By Gina Castiello
As we approach Memorial Day, I reflect becoming a Gold Star Family member in
2018. Memorial Day is special for our family. In 2005 my nephew lost his life
serving our country in “Operation Enduring Freedom”. He was 19 years old. His
sacrifice was not in vain as freedom is always worth fighting for. As a Reverian with
long and deep family roots here we were humbled when local officials honored Lawrence Salamone by dedicating the gymnasium at the AC Whelan/Susan B. Anthony complex. It was bitter sweet.
It is because of this great sacrifice that as Americans we celebrate freedom. I cant
help but take notice as to how many of our freedoms are being diminished here in
Massachusetts and right here in my own back yard Revere.
My understanding is that no religion is to be discussed in school. Born and raised
Catholic I have learned to incorporate my faith into many aspects of my life. If I
showed up at the school with holy water or a crucifix I would be met with some
concern. Yet right here in Revere I am informed that prayer rugs are being placed in
our public schools to accommodate religious acts of worship for Muslims.
In April 2019 I decided to attend a City Committee Meeting. Tony Zambuto, a long
time City Councilor of Revere was speaking at the podium. I raised my hand to
inquire why it is that Muslims were able to pray in our public schools which are paid for by our tax dollars. I further stated that as Americans we should not allow
this in our schools.
I was met by angry Board members who were not receptive to what I had to say or
that I had exposed this publicly. I was immediately cut off from the camera.
Thankfully someone caught it on camera, But the Revere journal published an article
smearing me as one who went off on an Islamic Tirade.
I had come to discover that it was City Councilor Tony Zambuto that had initiated a
special motion on September 12, 2016 for halal/kosher diet in the Revere public
School District during a city council meeting. Additionally, George Rotondo another
Revere City Councilor also made a motion during a city council meeting on
December 5, 2016 for halal/kosher diet in Revere School District. Both these
meetings can be authenticated.
Troubled by these actions I followed up with Mr. Zambuto as to the pepperoni being
taken off pizza on the school lunch menu and the reason I was provided was because
Islamic people cannot touch pork and that school utensils therefore could not come
in contact with the pork. In my lifetime I never thought I would live to see the day
that in Italian dominated Revere we would ban pepperoni from pizza. Mr. Zambuto claims to suffer from a convenient memory loss regarding this special
motion. In that same spirit when Mr. Rotundo was questioned about his special
motion for halal/kosher, he replied by saying to me a taxpayer and constituent that
“I was rude and ignorant and to seek therapy.”
Like many of my fellow Reverians my grandfather immigrated to America from
Sicily. He and his brothers along with other Sicilian immigrants-built St Lucy’s
Chapel on Washington Ave. Revere, today known as St Mary’s of the Assumption.
For those of you familiar, there is a ball field behind the church. The Archdiocese of
Boston sold the ball field to City of Revere. It is deeply concerning to me that Islamic
prayer took place on this sacred field during Ramadan in 2019. Why so close to our
Catholic Church, where is the respect and tolerance for other long-established
religions such as our Catholic faith here in Revere.
We are in America and we are losing our freedoms due to politically correct elected
officials who forgot the people that elected them. But they do a good job keeping
their public votes private and as a result many Reverians are not aware what is
taking place in our community.