The purposes of Italian-American Heritage Month are educational and celebratory. Our goal is to inform the public about the contributions made by Italians and Italian-Americans to our civilization, especially in the arts, the humanities and the sciences, and to celebrate the impact that Italian culture and language have had and continue to have on our lives as Italian-Americans.
These purposes are realized by encouraging and supporting events and activities throughout the year, but principally during the month of October, that bring people of goodwill together to gain a greater appreciation for the roles played by Italians and Italian-Americans in shaping our civilization.
We view culture in its broadest sense to include an appreciation of the significance and value of the Italian and Latin languages, Italian and Italian-American history, art, architecture, agriculture, cuisine, fashion, film, government, industry, literature, music, religion, science, sport, and all those other aspects of life we view as part of culture. We also will endeavor to bring new perspectives to the lives and times of notable persons of Italian ancestry throughout the ages.
We are committed to be fair and accurate in our portrayals of peoples and events. We appreciate that in many cases persons of Italian or Italian-American ancestry who acquired great power, influence or wealth caused harm and anguish to others. We also take great pride in the knowledge that without the contributions of Italians and Italian-Americans the world as we know it might not exist, and our cultural life would be immeasurably poorer. And, we recognize that in many cases, especially with respect to certain historical figures, uncertainty exists about what judgment should be made about their conduct or the ideas they espoused. We believe that in all cases freedom of thought and expression must be respected, and we encourage vigorous debate about such matters.
In view of our purposes, we have a special obligation to encourage young people to participate in these events and activities because an awareness of cultural differences is an integral part of the educational process, and vital to an understanding that respect for the differences between individuals and groups is the bond that holds our society together. Thus, we believe that the observance of Italian-American Heritage Month must be inclusive of all members of the community, and that the celebration of our cultural identity will serve to reaffirm the importance of celebrating the cultural identities of all other people.