Badge of honor
When I recently read a letter from a supporter of my son’s opponent that read, “If she wins the final election, Lydia will be the first councilor not of Italian heritage, the first person of color, and the first women (sic) in 25 years in the District 1 seat,” I was taken aback.
A family history lesson – my grandmother, Clementina Langone, fought for the rights of all immigrants who made their way to this wonderful country; back when Italians ‘need not apply,’ were not welcome, and disparaged. My grandmother put newcomers on the path to citizenship. My grandfather fed anyone who could not eat.
Since this letter was clearly designed as a slight to my ‘Italian heritage’ and to divide our community, I will own it as a badge of honor. By writing this letter, you disparaged generations of families who fought to make this a great, diverse city; a city that cares for its own; that comes together during times of tragedy, mourns when innocent people are attacked, and sends first responders to areas that experience wrenching tragedies.
My son is not looking to make history. He’s looking to make a difference for the great people of District 1 – whether you have been here for five days, five months, 5 years, or 5 generations.
My son has conducted an issue-orientated campaign and not mean spirited rhetoric. This isn’t a one time mistake. This divisive language has become a campaign talking point for the other campaign. Last week, another endorser posted another disparaging comment about Italian-Americans on Facebook.
This letter may be long, but I cannot and will not allow someone to vie to make history by disparaging the long histories and contributions of others. And I will not stand for people trying to divide our neighborhoods for cheap political points. No more.