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April 25 2011

Roma: calling for a stop of evictions without alternative, that divide families and disrupt school attendance

Press Release

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The Community of Sant'Egidio hoped that we can learn from the terrible consequences of the recent evictions of Easter and that Rome would immediately find another way to ensure the safety of the Roma and their citizens. Waiting for a revision of the entire policy towards the Roma and for building, in collaboration with those who are really on the field and are involved in the social integration of Roma and Romans, new programs and not just emergency ones, for a real and final solution of the long-standing "Roma issue", inclusive of comprehensive programs of education, job placement and normal houses.
800 Roman citizens asked to stop the eviction scheduled for tomorrow in the "camp" of via delle Cave di Pietralata. They are citizens of the district. Parishioners, mostly Christians, but also citizens away from the parish. Their demand, unlike others, is not to destroy, but to promote what good is happening in the neighborhood.
800 people have rallied in favor of 70.

The eviction would interrupt with certainty the effective, successful integration process in the district (a total of 70 Roma, including 30 children, 9 at school, 4 junior high and 5 in elementary school, and 5 in kindergarten already enrolled for next year to first grade, living in a former brick warehouse in Via delle Cave Pietralata), a normal schooling and education (teenagers attend the chapel of the parish, the boys are part of the same football team of the other kids in the neighborhood) and a significant example of cultural and professional growth (three Roma women have served as cultural mediators in schools in the district, four women and two men working with families working in the building business).
A simple experience, concrete, of how, even in a high poverty and marginalization, things might be okay if small groups are accompanied and if people are helped to settle. It took years to start a fragile path, but successful, likely to be destroyed by those who have responsibility for security, social cohesion and integration.

Proceed with the eviction scheduled for tomorrow, would destroy all this, as well as revive the issue of division of family groups. It is senseless and damaging the city. It has no future and vision. We hope that, in extremis, a bit of realism helps those who have the power to decide to make the right choice. The only possible in this situation and in similar situations. Stop the wrong things is always better than a coherence detached from reality, that creates more problems than it can solve, and sometimes because - as has happened - it creates problems where there are none and there is no urgency.

We give the Administration and the citizens a small episode.
The Via Crucis on Good Friday, which was attended by all Roma in Via Cave Pietralata, made a station near the settlement, and among others prayed a Roma child, who had written his own, personal prayer.

We enclose it here, at the end of this release. It is the prayer of Adrian:

"We pray to God and all the Italians, so that our house will remain at least 3 or 4 weeks until the end of the school and we thank God and all the Italian, sorry for the inconvenience and trouble, and happy Easter."

Piazza di S.Egidio 3/a – 00153 Roma - Tel 39.06585661  -  Fax 39.065883625
www.santegidio.org   Email – [email protected]

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