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  4. The Rise of Anti-Asian Sentiment

Asian Americans make up around five and a half percent of the U.S. population. And though anti-Asian racism has always existed, the COVID-19 pandemic is believed to be the leading cause behind this spike in anti-Asian sentiment. From online racist posts to real-life hate crimes, the situation of Asians in the Western world (especially in the U.S.) is getting worse and, increasingly, out of control. Asian people are threatened by verbal harassment, workplace discrimination or refusals of service, physical assaults, and many others.

Being a minority group with different cultures and physical aspects, hate and dislike cannot be avoided. In the past, hate and dislike mainly happened online, but recently, while hate speech and racist behavior online increased, it also set the stage for real-life violence.

The virus was first identified in December 2019 in China, with the first outbreak occurring in Wuhan. Though it is not known precisely where the first case originated--China has speculated that it may have originated somewhere else--many people believe the virus started in China.

As Covid-19 began to spread at the beginning of 2020, former U.S. President Trump attacked China and politicized it, referring to it as the “China virus.” Conspiracy theories abounded. Many said it came from a wet market; others claimed it had been produced in a lab. Asians became the new “boogeymen,” viewed as carriers and spreaders of the virus. Within weeks and months of this official vitriol, the situation of Asians in the West, especially in the U.S., worsened: racist attacks online increased in severity; Asians were threatened with verbal abuse on the street; harassed in the workplace, discriminated against, refused service, and assaulted physically. And now, Asians have increasingly become the victims of deadly violence.

So, who’s to blame for this surge in anti-Asian rhetoric? Some have directly blamed former President Trump for appealing to Americans’ fear of “the other” as he continually accused China as the source of America’s woes. As Trump stirred the pot, the world witnessed his ability to appeal to the mob mentality of his supporter base, inciting them to violence on January 6, 2021. Trump successfully tapped into a fear of the other that has always existed in America and exists, on a certain level, in all of us. Trump is the first U.S. President to tap into this innate fear and use it to cause emotional and physical harm against Asians and other groups, such as the Democrats, who he accused of “stealing” the 2020 election. 

Some say that Asians are easy targets for these kinds of attacks because they historically have responded with quiet dignity in the face of microaggressions and anti-Asian comments. Spreading awareness is essential for stopping violence. When people become aware of the situation, they can make sure that their actions do not contribute to the spread of hate and even participate actively in helping to stop it.

I can understand that people are frustrated and very sad about the pandemic and all the number of cases and deaths and want to release the pain and anger on someone, but that is not the reason for violence. First, thinking only about the facts, though the first outbreak of the virus was in China, its origin is still unknown; because of globalization and the convenience of traveling, the actual first case could have come from anywhere. Second, the virus first spread to the Asian countries and then to the rest of the world, so while the Western countries are experiencing the full blast virus, countries in Asia have already contained it. It is not as if the virus only affects a particular group of people.

Being Asian and living in Europe, I have experienced discrimination because of my race. Learning about the violence happening to Asians in the U.S. makes me feel sad and angry. We are also victims of the pandemic; we also experienced loved ones dying because of the virus; in front of the virus, all races are equal, but why do Asians have to become a punching bag? Is it because we were able to contain it before other countries were able to? That is simply because we were affected before you did. Or is it because the world needs someone to blame, and we were just in front of the muzzle?

Not enough is being done to stop the hate and violence, and more action should be taken by the government. Not just because right now, people should focus on getting everyone vaccinated and putting somewhat of an end to this pandemic, but more importantly, making people understand that these actions should not be done to anyone. COVID-19 is killing so many people; we should be grateful that we are alive during this pandemic, and we should see how valuable life is and not hurt and kill even more people because of incorrect beliefs.

If you do not want to be treated a certain way, you should not treat others in that way, a concept that the Chinese philosopher Confucius taught. We should all keep this in mind before doing anything that could harm someone else.   

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Chapter 1: The World Around Us | A Comment on Our Times, Cortile 2021 Highlights

Revenge of the Fringe

Is internet culture driving America to extremes?

In December of 2020, historians in The Washington Post weighed in on whether 2020 was the worst year ever. Materially, the answer is clear: even in a year of tumult, we live in an era of superabundance. Since the turn of the last century, Americans have added decades to our lifespans, easy-to-source food to our tables, and secured health outcomes that, even in a bad year, remain better than anything our ancestors enjoyed.

By Jen Hollis - Former Teacher of IB History, St. Stephen’s School
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Chapter 1: The World Around Us | Student Perspectives on Social Justice, Cortile 2021 Highlights

Understanding the Origins of BLM and the World’s Outrage Over George Floyd’s Death

"I continue to be surprised at how little Black lives matter... Our lives matter."

- Patrisse Cullors, Founding Member, BLM

By Tatiana Lima '15
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Chapter 1: The World Around Us | Student Perspectives on Social Justice

Opinion: George Floyd’s Killing and the Black Lives Matter Protests Against Police Brutality

On May 25th, 2020, George Floyd was arrested and killed by Minneapolis Police after being accused of stealing from a store. Outrage followed when footage of the arrest revealed one of the officers--Derek Chauvin--placing his knee on Floyd’s neck during the arrest for eight minutes and forty-six seconds and ignoring Floyd’s desperate pleas of “I can’t breathe… I can’t breathe…” 

By Sofia Ghilas '21
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Chapter 1: The World Around Us | Student Perspectives on Social Justice

Opinion: The Rise of Anti-Asian Sentiment

After the recent fatal shooting of six women of Asian descent in Atlanta, Georgia, last month, there is increasing alarm about the proliferation of anti-Asian racist memes, posts, and other online activities that may have set the stage for real-life violence.

By Lixuan Du ‘23
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Chapter 1: The World Around Us | The Pandemic

Bloom Where You Are Planted: How and Why We Persisted During Covid

“They won’t let you board the plane?” I responded on my mobile phone, rubbing sleepy sand out of my eyes. It was 6 AM on a Sunday in February 2020, and half of our school was at the airport – or soon to be -- for Spring Trips, heading out to destinations like Oman and Morocco (the other trips had gotten out the day before).  So began my intimate relationship with the virus. Though we had been tracking the virus for weeks prior, that moment is the moment it all really began for me.  (And, yes, those trip participants literally pulled their bags off the airline conveyor belts, redialed the rental van, and returned, despondent, to their homes in Rome.)

By Eric Mayer - Head of School
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Chapter 1: The World Around Us | The Pandemic

Reopening After a School Closure and Lessons Learned from the Pandemic

Dateline: 25 January, 2020

On January 18th, St. Stephen’s students and teachers returned to the classroom for the first time since late October. At 8 am on Monday, a line of excited students wound its way down Via Aventina, each student waiting their turn for morning temperature checks. All around them, teachers weaved in and out of the line, stopping to greet groups of students and remark on how surreal it felt to be back.

By Vittoria Giusti ‘22, Natalie Edwards '14 - City of Rome I, Core 9 Teacher and Alumni Relations Office
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Chapter 1: The World Around Us | The Pandemic

At War With an Invisible Enemy

The Covid-19 pandemic has been one of the most challenging issues the world has collectively faced in recent history. We are essentially waging war against a silent enemy--one who has no national borders, knows no social bounds, political systems, nor cultural norms or values. This silent enemy of ours has inflicted harm on whoever crosses its path, upending life as we have come to know it, surreptitiously taking lives, decimating industries, and destabilizing the world economy.

By Xara Al Said ‘23
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Chapter 1: The World Around Us | The Pandemic

The Disproportional Impact of Covid on Black Americans

 Last year, as we watched the United States attempt to tackle the Covid-19 virus with mixed messages from the former President, spotty stay-at-home orders, at will mask-wearing, and widespread Covid testing, we observed a great divide between those catching the virus and recovering and those catching the virus and dying.

By Tanesha Alexander - Assistant Librarian, EAP Teacher, and DEI representative
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Chapter 1: The World Around Us | Student Perspectives on Social Media and Bullying

Teens and Bullying

Bullying occurs a lot more than one would expect. Injuries, abuses, humiliations, threats, teachers offended while the class videotapes them, kids kicked, teenagers arrested for serious acts against peers.

By Emma Jansen ‘24
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Chapter 1: The World Around Us | Student Perspectives on Social Media and Bullying

A Social Media Guide for Teens

The use of social media has become an inevitability of modern-day life. Whether you’re following your school’s Facebook account, chatting with your family on Whatsapp, or sending your friends pictures on Instagram.

By Sofia Ghilas '21
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Chapter 1: The World Around Us | Service

In the Spirit of Service

“The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope; you will fill yourself with hope.”
― Barack Obama

By Dr. Helen Pope - Former Director of The Lyceum, Classics Department Chair and Teacher of Latin, St. Stephen’s School
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Chapter 2: Our Life Online | What Students Are Watching

Film review: Judas and the Black Messiah (2021)

IMDB Rating: 7.6

‘You can kill a revolutionary, but you can never kill the revolution.’ Words from the great activist for black rights, Fred Hampton was the chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party from 1966 to 1969.

By Luca Vanderson '22
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Chapter 2: Our Life Online | What Students Are Watching

Film Review: What We Started

What We Started on Netflix is a beautiful documentary about the history of electronic music that follows its origins from the early 1970s until today. The film explores the genre through interviews with DJs and music producers.

By Matteo Scarfini ‘24
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Chapter 2: Our Life Online | What Students Are Watching

Film Review: Seaspiracy

The newly released Netflix documentary, Seaspiracy, explores the damage the fishing industry is causing the blue planet.

By Gustav Franklin ‘21
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Chapter 2: Our Life Online | What Students Are Watching

Gone with the Wind: A Film Review for Our Times

I saw this film for the first time three years ago, and it is one of those movies that you cannot only watch; you have to think and read and write about it to understand it and its impact on you.

By Benedetta Bosco ‘22
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Chapter 2: Our Life Online | What Students Are Watching

Film Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a coming-of-age drama film directed by Stephen Chbosky, starring globally known actors Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, and Ezra Miller, and was released in 2012.

By Anita D’Alisera ‘21
favorite online
Chapter 2: Our Life Online | What Students Are Watching | Digital St. Stephen's

Our Favorite Online Events

This past year has challenged us to move our events online, from Zoom olive oil and wine tastings that transported us to the Tuscan countryside to gallery openings that brought us to the heart of the New York City and Roman art scene; we have made the best of this pandemic, seizing it as an opportunity to experiment with new mediums and new activities.

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Chapter 3: Creative Writing | Creative Writing

PAndemiNK

As the school's only student-run literary and artistic magazine, INK provides the grounding for your creativity to thrive.

By The INK Team
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Chapter 3: Creative Writing | Creative Writing

A Selection of Creative Writing

You’ve probably seen that meme: a child in a big armchair, cozily reading a book. All around her head are thought bubbles full of knights and dragons, maps and mountains, ships and seas. And below, the caption: “Reading Takes You Places.”

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Chapter 4: Departments | The Lyceum

New Initiatives at the Lyceum Take Off During the Pandemic

"All men by nature desire to know." (Aristotle, Metaphysics 1.980a22).

Nevermore than during the last seventeen months did these words from Aristotle ring true for me. We are so fortunate that through the Lyceum, we are able to create special opportunities for our students to learn about the ancient world, whether it’s through weekend trips and lectures or by inviting scholars, writers, and poets who through their workshops, lectures and readings enhance our classes and broaden our students' horizons.

By Inge Weustink - Director of the Lyceum, Classics Teacher
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Chapter 4: Departments | Exploring City of Rome II Class

Exploring the New City of Rome 2 Class

Between 1400 and 1700, Rome was reborn as a global city, capital of a growing world ‘empire,’ so to speak, for the first time since antiquity. The city today owes much of its historical appeal, its most eye-catching artworks, and monuments, to this, the Early Modern era (c.1400-1700 CE).

By Dr. Rebecca Raynor - Art History, Dr. Paul Treherne - History
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Chapter 5: The Arts

The Arts

This year our students have embraced the digital world, moving their drama and art shows online.

Image: Credit in here mentioning that the art work was selected for the cover

NicolaFormichetti
Chapter 6. Alumni Spotlight | Alumni Spotlight Interview, Cortile 2021 Highlights

Nicola Formichetti ‘96

Fashion Designer / Stylist / Creative Director

By Natalie Edwards '14 - City of Rome I, Core 9 Teacher and Alumni Relations Office
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Chapter 6. Alumni Spotlight | Alumni Spotlight Interview

Margherita Stancati ‘03

The Wall Street Journal reporter

By Natalie Edwards '14 - City of Rome I, Core 9 Teacher and Alumni Relations Office
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Chapter 6. Alumni Spotlight | Alumni Spotlight Interview

Galen Druke ‘08

Host and Producer at FiveThirtyEight.

By Natalie Edwards '14 - City of Rome I, Core 9 Teacher and Alumni Relations Office
Diva Tommei.Photo credits Ilaria Magliocchetti
Chapter 6. Alumni Spotlight | Alumni Spotlight Interview

Diva Tommei ‘02

Investment Director Information Technology ICT at ENEA Teach

By Natalie Edwards '14 - City of Rome I, Core 9 Teacher and Alumni Relations Office
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Chapter 6. Alumni Spotlight | Alumni Spotlight Interview

Elizabeth Blackwell ‘86

Author

By Natalie Edwards '14 - City of Rome I, Core 9 Teacher and Alumni Relations Office
Rachel Sadoff
Chapter 6. Alumni Spotlight | Alumni Spotlight Interview

Rachel Sadoff ‘15

MA Candidate in Public Health at Columbia University

By Natalie Edwards '14 - City of Rome I, Core 9 Teacher and Alumni Relations Office
Healthy Campus team
Chapter 6. Alumni Spotlight | Alumni Spotlight

Alumni serve as our Healthy Campus Team

With Italy’s many COVID restrictions, we’ve needed additional staff to greet and temperature check arriving students, walk the campus for compliance, assist classes if the teacher is working remotely but the students are here, and various other activities to keep us safe.  To our great fortune, four alumni came forward to help us for the year: Michael Alonzi (2013), Tatiana Lima (2015), David Rosales (2016), and Alessandro Cosmo (2017). We asked about the experience, and they had this to say…

By Eric Mayer - Head of School
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Chapter 6. Alumni Spotlight | Digital Alumni

Alumni Events Online

From alumni trivia and virtual reunions to happy hours and afternoon coffee breaks, our digital alumni events have enabled us to bring together alumni and current and former faculty members from around the world.