On March 5th I got a phone call. It was one of my very first Italian teachers, now employed at a local secondary school, asking me to meet her 26 pupils and talk about racism and integration and WGR. These kids, aged between 11 and 12, are taking the matter very seriously: in fact, they were at work on a newspaper page to compete in a journalism competition. Wonderful! Kids who want to talk about racism, this is quite refreshing in this sad town. As Malia was and is currently in Beijing we thought we’d record a brief video message for the whole of them, I was told it was very important for the young Chinese of the class. And indeed it was. On 26 pupils, half of them have a different cultural background than Italian, ranging from Chinese to Pakistani and Albanian. Bullying is a daily matter, not only in that class but in the whole school, and as I was talking of being courageous and letting go of the nasty comments about how your face looks, I could see some of them on the verge of shedding a few tears. I showed them some of our videos and a few kids took their chairs to the front row from the back of the class to watch them better and when the bell rang no one dared to move. They were having their break but still wanted to keep on listening, which I understood is a rare privilege. I could only be there for a very quick hour, with little time to answer questions and having a proper conversation, but I’m sharing with you the newspaper page they produced – spot me and Malia in the famous spaghetti photograph. I’d love to translate this for you and I hope I can find the time now that our next update really is up and coming, in the meantime enjoy the page, our photograph, the lovely drawing and the seeds of change that these 26 kids were able to share with all of us.
Vi condivido la pagina preparata dagli alunni dell’istituto comprensivo “Don Milani” di Prato a seguito con l’incontro con noi di WGR. Voi italiani potete godervi l’articolo in totale e io posso raccontarvi di aver avuto un incontro assolutamente commovente con questi 26 giovanissimi ragazzi. Il bullismo, il razzismo, la difficoltà di integrazione sono realtà sperimentate tutti i giorni a scuola, che provocano ferite profonde e che si possono e si devono superare. Io e Malia siamo state piacevolmente sorprese di ricevere questo invito e speriamo di incontrarli di nuovo molto presto. Intanto, ecco la pagina di giornale scaturita dal nostro incontro, preparata dai ragazzi con l’insegnante Maria Laura Cheli in occasione del campionato di giornalismo indetto dal quotidiano La Nazione di Prato.