WASHINGTON—In a continuation of decades of attempts to improve relations for the historically marginalized group, Columbus Day protests once again erupted across the United States Monday as the nation continues to struggle with the darkness of its anti-Italian past. “Unfortunately, ever since Italians have had a presence in America, we have been treated like second-class citizens. No matter how much progress we make, there’s still a strong anti-Italian sentiment in America, and every year, Columbus Day reminds us just how far we still have to go,” said Benedetta Rizzo, current head of the Italian-American Anti-Defamation Society, claiming that the numerous anti-Columbus Day protests around the country demonstrate how Italian-Americans have not yet seen the end of such slurs such as “guido,” “dago,” “guinea,” “wop,” “Tony,” “papist,” “ginso,” “greaser,” or “polenta-eater” and, in many regions, still live in fear of racially motivated attacks. “I remember hearing my parents tell stories of being teased in the school cafeteria for having slices of Italian pizza pie in their lunch boxes. It’s unconscionable that even today, so many people join anti-Italian demonstrations. These are still frightening times for Italian-Americans. There are still people out here who treat us like we’re filthy Irish animals.” Rizzo added that the IAADS would be holding a candlelight vigil later tonight in honor of the Italian-Americans who lost their lives as a result of Columbus Day violence.
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