Italian-American Leader Condemns Bias in Writings of Chicago Minister

Apr 03, 2008, 01:00 ET from Columbus Citizens Foundation

    NEW YORK, April 3, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Louis Tallarini,
 President of the Columbus Citizens Foundation, today condemned
 ethnically-charged and vitriolic writings by Rev. Jeremiah Wright, former
 pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago.
     The statements were taken from a eulogy Reverend Wright delivered for
 Dr. Asa G. Hilliard III and published in the November/December issue of
 Trumpet Newsmagazine, of which Rev. Wright is reportedly CEO and which is
 affiliated with Trinity United Church of Christ. The writings were cited in
 press reports by and
     According to and, Rev. Wright described the
 crucifixion of Jesus as "a public lynching Italian style," and stated, "The
 Italians for the most part looked down their garlic noses at the
     Mr. Tallarini's statement follows:
     "The Columbus Citizens Foundation condemns in the strongest terms the
 inflammatory, misinformed and prejudicial comments of Rev. Wright.
     "In his message of hate and bias, Rev. Wright takes up stereotyping, a
 practice long fought by enlightened and fair-minded people who envision a
 society where people are valued for their individual abilities rather than
 judged on the basis of their race, creed or ethnicity.
     "He also describes the crucifixion of Jesus as a 'lynching' and assigns
 guilt to the people of a country that did not even exist for another 1,800
 years. His statement is not merely inaccurate. It is a loathsome attempt to
 incite hatred and create mistrust.
     "The very use of the word lynching - which is putting someone to death
 without legal sanction - is fraught with racial overtones as it recalls the
 tragic, racist lynchings that brought death to untold numbers of African
     "Rev. Wright may not know that in 1891, eleven Italians who had been
 put on trial for the murder of the police commissioner of New Orleans and
 who had been found not guilty were hanged in the largest mass lynching in
 United States history. Numerous other Italians were lynched during the same
     "We call on Rev. Wright to clarify his writings and offer an apology to
 the 26 million Americans of Italian descent and to the people of the
 Italian Republic.
     "We encourage all Americans, including those who are candidates for the
 presidency of the United States, to speak out against divisive messages of
 hate that seek to drive wedges between Americans of different ethnic,
 racial or religious groups."
     The Columbus Citizens Foundation is a non-political, non-profit
 organization in New York City committed to fostering an appreciation of
 Italian-American heritage and achievement. The Foundation, through a broad
 range of philanthropic and cultural activities, provides opportunities for
 advancement to deserving Italian-American students through various
 scholarship and grant programs. The Foundation organizes New York City's
 annual Columbus Celebration and Columbus Day Parade, the largest
 celebration of Italian-American culture in the world.
     CONTACT: Andrew Decker of the Columbus Citizens Foundation,

SOURCE Columbus Citizens Foundation