Friday, August 4, 2017

When You Think About It: Just a Chance

F LoBuono

A brief family history:

My mother's family, the Vitanzas, emigrated to this Country in the early 20th Century from a small village in northeastern Sicily called San Salvatore di Fitallia. My grandfather, for whom I am named, was a laborer - a stonemason to be exact. He spoke NO English when he left Sicily. My grandmother dreamt of being a singer on Broadway - a bold dream for a Sicilian girl who spoke NO English.

They came to the States with virtually nothing - no money, no position, no English. What they did have was a CHANCE to show the true value of what they could offer as HUMAN BEINGS! They also had some family already here to help guide them in the transition. But, that's it - just a chance.

They settled in Brooklyn where my grandfather found work doing the "fancy" plaster work that adorns many of Manhattan's great buildings. He worked so long and hard that my mother tells stories of him returning after a day's work with his undergarments in a bag because he had sweat through them. And, he was successful - VERY successful - enough to afford to buy a three-story town house where my mother and her brothers and sister grew up. My grandmother never made it to Broadway but did entertain her fellow Sicilian immigrants by signing at church socials.

It was so important to my grandfather that they all become Americans, he prohibited their native Italian to be spoken in the house. It was English first! Even as busy as he was, my grandfather went to night school to improve his own English! So, they assimilated. The consequence of all this is that we may have belonged but we lost our native tongue. Only years later would I take Italian language courses to regain my heritage.

My grandparents were not only successful, but so were their children and their children's children! All of my aunts and uncles are educated, successful people. All of my cousins are educated, successful people. The same is true of my father's family (also Sicilian immigrants). We are teachers, veterans, business people, journalists, doctors, artists, mothers, fathers, and more. We have lived the American dream.

So, When You Think About It, what is being proposed by the current Administration and GOP Congress makes the dream lived by my family virtually impossible for new immigrants. In fact, if the same standard - competency with English and a highly skilled profession - were applied then, my family simply would not be here!! Think about that. Think about what would have been lost. Take my father alone: he served with distinction in WWII having survived D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge. Had his father not been allowed to emigrate, no Joseph LoBuono - no WWII heroics. And, this scenario would be repeated over and over again to countless families.

No, Mr. President and minions, we will not allow this happen. We will not allow you to continue to dismantle the true meaning of what it means to Make America Great. And, please teach that living skull, Stephen Miller, a little about American history.

No comments:

Post a Comment