NIAF Lauds CBS-TV SERIES "FIRST MONDAY"
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Elissa Ruffino (NIAF) 202/939-3106 or firstname.lastname@example.org
(WASHINGTON, DC – February 6, 2002) The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) praises the CBS-TV series "First Monday" and producer Donald P. Bellisario for the positive portrayal of Italian Americans through the character of Joe Novelli, newly appointed Supreme Court Justice, played by actor Joseph Mantegna.
"This show projects a positive image of an Italian American in the workplace and at home," said NIAF Chairman Frank J. Guarini. "‘First Monday' is the ‘first' show to shun stereotyping by emphasizing the importance Italian Americans place on heritage and family values. The value of programs like this is not just to provide sensitivity regarding ethnic stereotyping for Italian Americans, but also to demonstrate the need for accurate and positive portrayals of all ethnic groups," added Guarini.
In the episode "Family Affairs" to air Friday, Feb. 8, Justice Novelli exhibits the traditional family values and strong moral character typical of Italian Americans, while the show avoids the mafioso stereotyping so often seen in the media. In Friday's show, Novelli confronts the accusation that a relative might have ties to organized crime. The conflict is resolved with integrity and honesty. The character publicly goes on record to address the accusation and recounts the importance of the sacrifices his hard-working family from Sicily made to help build America. He compares his family to the millions of Americans who are proud to call themselves Italian Americans.
"The positive portrayal of one's heritage, family ties and strong values, which the drama underscores, is a blueprint for the success of our youth," said NIAF President Joseph R. Cerrell. "If you bash, denigrate and stereotype any ethnic group, you weaken their foundation and history," said Cerrell.
The Novelli character helps reinforce the contributions Italian Americans make to this country by portraying an honest, professional, devoted parent and caring husband. The character rejects the philosophy "guilt by association."
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