The following is a press release from the offices of Assemblyman William Colton:
Assembly Member William Colton (47th Assembly District – Brooklyn) will be one of four grand marshals for Brooklyn’s 33rd Annual Columbus Day parade. The parade will take place on Saturday, October 11th at 1:00pm on 18th Avenue (also known as Cristoforo Columbo Boulevard) from 63rd Street to 85th Street in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. The parade will be preceded by a celebratory Mass at St. Athanasius Roman Catholic Church at 10:15 am on the day of the parade.
The other three grand marshals include Council Member Vincent Gentile (43rd Council District), Monsignor Jamie Gigantiello (Director of the office of Parish Giving, Vicar for Development, & Pastor of St. Bernard’s Church), and Regina Scire (Vice President of Market Manager Investors Bank). The Grand Marshals were chosen for being outstanding individuals whose achievements and contributions to society exemplify those traits which the FIAO values. The FIAO also believes that the Grand Marshals serve as positive role models for our youth.
The FIAO’s Brooklyn Columbus Parade Committee stated that it chose Colton as for the honor because of his “outstanding commitment to the community and support of the local organizations that make Brooklyn thrive.” The FIAO further declared Colton as an “outstanding leader in the New York State Legislature” whose “advocacy and legislation in the Assembly has supported the needs of tens of thousands of Brooklyn residents across all communities and culture.” They continued, stating that the Assembly Member’s “extraordinary leadership and contributions to the communities” has made “a true different in the lives of residents” in southwest Brooklyn.
Each year the Federation of Italian-American Organizations (FIAO), along with numerous other organizations, sponsors the Brooklyn Columbus Day Parade. The parade celebrates the rich contributions and the dynamic vibrancy brought to our society by Italian-Americans. In addition, the Brooklyn Columbus Day Parade instills a true pride in our identity as Italian-Americans as well as fosters brother-hood among the many ethnic groups in our community.
This year’s parade is very important because the FIAO will open Il Centro – New York City’s first Italian-American Cultural Community Center later this fall. This 44,000 square foot, six story facility will house event space, classrooms, an interactive learning library, a fitness center, gymnasium and pool, and expand the work of the Federation’s services to incorporate language, culinary, arts, writing, job training and economic development programs.
The neighborhood of Bensonhurst, in Brooklyn, has been home to a large population of Italian-Americans for over fifty years.
Assembly Member William Colton was born and raised in Bensonhurst, attending St. Athanasius School as a child and being an active parishioner in St. Athanasius Church. His Italian heritage stems from his maternal grandparents, who immigrated to the United States from Naples, Italy in the early twentieth century. His father was an Irish-American. Colton has been a lawyer and community activist in the Bensonhurst community for over twenty years before being elected to the State Assembly in 1996. He also was a New York City public school teacher and UFT Chapter Chairperson before becoming an elected official.
On Sunday, October 5th, The FIAO honored Assembly Member Colton and the other parade Grand Marshals at their annual Columbus Day Parade Funding Raising Brunch. The event was held at the Dyker Beach Golf Course.
Colton asserted, “I am extremely honored and humbled to have been selected by the FIAO to be one of the Grand Marshalls for the 33rd Annual Brooklyn Columbus Day Parade. I credit my grandparents who immigrated to this great country from Naples in the early 1900’s for providing me with the faith, the moral values and the traditions which makes this possible. My Italian heritage is important to me, as I work to serve and fight for the people of southwest Brooklyn. I thank the FIAO for this tremendous honor.”