Florida. The mere mention of the name conjures up images of sandy beaches, sunny blue skies and pristine golf greens. For this Northeasterner based out of Canada (and for many of my fellow Canucks), it is our destination of choice to provide respite from the long, harsh and cold winters (and this past winter was one of the toughest in recent memory). Juan Ponce de León spotted the peninsula on April 2, 1513. According to his chroniclers, he named the region La Florida ("flowery land") because it was then the Easter season, known in Spanish as Pascua Florida (roughly "Flowery Easter"), and because the vegetation was in bloom. Ponce de León may not have been the first European to reach Florida, however; reportedly, at least one indigenous tribesman whom he encountered in Florida in 1513 spoke Spanish. Legend has it that Ponce de León was in search of the Fountain of Youth (a nod, no doubt, to what many have understood to be the restorative effects of the water in Florida).
The National Italian American Bar Association will navigate and explore the Sunshine State this May 15-18, 2014, as we hold the spring meeting of our Board of Directors in Fort Lauderdale. The general membership of NIABA – both inside and outside of Florida – is encouraged to join us and meet with executive members from all regions of the United States and Canada.
While the temptation will be great to lounge by the poolside or read a book under a shady palm tree along the ocean shore, NIABA has work to do and is focused – now more than ever – on ensuring its long-term viability. Our previous meeting in Los Angeles was undoubtedly one of the very best in our organization’s history. We have progressively built on the successful meetings in Montreal and Cleveland, which preceded California. Los Angeles demonstrated to our organization that Italian American jurists are out there in large numbers and are desirous of becoming part of a national organization that binds each member, one to the other, through common heritage and profession.
NIABA is under no illusion that it will find, in Florida, its Fountain of Youth. But in staying the course and committing to growing this organization, NIABA will have discovered something much more appealing: longevity.