Dear Mr. Riggio,
Marching in the Columbus day parade with 100 fellow Italian American authors this past Monday was an honor and a privilege and I felt compelled to write this letter to you in deep gratitude.
I’ve spent the last few years co-hosting and building The Italian American Podcast in an effort to help Italian Americans deepen their heritage and one of the things that I’ve discovered through this podcast is the depth and richness of the community of Italian American authors. It’s one that I wasn’t fully aware of.
Sure, I knew that there were some great Italian American authors and I had read some of their work, but the more people we interviewed for the podcast, the more books written by Italian American authors came across our desks, and to this day I am still in shock. However, you knew about these authors. You’ve known about them for a long time. In fact, you’ve worked with many of them and you’ve helped them get their messages to the American people; and this past week, you took it one step further.
Columbus Day has become controversial and so anything around this day is something that many people in your position would shy away from, however you did quite the opposite. Instead, you took your passion for books and literature and information and you used it to supercharge this special event. You used it to get Italian American authors the recognition that they deserve. You could have picked another topic, you could have shied away from this day, but instead, you embraced it and you put everything you had into it.
Barnes & Noble staff were wearing beautiful black and white t-shirts that exclaimed, “ A Celebration of Italian American Authors.” Your store on 5th Avenue brilliantly displayed the work of Italian Americans authors. Those watching the parade on TV, the first thing they heard about was this celebration of Italian American authors.
On behalf of myself and all of the other Italian American authors who marched this week, I want to thank you for recognizing us and the work that we do. You didn’t have to do this. You could have chosen many other topics, but you didn’t, and for that, we are all grateful.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
Author of Forty Days in Italy Con La Famiglia
P.S. Here are some photos from this inspiring day…