Honoring Luisa Delauro as She Celebrates Her 100Th Birthdayby Representative Rosa L. DeLauro
Posted on 2013-12-16
DeLAURO AS SHE CELEBRATES HER 100TH BIRTHDAY
HON. ROSA L. DeLAURO
in the house of representatives
Monday, December 16, 2013
Ms. DeLAURO. Mr. Speaker, it is always an honor for me to have the
opportunity to rise and recognize the accomplishments of those I so
proudly represent. Today, however, is particularly special as I stand
to pay tribute to my mother, Luisa DeLauro, who will celebrate her
100th birthday this December 24. She is--by any definition--an
whose passion for family and civic service made all the difference in
our lives and in our community.
Born December 24, 1913, at 111 Wooster Street, my mother was one of six children. She grew up in the heart of New Haven's Italian American community and spent most of her childhood in my grandmother's pastry shop, Canestri's. It was in the Wooster Square neighborhood that my mother learned the importance of family, respect, and community. She married my father, Ted, in 1938 and they successfully balanced a life of family and community service. I have vivid memories of my parents sitting with neighbors at our kitchen table--particularly newly immigrated families--and my mother and father doing all they could to help them overcome whatever obstacle they were facing. My mother was no stranger to hard work. When I was growing up, she worked in a sweatshop, sewing shirt collars for pennies Every day she would make me come by after school to see the horrible, cramped conditions. It is something I will never forget. The lesson was clear: work hard. Make something of yourself. Get a good education.
My mother was elected to the Board of Alderman in 1965--a position she held for 35 years and which stands today as the record for the longest serving member of that Board. In her time on the Board, she focused much of her attention on her childhood community--seeing Wooster Square designated as the City's first Historic District, initiating the annual Cherry Blossom Festival, and recognizing distinguished residents and organizations with the honorary naming of streets and corners--but she was also a fierce advocate, particularly for senior citizens and children.
My mother knew the importance of helping people--she understood that politics was an avenue for change. She also understood that women had an obligation to participate in the political process. When I first ran for Congress in 1990, I found an article my mother wrote in the 10th ward Democratic newsletter in 1933, now 80 years ago. Serving as Secretary of the organization at the time, amazingly, she wrote: It is not my intention to be critical, rather my motive in writing this article is to encourage the female members of this organization to take a more active part in its affairs. We are not living in the middle ages when a woman's part in life was merely to serve her master in her home, but we have gradually taken our place in every phase of human endeavor, and even in the here-to-for stronghold of the male sex: politics. I have noticed that the girls, unlike the men, are timid in asserting themselves, and many a good idea is lost, having been suppressed by its creator. Come on girls, let's make ourselves heard.
And so, mom, I want to take this opportunity to say, ``You made yourself heard.'' You continue to make us all proud. Thank you and congratulations on your centennial anniversary. You are your daughter's greatest inspiration.