On the afternoon of January 24, 2021, the 2021-2022 Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans board of officers was formally sworn in by Retired Federal Immigration Judge, Hon. Jennie Giambastiani.
To begin the Installation, Vince Amore sang the Italian National Anthem followed by Johnny Maggio singing the Star-Spangled Banner. Consul General of Italy, Thomas Botzios, expressed his warmest regards to the JCCIA in a congratulatory video message to the new officers welcomed by all in attendance and those joining via Facebook LIVE.
"It has been an honor and humbling to work with the committee and so many individuals throughout my time as President," shared outgoing JCCIA President, Sergio Giangrande who officially opened the JCCIA annual meeting. His remarks of gratitude for his tenure during a very tumultuous time for the Italian American community was echoed by his encouragement and congratulations for incoming President Ron Onesti. Giangrande assures of his continued support for Onesti and the JCCIA, "Together as a community we will overcome any of these obstacles thrown at us." Giangrande turned to Onesti and said, "Congratulations. The community is lucky to have you and the energy that you bring, your guidance and your outlook and what your plans are with this committee, and what the Italian community will see. Congrats!"
Following Giangrande, the 2021-22 officers had the distinguished privilege to be sworn in by Retired Federal Immigration Judge, Hon. Jennie Giambastiani.
Newly installed President, Ron Onesti, began his remarks with gratitude: "I'd like to thank and congratulate Sergio Giangrande on a job tremendously well done." Onesti then went on to reminisce about his beginnings with the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans as a Young Adult Professional member, some 40 years ago, under Joseph V. Mollica, the YP President at the time. Onesti is dedicating his presidency to Mollica. Onesti then went on to share his long history with the Columbus Day Parade as he met his wife, Elena, at the Columbus Day Queen contest and they later married on Columbus Day "Not on a Monday." Onesti thanks and attributes the JCCIA for his daughter, Giuliana too.
"I urge each organization to designate at least one delegate to join our Avanti Group," the newly renamed Young Professionals Division of the JCCIA. Onesti emotionally and passionately closed by thanking the slate of officers who will sacrifice a lot of time and dedication towards "Preserving our culture and securing our Columbus Day," which are most important to the JCCIA and Onesti.
Later on in the meeting Onesti introduced new officers Secretary Stan Kuczynski, and Sergeant at Arms, Frank DiPiero who both bring great talent, gifts, and dedication to the Italian American community.
First Vice President, Lisa Ryan, who is serving a second term, was the next speaker who gave remarks and a report to the JCCIA membership. "As Italian Americans, we will continue our momentum of gathering and celebrating our ancestors, those who have come before us, those who are here now making significant contributions to our society, and those who will be our future, the Avanti. We ask that you join us in participating and supporting us as many of these events as you can."
Salvatore Camarda, Second Vice President, is honored and privileged to take on this new role serving the Italian American community he and his family are intimately involved in through the Maria SS. Lauretana Society of Altavilla Milicia in Chicago. As the chairman of Marketing and Media for the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans, Camarda will roll out new initiatives to "Increase the JCCIA's digital footprint and give us greater visibility and presence both locally and nationally. We are also ramping up communication with our affiliate organizations. We also want to build better resources for our affiliate organizations and our community. From creating a website to building a social media strategy. The JCCIA is going to be a resource in getting the affiliate organizations presence and experience out there."
An Italian Language Teacher of 39 years, Lyn Scolaro, will serve as the Third Vice President of the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans. Scolaro "Wants to continue to promote the Italian language, help coordinate and collaborate with Italian American teachers who do not teach Italian, teachers from various other subjects to bring Italian Americanism into their classrooms and within their subject areas, and I would like to bring and restore and rejuvenate all of our Italian traditions in addition to our Italian American traditions."
Treasurer, Christina Caliendo Cerami, began with a trip down memory lane recalling that an 11-year-old Ron Onesti used to serve her coffee at the Old Onion. Cerami's father, along with Executive Director, Jo Ann Serpico's father were some of the founding members of the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans in the 1950s. Cerami expressed her congratulations to Onesti and the officers before presenting the Treasurer's report.
Pasquale D. Gianni, the newly appointed President of the Avanti Group (Formerly known as the Young Professionals Division) followed Cerami. Gianni shared, "Avanti is a beautiful Italian word which means, forward. And that's exactly what we are looking to do. Bring in young folks, get them excited, passionate about their heritage, because we have so many things to celebrate." Gianni then goes on to say, "The Avanti group will be a noble mission of bringing young people to the forefront of this endeavor...the future of our community."
JCCIA President, Ron Onesti, then went on to announce Executive Appointments, Executive Committee Co-Chairs, and Committee members:
JoAnn Serpico, Executive Director
Enza Ranieri, Registered Lobbyist
Frank Sommario, Counsel
Siobhan O'Neill Meluso, Digital Media Manager
Dominic Gambino, Co-Chair
Sergio Giangrande, Co-Chair and President Emeritus
Dominic Stramaglia, Co-Chair
Hon. Sam L. Amirante
Hon. Lisa A. Marino
Vito D' Ambrosio
Government Relations Committee
Rep. Anthony DeLuca, (D-Chicago Heights) 80th District
Peter N. Silvestri, County Board Commissioner, 9th District
Alderman Nicholas S. Sposato, 38th Ward
Alderman Patrick Daley-Thompson, 11th Ward
Chicago Italian Patriots Committee
Calo Bucaro, Chair
Cultural Preservation Committee
Carlo Vaniglia, Chair
Columbus Day Parade
Marianne Gullo, Vice-Chair
International Relations Committee
Pat Capriati, Chair
Scholarship Committee Chair
Doug Olson, Chair
Special thanks to Ron Onesti, his family, and staff at Club Arcada in St. Charles, IL for hosting the 2021 JCCIA Installation of Officers and Annual Meeting.