What's up with WTI: Editorial # 147

Jan 22, 2022 682

Ciao from Rome! As every January, the yearbook of We the Italians is available with the 24 interviews of the past year, both in Italian and English. This is our eighth book: one in English, one in Italian, and six yearbooks like this one, in two languages.

Dear friends, I am writing this editorial in the days when the Italian Parliament elects the new President of the Republic. I explained in a video by We the ItaliaNews the procedures involved in this important appointment and the reasons why this year in particular, due to a series of institutional and other coincidences, the outcome of this election is particularly delicate and unpredictable.

Whoever is elected to the Quirinale, with this cover and with the publication of his last speech at the end of the year, all of us at We the Italians want to pay homage and thank President Sergio Mattarella, who has led Italy over the last seven difficult years with skill, patience, charisma and love for our country. It is one of those occasions in which the name We the Italians is particularly justified, because the vast majority of Italians think as we do. Thank you President Mattarella.

In 2021 we interviewed 25 people, friends of We the Italians, who gave us 24 different points of view on 24 different topics of the relationship between Italy and the United States. These are the topics you'll find in this yearbook: the Italian who built Mount Rushmore; a town called Little Italy in Arkansas; an Italian poet in Queens, New York; why Italy means gratitude and pasta; a museum of Italian emigration in Washington DC; an association to represent the Italian Americans in the show business; the Americans who gather together in Rome; the Italian American soldiers in World War II movies; the Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations; a young Italian American investing in Italian soccer; the Italian community in Colorado; an award winning Italian chef in the US; Amerigo, promoting the friendship between Italy and the US; teaching Italian language and culture in New Hampshire; the 100th anniversary of the Colombo Club in California; the tour of the Century of Arturo Toscanini in America; Sicilians, race and citizenship in the South East of the US; the 9/11 of the Italian Americans 20 years after; an incredible Italian scientist at Fermilab in Chicago; the new National Italian American Foundation; Celebrating the talent and the Italian heritage of Mario Lanza in Philadelphia; the contribution of the bijoux made by Italian American immigrants to the beautification of America; the Italian community in Vermont; an exclusive chat with the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Our guests included 14 men and 11 women in 24 interviews. Six of our guests live in Italy, 19 in the United States. They all share a love for Italy and the United States. We want to thank all the interviewees who made this possible, and all of you who will want to buy the book, here.

We would like to share with you some numbers regarding our 2021, in addition to the interviews. During 2021 we published on our website 6,712 news items (2,989 of these were positive things about Italy, the others about something Italian in the United States); 215 articles in the 12 issues of our Magazine; an yearbook (with the 2020 interviews) in print and digital formats; 112 videos and audio podcasts. Our archive of websites about nonprofit organizations, groups, departments, festivals, museums, associations, and foundations celebrating something Italian in the United States contains 1,498 records. During 2021, we sent out 1,701,143 newsletters: with 12 months, 9 areas and many of you subscribing to more than one, this is the final number. We surpassed 54,000 likes on our Facebook page. We have a LinkedIn group with 1,476 members (we are waiting for you, come join us) and now even a LinkedIn page. We are also on Twitter (1,579 followers), Instagram (4,739 followers) and YouTube (510 subscribers to our channel), and in 2021 we even opened up a Tik Tok account. During 2021, for obvious reasons, there were just three in-person event we attended, and only in Italy; but we also participated in three virtual events, all documented in the Events section of our website. It has been a very difficult year for everyone, but once again ... we are just getting started.

Our We the Italians’ family keeps growing, and we have three new Ambassadors in three States: we’re at 42 States out of 50+1 (Washington DC). The States where we don’t have an Ambassador yet are: Alaska, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. If you know someone who would be a perfect fit for this honorary role, please email us at info@wetheitalians.com. Please check our team here, so you may know who our Ambassadors are.

Davida Gavioli is our Ambassador in Maine, the Pine Tree State. Davida moved to the United States in 1989 as the recipient of a Fulbright scholarship to pursue a PhD in Comparative Literature. She is on the faculty at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, ME where she teaches Italian language and literature. Her teaching and research focus on multicultural Italy, Mediterranean and Migration Studies. While she was born and grew up in a small town in Lombardy, her heart is in Sicily and she tries to go back as often as she can.

Robert Erianne is our Ambassador in Tennessee, the Volunteer State. Robert's engineering doctorate launched a career leading research projects in military base security, naval intelligence, and nuclear plant safety. He is co-founder and Managing Director of Italia Nashville Guild, organized in 2010 to assist those seeking to trace their Italian roots. New Jersey-born Robert's passions for bocce, caldarroste (roast chestnuts), and winemaking deepened after he became a "Music City, U.S.A." resident in 1999. Loves for music and family traditions coalesced the year he worked as publicist for an Italian festival headlined by Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Famer Felix Cavaliere.

Claudia Blanchard is our Ambassador in Montana, the Treasure State. Claudia Stefania Blanchard is a first Generation Italian American. Both her parents are from Calabria.  She has an Associates Degree in Travel and Tourism Management, and is in the process of opening up a Home Travel agency specializing in her love for Italy. Claudia is married to a Military (Army) man who lived all around the United States and Europe, now retired and settled in Montana. Claudia is happy to be part of the We the Italians.

Please don’t forget our virtual store, the perfect place where to buy gifts for your family, your friends and – why not – for yourself! You can find more than 20 products in different colors: t-shirts, tank tops, hoodies, onesies, mugs, notebooks, pillows, totes, tapestries, pins, laptop and smartphone cases, magnets, stickers, masks. Buy We the Italians! We chose Teepublic for our store not by chance. They aim to provide an experience you can feel good about, by sourcing garments from ethical suppliers and using recyclable shipping bags. It’s important for us: we could choose different partners who would give us a higher percentage of what is sold, but we are happy with gaining a few bucks less but making our part in trying to save our planet.

Well my friends, once again it’s all for now. Please stay safe, please stay healthy. From the bottom of our heart, we hope that this will be the year when we’ll see the end of this pandemic. We’re working at many projects and I sincerely hope I’ll be able to announce all of them in my next editorials. The future’s so bright, we gotta wear shades! Stay safe, ciao from Rome

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