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Public Employee Press

Celebrating Italian Heritage


PEP Photos by Mike Lee

On Oct. 14, the DC 37 Italian Heritage Committee held its annual event celebrating the culture and contributions to the union movement by Italian-Americans. The event always includes music and dancing, and those in attendance cut loose together, reflecting the inclusive nature of the union.

A bright early autumn Saturday brought celebration of history and heritage to Queens as the union celebrated DC 37’s Italian Heritage at its annual event on Oct. 14.

There was much to celebrate, and many to honor. Italian-American workers formed part of the backbone of the U.S. union movement since the 19th century, and they became a vital force in the building of DC 37 into the powerhouse that it is today.

Michael DeMarco
Local 1455 President
Before a packed house, Local 1455 President and Italian Heritage Committee Chair Michael DeMarco welcomed the guests in celebrating the long struggle and vital contributions to the labor movement of the Italian-American community.

“Today is about the many accomplishments Italians, and Italian-Americans past, present and future. Our strength and idealism have contributed to this country’s future,” he said. “Our culture and traditions continue to make an impact as we look forward.”

In speaking of the difficult experiences Italian immigrants endured in their journey to this country and the hardships they faced in building a future for themselves and their children in the United States, DeMarco said, “Sisters and brothers, isn’t that what we are doing here, as a union? Trying to make a better life for our families.”

Henry Garrido
DC 37 Executive Director
DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido, fresh from a long day of meetings with Gov. Andrew Cuomo to stave off the crisis at NYC Health+Hospitals, told the crowd, “This event is about family; it is about talking with each other. It is all about us, and it’s about the opportunity for us to break bread together.”

Describing the possible hardship DC 37 could face from upcoming U.S. Supreme Court cases to a favorable vote in November on a state Constitutional Convention, Garrido nevertheless expressed optimism for the future.

“We have all these challenges to this union,” Garrido said. “But I say to you: Be not afraid. Take a look at the people around you. We will be here stronger than ever because if we rely on each other, nothing can hold us back.”

As a needed break from the intense series of political actions facing the union since the election of President Donald J. Trump, the crowd cut loose with dancing and celebration.