President Obama Speaks To 2,000 Italian-Americans At NIAF Gala

by Sophie Pyle · November 2, 2011

President Barack Obama was the headlining speaker at the National American-Italian Foundation Gala on Saturday at the Washington Hilton. He spoke about the history of the U.S. Italian-American community offered lessons on how to regard the struggles of today's immigrants.

[Natasha Borato, Nick Massella; Alex Chiaro and Maria Luisa Bello of Commissione Giovani]

Obama praised the contribution of Italian Americans in the United States--but reminded the gathering of more than 2,000 Italian Americans that Italians weren't always welcome in the U.S. He said those who now feel comfortable in their American identity should remember that when thinking about today's immigrants.

[Nancy Pelosi, Mike Nieto; Nieto with Frankie Avalon]

The annual event attracts some of the nation's top political and entertainment luminaries of Italian descent.

He joked he wasn't lucky enough to have Italian ancestry. "So all I've got to offer is a last name that ends in a vowel," he said.

Images courtesy NIAF and Nick Massella