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COMMISION FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE RELEASES 2010 REPORT

Washington, D.C. - March 19, 2010 The Commission for Social Justice® (CSJ), the anti-defamation arm of The Order Sons of Italy in America® (OSIA), has released its 2010 Plenary Session Report. The report, compiled by National CSJ President Santina Haemmerle and presented to OSIA & CSJ leadership at a meeting in Charleston, S.C., offers insight into the recent work of the CSJ to combat negative portrayals of Italian Americans.

"Never in my 27 years of fighting bias, bigotry and defamation of Italians and Italian Americans," writes Haemmerle, "have I seen the proliferation of negative stereotyping as we have all experienced these past few months." The 14-page report reveals the companies and organizations—from major television networks to university campuses—responsible for creating this offensive content. The report also details the actions taken by the CSJ to combat this hurtful material, and to offer outlets for positive Italian American imagery.

The CSJ was founded in 1979 to fight the stereotyping of Italian Americans by the entertainment, advertising and media industries. The CSJ conducts campaigns at both the community and the national levels that support cultural and social issues of importance to Italian Americans. In addition, the commission collaborates with other groups to ensure that people of all races, religions and cultures are treated with dignity and respect.

The 2010 Plenary Session Report illustrates the vast scope of the CSJ’s efforts. In the report, President Haemmerle issues a call for support: "Italian Americans can no longer sit back and, by our silence, give tacit approval to this form of entertainment. I urge everyone reading this report, to paraphrase, ‘if you see something, say something.’"

The full report and a series of letters written by the CSJ protesting offensive content can be found online here. To get involved with CSJ’s efforts or to learn more, email csj@osia.org.

Established in 1905, 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.