NIAF Receives Positive Responses from New York Times Ad


Contact:   Elissa Ruffino (NIAF) 202/939-3106 or

“Great American Roccos and Their Cousins” Addresses Stereotyping of Italian Americans

(Washington, D.C. — July 8, 2008) The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) received numerous positive responses to a Foundation-sponsored advertisement that appeared in The New York Times on Monday, July 7, 2008. The ad, entitled, “Great American Roccos and Their Cousins,” authored by NIAF Chairman Dr. A. Kenneth Ciongoli and signed by several members of the NIAF Board of Directors, addresses recent stereotypical comments about Italian Americans by NBC Sports announcer Johnny Miller and, in context, highlights the significant contributions of Italian Americans to our nation.

NIAF continues to receive e-mails and phone calls from Italian Americans and others across America who support our message that the perpetuation of negative stereotypes and demeaning language hurts society as a whole. A Holocaust survivor shared heartfelt remarks about Italians who helped him flee Fascist Italy during World War II. Thank-you notes expressed appreciation for defending the good name of professional golfer Rocco Mediate. Others wrote about how unfortunate it is that stereotyping still exists in 2008 and decried the double standard when it comes to stereotyping people of European decent.

“This ad sends a powerful message. It celebrates the many contributions of Italian Americans, but reflects upon the damaging and demeaning stereotypes that continue to plague an entire ethnic group in the media and in society,” Dr. Ciongoli said.

NIAF promotes an inclusive society and condemns stereotyping of all ethnic, racial and religious groups. To view the NIAF advertisement,

NIAF is a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., dedicated to preserving the heritage of Italian Americans. To learn about our programs/events, visit