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Italian Heritage Month in Cleveland
October 2006

Italian Heritage Month in Cleveland
October 2, 2006

Cleveland Ward 17 Councilman Matt Zone ("the only full-blooded Italian on Council") worked to have an Italian Heritage Celebration in the Cleveland City Hall Rotunda on October 2, 2006.

Italian Heritage Month in Cleveland

Italian Heritage Month in Cleveland banner hanging in Cleveland City Hall Rotunda

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With the sounds of 'Finiculi Finicula" and other Italian classics from the Italian Choral Group, dozens of prominent Italian-American politicians and others gathered in the Rotunda.

Italian Choral Group

Italian Choral Group performing at the celebration

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After an invocation, children from the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Italian Club brought the Italian and American Flags to the front where the Choral Group led everyone in God Bless America and the Italian National Anthem.

Students from Our Lady of Mt Carmel

Students from Our Lady of Mt Carmel Italian Club

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The singing of God Bless America

The singing of God Bless America began the program

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Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, who is Italian, said his "mother would be proud" of the event. A variety of prominent Italian Americans spoke a few words at the podium including Basil Russo, Biagio Parente, Umberto Fideli, Jimmy Dimora and Matt Zone.

They introduced numerous other Italian-American judges, mayors, politicians and others in the crowd such as Vince Campanella and Parma Mayor Dean DePiero. Most also focused on the achievements of Italian-Americans. The first Italian American wasn't elected to Cleveland city government until 1927 when old Ward 19 (Little Italy) elected the first.

They spoke of the main Italian-American areas of the city: Old Ward 5 around St Rocco's, Collinwood, Old Ward 3 around Mt Carmel which Basil Russo said "from the late '50's to now has been mostly represented by the Zone family", and Little Italy.

Umberto Fideli told how more Italian-Americans lost their lives in WW2 than any other ethnic group.

County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora said, "I am here as proof positive of the contributions that Italian Americans have made to the food industry." He told the slimmer Mayor Jackson, "You keep eating. I'll take you to the right restaurants."

Before more music and food, Councilman Zone invited all to the Mass and Columbus Day Parade next week and concluded by pointing out how great it was to see the Italian flag flying atop Cleveland City Hall.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson with Biagio Parente and Councilman Matt Zone

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson with Immediate Past Italian Consul Biagio Parente and Cleveland Ward 17 Councilman Matt Zone

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Cleveland City Hall with the Italian Flag flying

Cleveland City Hall with the Italian Flag flying

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Biagio Parente, Jimmy Dimora and Basil Russo

Biagio Parente, Jimmy Dimora and Basil Russo

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Italian American heritage Month Politicians

Basil Russo, Matt Zone, Biagio Parente, Umberto Fideli, Jimmy Dimora and Frank Jackson

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Italian Choral Group

The Italian Choral Group sounded wonderful

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Basil Russo with Fr. Martin Polito, from Holy Redeemer Church (Collinwood) and Basil's granddaughter

Basil Russo with Fr. Martin Polito, from Holy Redeemer Church (Collinwood) and Basil's granddaughter

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Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson with Biagio Parente and Ward 17 Councilman Matt Zone

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson with Biagio Parente and Ward 17 Councilman Matt Zone

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Biagio Parente and Umberto Fideli

Biagio Parente and Umberto Fideli

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Ward 17 Councilman Matt Zone with his  Aunt Teresa Antonucci

Ward 17 Councilman Matt Zone with his Aunt Teresa Antonucci who also sang in the Italian Choral Group



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