C.I.A.O. was founded in 2020. The same year a pandemic ravaged our planet, we witnessed weeks of civil unrest thanks to the action and mobilization of BIPOC activists and BLM protesters. There, alone in our homes for the umpteenth week, we were collectively forced to reckon with countless enlightening moments we had borne witness to, whose teachings many felt we could no longer escape. We were forced to reckon with what it means to enable toxic cultures; we were forced to reckon with our accountability in propping up racist systems, unintentionally. The legacies of late-stage capitalism, racism, ableism, misogyny, transphobia, and the many ways in which the Italian community has benefitted from the oppression of marginalized groups became central to conversations about our identity and collective memory.
We came together to reclaim our culture from what we saw as an infiltration of colonial white supremacy, and its insidious influence on the assimilation of our immigrant families. We feel many have disconnected from our culture because of the normalization of conservatism in prominent Italian circles. Our approach to our heritage and our relationship with the diaspora is broad, flexible, anti-capitalist, and hopes to inspire a flourishing safe space for other Italians who feel a similar unhappiness with the state of the community.
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We have administrative overhead and occasional fees, and accept donations so that we may be able to continue operations both big and small. However, we encourage you to head over to our Links page to get acquainted with other organizations who may need more urgent donations, and who may similarly inspire you to get active in your community.