Happy Italian American Heritage Day!
I am Italian American. There are myriad definitions and interpretations of what that means. For me, it means that I am American mixed with the culture that my grandparents brought from Sicily mixed with the sensibilities that my father took on as he grew up with two cultures in Brooklyn and the American ways he learned and practiced to become successful in the United States. I am a reflection of the successes, challenges, discrimination, sacrifices, triumphs, and joys.
Every one of us has a different path to today. Our families had different journeys to become American. Today we celebrate these paths and this heritage. Today we celebrate our immigrant ancestors and the opportunities granted to them when they arrived on these shores. Today we celebrate the contributions Italian Americans are making to our society. Today we reflect upon what is possible for our futures because of our pasts.
(Photo from my grandparents’ collection. My grandmother and baby uncle are pictured on the left column in the center at a summer picnic, probably in Brooklyn.)