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(This release has correction to family names)
Dr. Alfano is nationally and internationally recognized as a leader in activism and defense of Italian American heritage and culture. This passion for his heritage inspired him to create an organization solely dedicated to that mission. In 1992 he founded IAOVC in an effort to unite Italian American organizations and individuals into a coalition to oppose stereotyping, discrimination and denigration of Italian Americans. He created, compiled and distributed The Alfano Digest, IAOVC’s regular email newsletter, to more than 5,000 individuals and Italian American organizations nationwide. The Digest issues alerts on instances of bias, stereotyping, discrimination and defamation and contains informative and educational Italian American cultural and heritage information.
Dr. Alfano was responsible for creating many IAOVC initiatives and activities and he regularly appeared in media and at events and meetings regarding Italian American issues. It is to be noted that his recent health challenges did not deter him from attending school board meetings in the past few months to oppose the elimination of Columbus Day. And, right up until his last days he was actively involved in continuing his mission to defend Italian American heritage and culture. He truly inspired so many with his untiring commitment to his mission, and has been recognized with a plethora of awards, honors and accolades for his lifelong dedication, commitment and leadership.
“We are so deeply saddened at the passing of a true friend, mentor and incredible leader,” stated Andre’ DiMino, IAOVC Executive Board member. “His passion in defending Italian American heritage and culture is unequaled and is an inspiration for us to preserve his legacy and mission at IAOVC. He will be sorely and very deeply missed.”
Dr. Alfano was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey. His parents, Stefano and Maria (Ditta) Alfano, were Sicilian emigrants. After elementary and high school in Newark, he graduated Seton Hall University with a degree in Physical Education and then taught in the Newark School system for many years. While working as an educator he entered New York Chiropractic College, earned his Chiropractic degree and practiced for many years.
In 1969 Dr. Alfano married Patricia Marinaro and raised a family in Bloomfield, New Jersey. They have three children Stephen (Tracey), Victor (Wynona) and Maria (Sean). They also have six grandchildren: Ashley, Stefano, Alyssa, Gabriella, Sienna and Christian.
Dr. Alfano was extremely active in community and civic activities. He served with the Central Little League in Bloomfield; Civil Rights Commission of Bloomfield; participated in the Township’s Holocaust program and was awarded the Heritage Award by the Township of Bloomfield. He also introduced the World of Difference program into the Bloomfield school system – training teachers to help students deal with defamation and intolerance. He helped organize Bloomfield United We Stand March. He was an active member of UNICO, launched the UNICO ACES youth program and was national Anti-Bias Chair for many years. He was honored in 2002 with UNICO’s highest national award – The Vastola Award.
Thanks to Dr. Alfano’s leadership, over the last 30 years, IAOVC has amassed a significant record in opposing negative stereotypes of Italian Americans. The all-volunteer organization, that began only with his vision and sweat equity, has actively and vigorously fought against the widespread depictions of Italian Americans as mobsters, Mafiosi, bimbos and buffoons ubiquitously seen throughout media.
Funeral arrangements are by Biondi Funeral Home of Nutley, NJ with a funeral mass at St. Thomas Aquinas Church, Bloomfield, NJ on Friday, June 24. The Alfano family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in his memory to the Italian American One Voice Coalition at www.iaovc.org.