Referendum Underway to Restore San Francisco’s Italian Heritage Day

San Francisco’s Italian Heritage Parade. Photograph by Nickolas Marinelli

On February 15, 2018, CIAO, the Coalition of Italian American Organizations, held a press conference in San Francisco’s Washington Square announcing a referendum campaign to reverse the January 23 Board of Supervisors’ vote, and resulting ordinance, replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day.  Members from 22 CIAO organizations gathered in the historic North Beach square Thursday to launch this effort.  

In a CIAO press release, Nicolas Figone stated: “This is not an attack on the Muwekma Ohlone – the Indigenous People of the present day San Francisco, who, along with the Italian American community, were not consulted before a vote was taken. Rather, this is the Italian American community proposing the rational name change that should have been proposed initially by the Board of Supervisor in consultation with all stakeholders.”

According to CIAO Bay Area, “One culture should not be chosen over another culture when there are ample days in a year to celebrate all cultures. We propose naming the second Monday in October ‘Italian Heritage Day’ which would restore the day commemorating the many contributions of the San Francisco Italian Community.”

The referendum campaign needs 20,000 signatures of San Francisco residents by the deadline of March 9, 2018. For more information on this effort, and to volunteer to gather signatures, contact the SFIAC (San Francisco Italian Athletic Club) at 415-781-0166, or stop by their building at 1630 Stockton Street in San Francisco.

CIAO is spearheaded by Guido Perego and Nick Figone with 22 member organizations representing Bay Area Italian American organizations.

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