On March 26th, the front page of The New York Times online edition presented the case of the "Our Lady Of Loreto" church in Brooklyn. Residents have long been fighting the decision of the Diocese to demolish this historical monument, built by Italian immigrants in the early 1900s, in order to build in its place low income housing.
We had published a story in January 2009, suggesting that the NYT look into it more closely. Our article, written by Joey Skee, reviewed the issue giving plenty of historical and cultural detail; it also hinted that the weakness of the local residents' protest could be explained not only in ethnic-political terms (that is, as a sign of weakness of the Italian American community) but also as the consequence of low rates of church attendance by the local Catholics – the majority of whom now are Latinos, Haitian Americans, and others. Over the years, this led to the site’s increasing disuse, which "transformed it into a dead place, a spent memorial to an Italian-American past."
Now that the Italian-American and African-American communities are joining forces in their protest to convert the church into a much needed neighborhood cultural center, we believe that is incumbent on all of us to gather our resources. In so doing, we have decided to re-publish our previous article together with a Facebook message from Senator Diane Savino urging everybody to join the battle.