Black Lives Matter in Rome: between hope and disappointment
Piazza Del Popolo on June 7, 2020, was surprisingly crowded and maintained social distancing to support the Black Lives Matter movement and express their outrage for the death of George Floyd, a Black American man killed by the hand of the police in Minneapolis in Minnesota.
I am usually a person full of hopes, but at the same time, I also know that I can be very objective, and the last years of activism with Italiani Senza Cittadinanza (Italians Without Citizenship) have certainly influenced me to be more objectivity because too often we had to fight by ourselves with very few allies for a fairer and more inclusive citizenship law for children of migrants born or raised in Italy.
Participating in the Black Lives Matter event in Piazza del Popolo, however, made me a little hopeful. There were many different generations in the square: there were the elderly, but the square on Sunday 7th of June was a particularly young, including many Italians of African descendent and migrants.
In the square, we mentally travelled to the United States while we were listening to African American brothers and sisters based in Rome, but we were brought back to Italy, also with a clear and concise speech by Susanna Owusu Twumwah, from the Association “Questa é Roma” (This is Rome).
The association promotes sportive and cultural activities in order to create a more inclusive and less discriminatory concept of citizenship in the Italian Capital. Susanna clearly explained that even if in Italy we know a different form of racism is different from the one in the United States, we cannot deny its existence.
Too many in this country accept their coexistence with restrictive immigration laws such as Bossi-Fini, the exploitation of black bodies on the Italian streets, a law on citizenship that favours being Italian based on blood and also “thanks” to Security decrees if you are not Italian by blood your Italianness can be stripped away easily with the loss of citizenship.
The conversation around the Black Lives Matter movement is now more than ever global and contextualized.
Black and non-black people took more courage to denounce racism in their countries while condemning the two weights and two measures for the struggle of Black Americans, for which there were ready to protests as if they mattered more than their black nationals or immigrants.
The timing of this article may seem odd given the fewer media and social media attention, but it is not. Anti-racism, the fight for equality and equity is a constant and daily work, too many of which are forgotten.
The hope is that anyone who has taken to the streets or has expressed solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement will be able to seize the commitment and fight in everyday life in their personal and professional life and for those that still choose to remain silent is about time to ask yourselves if you are complicit with the system.