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Sons of Italy® and Commission for Social Justice® Support International Day for Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Largest Italian-American/Anti-defamation Organization Reminds Americans to Embrace Differences

Press Contact: Diane E. Crespy, (202) 547-2900 dcrespy@osia.org

Washington, D.C., March 21, 2001 - The Order Sons of Italy in America® (OSIA), the largest and longest established organization of Italian-American men and women in the world, and its anti-defamation arm the Commission for Social Justice® (CSJ) released a joint statement today supporting the ideals of the United Nation's International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Mar. 21, and urged all Americans to embrace the differences between cultures and races.

"Our differences are what make us, as Americans, unique. We should embrace these differences and view them as ways to branch out, discover new things, learn appreciation and tolerance, and mostly, enjoy the diversity of life that we share in this great country," said Philip R. Boncore, OSIA national president and CSJ chairman.

"OSIA and the CSJ support this day designated by the United Nations because we understand discrimination and intolerance. We know that many of our nation's minorities, including Italian Americans, are subject to discrimination in its many ugly forms and we fight every day to end it," Boncore continued. "We must make a conscious choice to look upon our differences, the color of our skin, the various traditions, the many countries from where our forefathers came, and know their value. We must lead the world by example."

The Order Sons of Italy in America® has more than 700 chapters and more than 575,000 members in all 50 U.S. states. OSIA members have been dedicated to providing educational opportunities, improving the lives of all Americans, and preserving the Italian heritage since the organization's founding in 1905.

The Commission for Social Justice® was founded with the purpose of ensuring equal treatment, concern, respect, and freedom for all people regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, age, or sex. The CSJ is particularly dedicated to eliminating false, negative portrayals of Italian Americans in the media and entertainment industries and replacing them with true, positive, and affirming portrayals.

For more information, contact OSIA or the CSJ at (202) 547-2900, nationaloffice@osia.org, csj@osia.org, or on the Internet at www.osia.org.