News Politics

Italians in Chicago Call for Resignation of Ald. Rodríguez Sánchez over Insensitive Tweet

Rossana Rodríguez Sánchez, the alderwoman of Chicago’s 33rd ward, has recently received criticism for a poll posted to her political Twitter page asking people, “What’s the best way to honor Italian Heritage in Chicago?”

In a seemingly mocking fashion, she lists monuments to Italian ices and Bialetti (coffee machine brand), in addition to prompting her audience to write other stereotypical ideas in the comments.

Not only did Twitter users take her up on that offer, but the Chicago politician was expressing her admiration for several of the ridiculous and insulting ideas that followed, such as a Giardiniera fountain, cannoli statue, and the removal of all Columbus statues.

Despite this, there were also a number of comments that expressed disgust with the discussion, such as:

This sentiment was echoed by Ron Onesti, the president of the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans, who stated that “she has flippantly mocked our ethnic group.” He would go on to say that this is the type of thing that would not stand with other ethnic groups but is somehow acceptable when directed at Italian Americans.

“(The tweet) was tasteless, classless, harmful and racist, no doubt about it,” he said. “We can’t believe a leader of our City Council, doesn’t matter what party or what platform she’s from, we can’t believe she would perpetuate this.”

Yet, rather than apologizing for the remarks, Sánchez defended her words by saying that Italian Americans were spinning her “lighthearted tweet” into a “narrative of disrespect.” She added that she “deeply respects Italians, Italian-American history & their role in building our city amid discrimination faced by immigrant & minority communities.” However, Sánchez’s self-proclaimed admiration for the Italian American community stops at the celebration of Columbus Day, the only holiday on the US calendar devoted to honoring our heritage. If Sánchez truly respected our community, she would want to preserve this celebration of our culture, right?

Not quite. In addition to parroting the same misconceptions of Christopher Columbus related to genocide and “white supremacy” as every other one of his detractors, she attempts to use this false narrative as justification to replace the holiday altogether with Indigenous Peoples Day without any holidays meant to celebrate Italian Americans. This can be seen in a separate Twitter rant from last year, where she even states that a “few racist Italians” can put the city’s Columbus statues on their lawns instead of being displayed in public.

Now, as a result of her comments as well as a clear lack of remorse in her so-called “apology,” several Italian American groups are asking Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson to censure the alderwomen in addition to calling for her resignation.

One of these groups is the Italian American Human Relations Foundation. Lou Rago, the organization’s president, believes that her comments were extremely insensitive, stating that “the alderwoman reduced our heritage to food” and that “she marginalized us.”

He continued by noting that “what she is now saying is humorous and lighthearted could not have been used with any other ethnic group in the country without negative feedback. At this stage of the game, an alderwoman should know better.”

While it will be interesting to see if Sánchez faces any negative repercussions, hopefully, the Chicago alderwoman has learned a valuable lesson when it comes to reducing Italian Americans, or any ethnic group for that matter, to harmful stereotypes.


  1. Look, we are Italo/ Americans. Our skin is thicker than theirs. Are legacy is all through the U.S.. We as a people, need to be more stronger than letting a few words hurt our heritage/ culture. I’ve been called all kinds of things being Sicilian/American, even by our own, Calabrese, Neapolitan, Romano, etc brethren. Words are just that. Now, if you put your hands on me, that opens up Pandora’s box. Best way to get back at someone ignorant like her? Don’t vote for her, get her voted out, and replace her with one of our own.

  2. Talk about hypocrisy from this fat myopic bigoted racist. Columbus was as brave as any man could be. Not knowing what was to happen going into unknown waters and fearful as well. He never even set foot on what is the USA. But more importantly this fat bigoted Hispanic and her ancestors, the Spanish conquistadores are the genocidal ones of the so-called indigenous people, some, like the Aztecs, Mayans, practiced infanticide and human sacrifices as well. Please. She is disgusting, a racist, a bigot and it is what happens when bigots like her are allowed to ruin a city like they have in Chicago, NYC, San Francisco, etc. Her ancestors thought their own countries were so wonderful they came tot he USA which was started by brave British and others. The Continents of North and South America are named after an Italian as well, Amerigo Vespucci.

  3. She needs to go. This would be political suicide if it were said against any other group. Even her comments turn it into a culture war. Keep the pressure on.

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