BY: Roberto Ferragina M.A., M.A.S.
The Amerigo Vespucci Society (AVS) of Long Branch held its annual memorial service at Holy Trinity Church of Christ the King Parish this past Sunday, May 7th 2023. The event, which has been held for decades, honors the deceased members of this historic organization. The Catholic mass, said in Italian, is followed by a memorial breakfast held at the AVS building on Willow Avenue.
Members and their families gathered at the breakfast to honor the memory of their departed members. AVS member and Long Branch Mayor, John Pallone, attended the event. The AVS has a long history dating back to its founding members in 1875. The organization was originally established as a mutual aid society where Italian men could congregate, escape from discrimination and anti-Italianism that began during the period of large-scale Italian immigration during the late 19th century.
Since that time the society members have made it a priority to assist each other and their families when there was/is no other place to turn. Today, the AVS continues to be a mutual aid society as well as a 501(c)3 organization assisting individuals and organizations in the community and providing educational scholarships. They are active in combating pervasive negative stereotyping and defamation of Italian Americans in the media and promote the extraordinary history and accomplishments of Italians and Italian-Americans. They also promote the admiration, general appreciation and love of Italy, its culture, society, arts and people. The AVS joins other local and national organizations in promoting Italophilia and combating anti-Italianism.