DeAngelo to be Honored for Service to New Jerey’s Irish Community

(HAMILTON TWP.) – The New Jersey Ancient Order of Hibernians will honor Assemblyman Wayne P. DeAngelo at the organization’s bi-annual state convention Saturday night for his work in opposing the nomination of Thomas Nast for consideration as part of the New Jersey Hall of Fame 2012 induction. The assemblyman opposed the nomination citing concerns raised from the Irish Catholic community regarding anti-Irish imagery portrayed in the political cartoonist’s works.
“It is truly an honor to have the continued support of the Ancient Order of Hibernians and to represent the Irish-Americans of the 14th District and to be a voice for their families in New Jersey,” said DeAngelo. “As someone who is proud of my family’s heritage and the hard-working families like mine, I am deeply appreciative of this award and the recognition for standing up for those who felt that New Jersey’s Hall of Fame was not the place for inflammatory, offensive and prejudicial viewpoints.”
As a result of outrage from the community when Mr. Nast’s inclusion on the nomination list once again, DeAngelo called for his removal noting that our state should not honor individuals who contributed to the popularization of bigotry and prejudice in our country. Mr. Nast’s political cartoons such as the depiction of Uncle Sam, the Democrat Donkey, and the Republicans elephant are often considered racially charged and offensive. For instance, three notable works – The American River Ganges, The Usual Irish Way of Doing Things, and St. Patrick’s Day 1867 – all depict Irish Catholics in a demeaning light. Ultimately, because of the opposition that DeAngelo and the Ancient Order of Hibernians led, Mr. Nast was not inducted into the hall of fame in 2012 and is not included on the list of 2013 nominees.
“Many of my constituents and I were deeply troubled by Mr. Nast’s nomination given disturbing imagery and depiction of Irish Catholics in the 19th Century. I was proud to lend my voice and speak out against any further popularization of bigotry and prejudice that may have been promoted if he was entered into our state’s Hall of Fame,” said DeAngelo.
Following the controversy surrounding the Nast nomination, DeAngelo introduced legislation, Assembly Bill 2779 (A-2779), that would establish a procedure for nominations to the Hall of Fame to ensure greater put input and dialogue as a means of preventing the induction of offensive and inflammatory. The bill calls for public hearings during the inductee nomination process for residents can voice support or opposition to individuals and the relocation of the Hall of Fame to the state’s capital to ensure greater access to the public.
DeAngelo served as the 2011 Grand Marshall of the Hamilton St. Patrick’s Day Parade and was named by Irish Echo as one of the Top 50 Labor Leaders.