Rome: "We love you" : the elderly of the home-community of Via Fonteiana send a message against intolerance, for a friendly and solidal neighbourhood
14 July 2009
July 2, in Rome, in the quarter of Monteverde, a serious episode of racism happened: a young congolese refugee was attacked while working delivering advertising papers.
An unacceptable fact, so that the elderly living in the home-community in Via Fonteiana, at the center of the quarter, decided to open the doors of their house to the neighbourhood, to offer - with a party - a sign of reaction to the mood of intolerance and a concrete proposal for a peaceful cohabitation, in a comfortable and nonviolent quarter.
The elderly themselves, supported by younger friends, and children - many of whom sons and daughters of the volunteer staff supporting the activity of the house - have walked along the streets of the neighbourhood inviting all to a meeting.
Also Willy, the young man that had suffered the aggression, was invited.
The house was decorated with long strips of colored fabric from the top floor to the entrance gate, drawing a rainbow that, visible also from afar, signalled the event. In the garden, circles of chairs to let people sit and talk, fresh drinks, a rich afternoon snack.
Many people came to the meeting: some attracted by the rainbow, some because they had received the invitation, showing that the desire of a friendly and nonviolent neighbourhood, is in the hearts of many people: someone even brought sparkling wine to give his contribution to such a special moment.
The garden of the house was crowded by people of every age and every origin: Italians and immigrants of "Peace People" (who brought the posters of the campaign against racism "Do not fear. Open to the others, open to the rights" to collect the signatures of adhesion) families with children, young of the quarter, the disabled from the home-community in the neighborhood.
Everyone wanted to meet Willy. The elderly surrounded him with love as to protect him. Someone also wanted to "beg pardon in the name of the neighbourhood".
Thanking for all this, and for the courage that since the beginning the Community expressed him with its closeness, the young congolese said: "Love is the most powerful tool among the peoples of God because we are his people and can live together, help one other. I forgive, it is the first thing, God forgave as first and today I should forgive. I thank this community of elderly that has given me the opportunity to come in this house and share something great. And I am happy to be here". Vincenzina echoed him, among the many elderly present, and, on behalf of everyone, she affirmed strongly "We love you".