By John Lynds
Last Thursday afternoon Mayor Martin Walsh joined the city’s Office of Immigrant Advancement to unveil the new mural on Paris Street just before Meridian Street.
The mural, recently completed by the city’s Mural Crew is on the Paris Street side of Dr. Dental and features immigrants Carmello Scire and Veronica Robles.
Scire immigrated from Sicily in the early 1930s, and founded his own catering business. Currently run by Scire’s grandson Steve, Sammy Carlo’s Delicatessen and Catering continues Scire’s dedication to community service and has been located in East Boston for over 75 years.
Beside the portrait of Scire is one of Robles. Robles is a cultural ambassador, educator and longtime community activist, who immigrated from Mexico in 2000. Mayor Walsh appointed Robles to serve on the leadership council for Boston Creates, the cultural plan for the City.
“We are always talking about how we are city of immigrants and when I look around this crowd all I see are immigrants of one generation or another,” said Walsh. “Some of us came from Italy or Ireland and some of us come from El Salvador or Mexico or Columbia or Turkey and that’s what makes our city so special. We are not afraid to celebrate our heritages. It’s great to be here tonight to show how the arts are connecting the immigrant stories of the past with the immigrant stories happening now. Art helps to tell our story and Boston’s story of immigration.”
Before unveiling the completed mural of Scire and Robles, Walsh presented certificates of appreciation to both Robles and Scire’s grandson, Steve.
“Veronica (Robles) is someone I have had the pleasure of watching for the past several years get involved in her community,” said Walsh.
Robles thanked the community of Eastie for giving her the opportunity to share her culture since coming from Mexico several years ago.
“Life teachers us lessons,” said Robles. “And I’ve learned about the power of arts and culture and how it can make our communities better. Arts can educate, can help promote family values, they can help us celebrate our heritage and stand proud even when we face adversity. My music is not only my career but my passion and my life. Through this art form I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to travel, meet people and learn about all other cultures. It has provided me with a way to invest in the community of East Boston. It has also bridged the gap between generations, nationalities and language. Never in my wildest dreams did I think embracing my immigrant story would bring me this great honor. But my story is everyone’s story and this mural represents the whole community.”
In introducing Steve Scire, Walsh mentioned that the immigrant story of the 1930s, when Scire’s grandfather immigrated to the U.S., is no different than the immigrant story of today.
“Many of the people who came to these shores then, like they do today, came for a better life,” said Walsh. “That story has no changed. That story is Veronica’s (Robles) story, it is my story, and it is Steve’s story.”
Scire thanked the Mayor’s office and the Mural Crew for selecting his grandfather for the mural.
“What this means to us as a family is a great appreciation of what our grandfather and grandmother sacrificed to start fresh and open new doors in a new country for future generations to have a better quality of life than the one before,” said Scire. “The mural means there is a legacy that is not only portrayed on a wall but are spoken stories of kindness and compassion. Carmello had the opportunity to work in the midst of his community where many had the same struggles as he did. Customers were friends and those friendships wove a fabric of a supportive community, neighborhood and city. When you see his portrait on that wall don’t just see Carmello–see the many neighbors and friends past and present and realize we are all part of something much much bigger.”
Mayor Martin Walsh presents a certificate of appreciation to Veronica Robles whose portrait is depicted on the Paris Street mural.
Carmello Scire’s grandson, Steve who know runs Sammy Carlo’s Delicatessen and Catering, is shown with Mayor Martin Walsh. Carmello’s portrait is next to Veronica Robles’s portrait on the mural that bridges the gap between the generations of immigrants.
Mayor Martin Walsh joins city officials, residents and the Robles and Scire families as the mural is unveiled.
A curious resident checks out the new mural.