the demonstration, the musical background for these manifestations have been classical ballads expressing love for Puerto Rico and “plenas,” a folk genre traditionally sang at political demonstrations. A long-time favorite plena at manifestations of all kind goes: “Que bonita bandera; Que bonita bandera; Que bonita bandera, es la bandera puertorriqueña.” In short, the style/rhythm of these rallies was distinctly Puerto Rican.

As Congressman representing East Harlem for seven terms, Vito Marcantonio (1902-1954) submitted five bills demanding Puerto Rico’s independence, “with indemnification for the damage the United States had imposed on the Island.” While maintaining Puerto Rico’s relationship with the United States, it is time to reconsider this proposal.

Always,
Gerald Meyer, Co-Chair Vito Marcantonio Forum

Come Support the Vito Marcantonio Awards Luncheon Honoring Manhattan Borough President, Gale A. Brewer!

Sunday, June 23rd 2019
12:00pm – 4pm (program begins at 1pm)

Music by Los Mas Valientes – Traditional Latin Jazz with a NY Beat
Guests will enjoy a delicious Italian cuisine at:

Gaetana’s Restaurant 
143 Christopher Street (intersecting Greenwich Street)
New York, NY 10014

The Vito Marcantonio Forum (VMF) is presenting the Vito Marcantonio Award to Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, who has represented her constituents in the progressive tradition and has been active in politics since 1975.

Join this celebration by purchasing tickets at an amount you can afford:

Manhattan Borough President Gale A Brewer
Buy tickets for Vito Marcantonio Forum Award Dinner Honoring Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer

Friends: $20
Supporters: $30
Benefactors: $100

You can purchase tickets (or make a donation) here.

Alternately, you can email Roberto Ragone at Roberto.Ragone@gmail.com or GeraldJMeyer@aol.com

Join us for a book presentation with author Peter Duffy, for The Agitator: William Bailey and the First American Uprising Against Nazism

Mulberry Street Public Library
10 Jersey St. New York, NY 10012

Wed., May 29th | 6:00-7:30 PM 
FREE ADMISSION

The Vito Marcantonio Forum is proud to support a presentation for The Agitator, a biography of Bill Bailey, a decorated Abraham Lincoln Brigade veteran, who is best known for leading a group of young Communists in 1935 aboard the SS Bremen that was docked in New York  Harbor, for the purpose of tearing-down the Nazi Flag.

Subsequently, Bailey and his comrades were arrested on a number of serious charges. Vito Marcantonio, who served as their defense attorney, succeeded in having all charges dismissed. 

This story of an anti-fascist’s dramatic and remarkable victory against Nazism is an inspiration to anyone compelled to resist when signs of oppression are on the horizon.

The Agitator by Peter Duffy

The VMF encourages all of its members and supporters to join us at this free event, and if this is not possible, to purchase The Agitator from the author’s website

VMF and Chelsea Rising Launch Reading Circle!

The Vito Marcantonio Forum  and the Chelsea Rising will launch their joint Reading Circle on Wed. April 19 @ 6:30 in Penn South’s CommunityRoom at 339 West 24th Street (between 8th & 9th Aves., closer to 9th Ave.). The Community Room has its own entrance which is under an awning proudly announcing “Community Room.” 

Our text, I Vote My Conscience: Debates, Speeches, and Writings of Vito Marcantonio, edited by Annette T. Rubinstein, is an invaluable source for all those interested in studying the life and work of the American Labor Party (ALP) Congressman, who represented East Harlem so well. I Vote My Conscience presents: excerpts from Marcantonio’s debates and speeches from each of his seven terms in office as the; a special section on Marc’s work on behalf of Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rican people; and lastly excerpts from his legal briefs for W. E. B. DuBois and other victims of McCarthyism. In addition to his Congressional work, Marc became Chairperson of the ALP, and ran for Mayor in 1949, under its banner.

Marc’s eloquence, brilliance, and political acumen resulted in his becoming the Spokesperson for the American Left. He fell dead outside City Hall Park at fifty-one years old.

Our first session will discuss the front matter (two introductions and bio of Annette) of I Vote My Conscience. Copies of I Vote My Conscience will be on sale for $10 at our meetings or in advance, by mail by sending a $13 check to Gerald Meyer 381-2nd St. Bklyn. 11215.

Subsequent meetings will be held on the third Wednesdays of each month. Wed. April 19; Wed. May 17; Wed. June 21; Wed. July 19; Wed. Aug. 16; Wed. Sept. 20; Wed. Oct. 18; Wed. Nov. 15; Wed. Dec. 20.

Gerald Meyer, Co-Chair VMF

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.