Medgar Evers College to Host Inaugural Celebration of Italian Heritage

On Wednesday, October 23, 2013, Medgar Evers College (MEC) will host its inaugural “Celebration of Italian Heritage.”  In 1970, then Chancellor Robert Kibbee instituted an Italian American Faculty and Staff Advisory Council at each of the CUNY colleges.  The Council continues to advocate on concerns and issues affecting CUNY’s Italian American community.

In keeping with these traditions, MEC is hosting a day that will begin with a special screening of the Italian cinema classic Cinema Paradiso by Director Giuseppe Tornatore.  Cinema Paradiso chronicles the life of a small boy – Salvatore, as he grows to manhood under the mentorship of Alfredo – a projectionist at the local movie theatre – Cinema Paradiso.  The two share a life-long love of movies that propels Salvatore to pursue his destiny and become a famous film director.  Cinema Paradiso, won the Special Jury Prize at the 1989 Cannes Film Festival and the 1989 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.

The day will also provide an opportunity to discuss the evolving relationship between Black and Italian communities in Brooklyn, with a special screening and panel discussion of Director Spike Lee’s – Do The Right Thing – on the cusp of the film’s 25th year anniversary.

Do The Right Thing, is a 1989 film that tells the story of a Brooklyn neighborhood’s simmering racial tensions, which tragically comes to a head on the hottest day of the summer.  In 1999 the film was deemed to be culturally significant by the U.S. Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

The panel will be moderated by Attorney Sylvia Gail Kinard, Chief Diversity Officer of Medgar Evers College and will discuss the topic: “Doing the Right Thing? Black & Italian Communities in a Post-Racial Brooklyn.”  A VIP reception showcasing Italian foods, wines and live entertainment, will conclude the day’s events.

About Medgar Evers College

Located in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, Medgar Evers College is a growing institution offering both Associate and Baccalaureate degrees.  The nearly 7,000-member student body is primarily comprised of those who are the first in their families to attend college.  A senior college within The City University of New York (CUNY) system, Medgar Evers College was established in 1970 with a mandate to meet the educational and social needs of the Central Brooklyn community.  With a commitment to students who desire a sound academic foundation as well as an opportunity for personal development, Medgar Evers College seeks to provide high-quality, professional, career-oriented undergraduate degree programs in the context of a liberal arts education.  For more information, visit


Contact:  Jamilah Fraser (347) 563-1018