Congressman Tom Suozzi (D-Long Island, Queens, NY) received the prestigious Guglielmo Marconi Award, the Order Sons & Daughters of Italy in America’s (OSDIA) highest honor. The award is named for the Nobel prize-winning Italian physicist who invented wireless telegraphy. It is presented biennially to an Italian American who has made significant contributions to the United States.
The Marconi Gala was held during the Sons & Daughters of Italy’s 56th Biennial National Convention in San Antonio, Texas. Past awardees include Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, Archbishop of Philadelphia; Ella Grasso, Governor of Connecticut; Tom Marino, U.S. Congressman and Astronaut Michael Massimino.
Suozzi spoke of Italian Americans special obligation to fight against discrimination, not only of Italians but all people. “We have been given a great gift in these United States of America and with that gift comes a great obligation to lift others up,” he said.
Congressman Suozzi is one of two first-generation Italian Americans currently serving in Congress. He has been a member of OSDIA’s Loggia Glen Cove #1016 for 28 years. The Congressman’s father, Joseph Suozzi, was born in Ruvo del Monte, a small medieval village in the Province of Potenza, Basilicata. After arriving in the U.S. as a child in the 1920s and despite facing intense prejudice as an Italian, Joseph Suozzi went on to serve his adopted country in World War II, graduated from Harvard Law School and at the age of 28, he became the youngest elected judge in the history of New York State.
OSDIA Lodges and the Sons of Italy Foundation (SIF), award hundreds of thousands of dollars every year to Italian American college-bound students. The SIF also funds cultural programs, medical research and disaster relief, including a donation in the past year of $200,000 in earthquake relief to the Andrea Bocelli Foundation for the rebuilding of an elementary school in Muccia, Italy (Marche region). Proceeds from the Marconi Gala support these OSDIA and SIF programs.