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02/13 - Commission for Social Justice® Co-sponsors March Conference on Italian-American Women in Media

Conference to Examine Roles in Fact and Fiction

Press Contact: Diane E. Crespy, (202) 547-2900

Washington, D.C., Feb. 13, 2001 - To celebrate Women's History Month, the Commission for Social Justice® (CSJ) has joined a coalition of eight Italian-American organizations and the Italian Cultural Institute of New York in co-sponsoring a panel discussion, "Italian American Women in the Media: Fact versus Fiction." The conference will be held Saturday, Mar. 3 at the Italian Cultural Institute, 686 Park Avenue, New York, N.Y., from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

"Images of Italian-American women as positive role models are certainly lacking in movies, television shows, and other forms of popular entertainment. Women's History Month is the perfect time to expose these women for what they really are - successful business executives, high-ranking public officials, talented entertainers, and often the nurturing force behind tight-knit families," said CSJ President John Dabbene.

"The U.S. entertainment industry has typecast Italian-American women as either sirens in tight pants or earth mothers who cook and pray," explained panel moderator, Dr. Aileen Riotto Sirey, National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) vice chair and founder/chair of the National Organization of Italian American Women (NOIAW). "We will show how much more complex and accomplished Italian-American women really are," Sirey added.

On the panel are Laura Savini of WLIW Public Television; Dr. Dawn Esposito, chair of sociology and anthropology at St. John's University; Valerie Franco, an independent film maker; and Dona De Sanctis, director of the NIAF Media Institute.

Co-sponsors with the CSJ are the Coalition of Italo-American Associations, the Columbian Lawyers Association, FIERI National, Italian American Welfare League, John D. Calandra Italian American Institute of CUNY, the NIAF, NOIAW, and the Italian Cultural Institute.

The Italian Cultural Institute and its director, Senator Paolo Riani, will host a continental breakfast from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Conference fee is $5. Seating is limited and all seats must be reserved. Make checks payable to NIAF and send to: NIAF, 232 Madison Ave., 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10016. For more information, contact Alyssa Ciccone at (212) 725-8089 or

The Commission for Social Justice® is the anti-defamation arm of the Order Sons of Italy in America® (OSIA), the largest and longest-established organization of Italian-American men and women in the world. The CSJ works to ensure equal concern, treatment, respect, freedom, and opportunity for all people regardless of race, ethnicity, creed, age, or sex. The CSJ is particularly dedicated to eliminating false and discriminatory portrayals of Italian Americans in media and entertainment and replacing them with true, positive, and affirming representations.

For more information on the CSJ visit OSIA's official Web site, "One Stop Italian America®," at, email, or call (202) 547-2900.