E Pluribus Unum: The Italian Immigrant Experience in New Jersey

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An informative session about the largest group of immigrants to New Jersey. Gay Talese, Author and legendary former New York Times journalist, Illinois Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will share his own personal story.

The New Jersey Italian American Commission is pleased to announce the first Esperienze Series, "THE BRIDGE: The Italian Immigrant Experience" an informative half-day event tracing the evolution of Italian immigration from the early 1880's to the present, with insights into their contributions and experiences. The event will take place on Saturday, November 6, 2010 from 8:30 am to 12:00 noon, at the Two River Theater, 21 Bridge Avenue, Red Bank, NJ, and will feature renowned journalist and Ocean City, NJ, native, Gay Talese, as the key note speaker. Tickets are $30 and include a copy of Talese's book "Unto the Sons."

The event, significantly themed "the Bridge," will include interactive presentations and shed light on the history of the millions who left Italy over the past century, bridging the old world with the new. The knowledge of past and present and the contributions and accomplishments of Italians, both before and after Italy's unification in 1861, give a foundation for understanding how Italian Americans helped shape the new world and New Jersey. This immigrant group, one of the largest at the turn of the century in New Jersey, represents a model of how America, as the world's oldest flourishing democracy was being built on the love, sweat and tears of its immigrant ethnic peoples.

Also acting as a generational " Bridge," the event will include a youth component to the program as students from Palisades Park high School present their work on the immigrant experience and contemporary culture.

Key note speaker Gay Talese, is a legendary journalist who has written for The New York Times, Esquire, The New Yorker, Harpers Bazaar, and has authored numerous books. His most famous articles are about Joe DiMaggio, Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra and he is credited with redefining journalism with his inventive form of nonfiction writing called "The New Journalism." In his presentation, Talese will describe the relationship with his father, an immigrant to New Jersey, as described in his book Unto the Sons. Talese is currently consulting with actor-director Stanley Tucci on the HBO series that will be based on this 1992 bestseller.

"We wanted to anticipate the celebrations of the 150th anniversary of Italian Unification, by tracing back its history and its ties to our State," says Richard Bilotti, Chairman Emeritus of the Italian American Heritage Commission and Chairman of The Bridge event. "We are honored to have Gay Talese, an iconic journalist and positive contributor to American culture, share his personal experience and history. Italians account for 25% of New Jersey's population, which should entice us to learn more about our ethnic group. Red Bank is the perfect setting to balance this educational event with an enjoyable afternoon on the famous shore."

The presentation is proudly organized by The New Jersey Italian American Commission and per NJ DOE this conference qualifies as four Professional Development Hours toward the 100 hour Teacher requirement.

The Commission, through public and privately sponsored resources and programs, raises public awareness of the rich and varied culture, positive achievements and traditions of Italy, the Italian people, and Italian Americans who have contributed to American, western and world civilization. These activities are designed to enhance and develop better understanding and appreciation for both youth and adult Italian Americans and the public at large with regard to the global experiences of Italians and Italian Americans. They spread the message of respect and appreciation for Italian heritage and culture to the general public in New Jersey.

At the end of the event, participants will each receive a goody-bag with savings certificates for local restaurants and stores in Red Bank. For additional information and reservations, please visit njitalia.nj.gov or for tickets please contact http://www.trtc.org or call 732 345 1400 (ext. 2)

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