Italian Americans Support Nast Protest

The Italian American ONE VOICE Coalition – the nation’s largest Italian American anti-bias organization – is calling for New Jersey Hall of Fame Executive Director, Don Smith, to eliminate Thomas Nast from inclusion in this year’s nominees due to the cartoonist’s history of prejudice and bigotry towards Italians, Irish Catholics and other ethnicities.

Thomas Nast produced editorial cartoons in the late 1800’s that included depictions of Italians as criminals and malcontents along with other negative imagery of Italy and Italian Americans. This was in addition to his repeated depictions of Catholics, and especially Irish Catholics, in hostile and bigoted themes.

“We should not be glorifying such a clearly bigoted and prejudiced person in a list of prominent New Jerseyans,” stated Andre’ DiMino, President of ONE VOICE. “This is supposed to be a list of New Jersey people who are ‘role models of excellence,’ not those that spewed hate speech.”

DiMino explained that ONE VOICE is joining with the New Jersey Ancient Order of Hibernians (NJAOH) in calling for the elimination of Nast from inclusion in the NJ Hall of Fame. “We support our brother and sisters in the Irish American community and their campaign against Nash’s inclusion. While the cartoonist depicted negative cartoons about Italians, Nast was especially blatant in his hostility and bigotry towards Irish Catholics.”

ONE VOICE is different from all other Italian American groups in that its sole focus and objective is to fight bias, stereotyping and discrimination against Italian Americans. It is the only national Italian American organization with this exclusive mandate.

ONE VOICE’s stated mission is to “… secure the rightful representation of Americans of Italian origin and of all peoples whose paths toward social equality have been impeded. The powers of intellect, wisdom and due process of law will be brought to bear on all inequities.”