FAIRFIELD, N.J., Jan. 26, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- A wide ranging group of national, regional and local organizations have joined forces to oppose the National Education Association's (NEA) recent initiative to celebrate the second Monday of October, the Federal Columbus Day holiday, as El Dia De La Raza/Indigenous People's Day. The group of organizations, which has named itself the "Preserve Columbus Day Coalition" or "PCDC," was initiated by UNICO National President Dominick Nicastro after NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia refused multiple requests by Nicastro for a meeting.
"We wanted to discuss our serious objection to the marginalization of Columbus Day that would be caused by this NEA initiative," stated Nicastro. "When she refused to meet with us after a number of attempts, I knew we just had to do something to stop this attack on our heritage, culture and the historical foundation of our great country. So, we began contacting other groups and I am overwhelmed by the response and unity we have achieved."
In addition to UNICO National, other groups in the PCDC are The Italian American ONE VOICE Coalition, Order Sons of Italy in America, NJ Italian American Heritage Commission, Knights of Columbus, Federation of Italian American Society and The Ocean County Columbus Day Parade Committee.
The details of the NEA initiative are as follows. At the July 2016 NEA Convention the following Item was adopted - "The NEA body shall henceforth celebrate the 2nd Monday of the month of October as Dia de la Raza/Indigenous People's Day. NEA shall encourage their members to urge their districts to do the same." (RA Today, 7/5/16, Page8, Item #24) In addition, on the NEA website is the following: "NEA shall encourage its members to urge their school districts to celebrate the 2nd Monday of October as El Dia de la Raza and Indigenous People's Day. Information shall be disseminated through NEA Today and on digital properties." As detailed on its website, this initiative has been well funded by the NEA with over $50,000 committed to its implementation.
"Unfortunately, this is an organized and well funded attack on an important day for Italian Americans, and actually, for all Americans, that has been attempted by others trying to rewrite history," stated Dr. Manny Alfano, President of the Italian American ONE VOICE Coalition. "As a former teacher, I am appalled that the NEA is funding this attack on our heritage."
The PCDC is urging everyone to contact Lily Eskelsen Garcia, President of the NEA, to express opposition. Her email address is LEskelsen@nea.org. The PCDC urges people to also call the NEA at 201-833-4000 or fax to 202-822-7974.
The NEA is funding this initiative with member dues. Therefore, the PCDC is urging NEA members themselves to register their objection of the use of their dues for this initiative. "It is hard to believe that all teachers across the country can possibly be pleased that their dues are being used for this purpose," stated Nicastro.
The PCDC will be holding regular meetings at the UNICO National headquarters in Fairfield, NJ and welcomes other groups and individuals to join them in this effort. To contact the PCDC send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
UNICO National, founded in 1922, the nation's largest Italian American service and charitable organization, has local chapters throughout America. Its volunteer members support charitable, educational & community service activities while promoting Italian heritage and combating negative stereotyping. www.unico.org.
Contact: Andre' DiMino
UNICO National Executive Director
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SOURCE UNICO National