A New Italian American Podcast
EMMA: My main goal, something that we are struggling with in the Order of the Son and Daughters of Italy in America, is drawing interest from the younger generation. You know, we are so busy these days; we have our phone, and our phone, and our phone. Phone on our headphone, phone in our hands, phone in our pockets. We go to the gym, and we have our phone. I was kind of, more or less, inspired by another podcast called “The Italian American Podcast”, which is run by several Italian Americans out of the Brooklyn area. I’ll let everybody to take a look into that. I said, okay, if they had this widespread outreach, and they talk about popular culture, historical moments, etc., why can’t I do that, to focus on Northeast Ohio Italian Americans? We have a strong and powerful story to tell ourselves, and we have a new generation as well, much like myself is mixed, what does this mixed generation mean and experience? What is it like to be Italian Americans? So, that has been my goal with that. Each podcast will have a different theme. My most recent episode was with Dr. Mary Kovach and her cugine in la cucina. They are cousins and they created the cookbook, Don’t Cut the Basil. It was a wonderful interview that I had the ability to have with them, and if anyone would like to listen to that is the Ben D. Marconi Lodge “More than Pasta” Podcast. I got connected with Dr. Mary Kovach because I reached out. I wanted to try and get some ideas on how to reinvigorate and make a younger generation more interested in their Italian heritage. I talked with her about my idea of the podcast, which I took from the Italian American Podcast, which is done in Brooklyn by Rossella Raga and several of her co-workers. If they had the ability to outreach to this part of Ohio, and possibly throughout the United States, what can I do to tell the story of the Italian Americans in Northeast Ohio? We have a story to tell too, and it’s just as interesting as New Yorker Italians. What about our story? I play on a weekly bocce league with Italians here in Stark County, and I’ve learned a lot about Italians playing with some of these ladies. We have a lady from Messina, Sicily, we have a lot of ladies from Sant’Andrea, which is in the Campania region, quite a few ladies from Passalto which is in the Molise region as well, so we have a huge mix. We get together, we share recipes, and that’s a lot of what I have experienced recently with their recipes and cultural experiences. How about I tell our story too? Why did they come to Northeast Ohio, because again, people think: “Northeast Ohio, why there? There is no Italian heritage.” There is, you just have to dig deeper. I want to tell those stories, and also they have grandchildren as well. What do they want their culture and their heritage look like going forward on top of it? Many of my friends now have been looking into the ability of getting dual citizenship on top of it, because Italy has what it’s called ius sanguinis, which is, citizenship by blood if you can prove that it hasn’t been broken. That’s one of the topics I want to focus on the podcast as well. It’s one of those new things. It’s not like I want to move in the village and go there, but I want to have the ability of going back when I want to, or to experience things in that manner. That’s what we want in my generation. We want to go back and understand why our relatives left. What is our story, and how did we get to this point? I’m not just Emma, I have a story of my ancestors that are reaching through the generations to carry me forward as well. And that’s what part of the reasons I wanted to create the podcast: to hold on with those moments and also to say: “Hey, we have a story to tell, we have a culture here, let’s take the time to discover this culture, and it is more than Olive Garden, Pizza Hut and Papa John’s. We need to tell our story, and that’s one of the reasons why I wanted to create the podcast.