The Italian-American Defense League (IADL) supports education, portrays Italians positively, and preserves cultural traditions. IADL promotes the preservation of Italian-American heritage and customs.
During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the American establishment viewed Italian Americans as foreigners or second-class citizens. White supremacists attacked Italian Americans through lynching, discrimination, and inequitable wage practices. Today, Italian Americans are unfairly portrayed as mobsters, despite endless examples of Italian contributions to the civilized world.
Anti-Italianism persists into the twenty-first century as Christopher Columbus statues are defaced and removed, and as Columbus Day is being eliminated or changed to Indigenous Peoples’ Day, while facts and the Italian-American experience are ignored.
Admiral Christopher Columbus is accused of crimes committed by his political adversaries and governors after him. Columbus never acted unjustly and is the first civil rights activist of the New World by advocating for the rights of Indigenous people. Evidence shows that Columbus wanted to convert Native Americans through teaching, not the sword. By papal law in the fifteenth century, once people converted to Christianity, it was illegal to enslave them. Christopher Columbus was a hero, and that is why the son of Genoa was a chosen historical figure of the American government to embrace Italian immigrants as Americans in response to bias and discrimination.
The Italian-American Defense League is against racism and is a nondiscriminatory organization. IADL supports Indigenous Peoples’ Day, but not in place of Columbus Day. IADL supports multiculturalism and civil rights, but not at the expense of Italian Americans. It stands against discrimination against Italians and Italian Americans as well as discrimination against people of other ethnic or racial groups.
IADL promotes mutual cooperation among its members, reinforces social welfare ideals with community involvement, and preserves the historical significance and achievements of Italians and Italian Americans, and other ethnic groups.
IADL serves as an educational and advocacy group to local, state, or federal authorities and to the private sector on matters of interest to Italians and Italian Americans. It also organizes educational and cultural programs.
Adopted 1/25/2021, Updated 2/16/2021, Updated 12/2/2021