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Sons of Italy® Protests NYC Mayor "Sopranos" Parade Invite

Press Contact: Diane Crespy, 202-547-8115 dcrespy@osia.org

For Immediate Release:

WASHINGTON, October 10, 2002 - The Order Sons of Italy in America® (OSIA), the oldest and largest national organization representing men and women of Italian descent, has issued a severe protest to New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, questioning his judgement in inviting members of "The Sopranos" cast to march in this year's Columbus Day parade in New York City, Oct. 14.

OSIA and its anti-defamation arm, the Commission for Social Justice® (CSJ), also have launched a national campaign urging its supporters to call and write to Mayor Bloomberg to express their displeasure at his ill-considered invitation.

OSIA National President Robert Messa issued the following statement:

"The Sons of Italy® is deeply disappointed in Mayor Bloomberg. He has shown remarkably poor judgement by inviting these guests to an event that celebrates Italian American heritage and achievements, particularly without consulting the parade organizers.

By no stretch of the imagination does this violent television series, with its amoral characters, profanity and skewed values of right and wrong contribute to our culture.

The Sons of Italy® joins the Columbus Citizens Foundation in demanding that Mayor Bloomberg withdraw his invitation to the actors who have associated themselves with 'The Sopranos.' The financial and professional gains they now enjoy as a result of their participation in this television series have been acquired at the expense of the collective reputation of millions of Italian American men, women and children."

Established in 1905, OSIA has more than 575,000 members and supporters and a network of 700 chapters coast to coast. OSIA works at the community, national and international level to promote the heritage and culture of an estimated 26 million Italian Americans, the nation's fifth largest ethnic group, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The CSJ monitors the news, advertising and entertainment industries for false, discriminatory stereotypes of Italian Americans. It also conducts research and public education campaigns on the history and achievements of Italians and Italian Americans and works with other organizations to ensure equal treatment and opportunity for all. See www.osia.org or contact csj@osia.org.

Contact Mayor Bloomberg:

The Order Sons of Italy in America® (OSIA) is urging all its members and supporters to contact New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg at the following:

If you live anywhere in the U.S., please contact:
Vincent LaPadula
Tel.: (212) 788-2930 in the Mayor's office
Fax: (212) 788-2460
Email: crmrepl@crm.nyc.gov

If you live in New York City, ALSO contact your City Council Member:
THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK
CITY HALL, ROOM 5
NEW YORK, NY 10007
Tel.: (212) 788-7100
Fax: (212) 788-9296
feedback@council.nyc.ny.us