At the Feltrinelli Foundation an evening-debate starting from the document «It’s up to us, all together», published by the diocesan coordination associations, movements and groups. “Hot” issues put on the table for voters and candidates to administer the city starting from real needs
A confrontation that was not plaintive, but fruitful, the one staged on the evening of September 27 at the Feltrinelli Foundation in Milan, for the will and commitment shown not to hide the problems, but to get to know them thoroughly in order to be able to face them better. Protagonists are the testimonies of associations and realities of different origins, but all converging in the commitment to improve everyone’s life and leave behind the dark period of the pandemic. The declared objective is to offer food for thought and put the hottest topics on the table for the benefit of voters and candidates, one week before the administrative elections of 3-4 October in Milan and in various cities in the Ambrosian territory.
“Voices from the margins of a city – Conflicts and perspectives in Milan that goes to the vote” was the title that gave the horizon, but the attestations of the protagonists of the voluntary sector and the third sector (visible in streaming on the Facebook page) gave a picture more complete and experienced in the first person.
Starting point of the debate, the document “It’s up to us, all together”, released in recent months by the diocesan coordination associations, movements and groups in view of the administrative elections:
Massimiliano Tarantino, director of the Feltinelli Foundation, introduced the evening by associating the document with the concomitant release of the volume published by the Foundation The last Milan. Chronicles from the edge of a city by Jacopo Lareno Faccini and Alice Ranzini, the result of a seven-month investigation involving dozens of associations. The priorities that emerged as crucial are the home, the school and the city as a port of immigration that must become a place of integration, in addition to the suburbs that are increasingly “to be reinvented” – citing Renzo Piano – against poverty and inequalities.
After the greeting of Luciano Gualzetti, director of Caritas, with the wish to treasure the opportunity to gather positive energies to put people in a position to better enjoy the places of the metropolis, the evening – moderated by Lorenza Ghidini of Radio Popolare – came to life with the interventions of Gianni Borsa, president of the Ambrosiana Catholic Action, and Marisa Musaio, pedagogist of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart of Milan.
Borsa briefly presented the document of the diocesan coordination, divided into four chapters: Work, solidarity and sustainable development; Community welfare, health and hospitality; Education, culture and family; Politics and participation. After listening to operators in the health, voluntary and cultural sectors, the drafters found common convergences on some main points: the service to the city that can still pass through a good policy, the right-duty of a commitment and a participation that it can take different forms, attention to the person in all his dimensions, the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity that are universal and non-confessional, the responsibility of being informed and responsible citizens, having competent and far-sighted politicians capable of putting themselves at the listening to the city. To all this is added the conviction that formation for believing citizens is never completed, because, as the document explicitly concludes, “We are politics”.
Musaio then found numerous similarities with his recent study Starting again from the city, published by Vita e Pensiero, underlining that the suburbs must very much become an opportunity for regeneration, not only urban planning, but for reading the fragility and marginal conditions in our cities: no longer only in physical spaces, but also for human regeneration and social that accompanies them.
The round table
A round table with other “voices of the city” followed: Dario Mazzucchelli of the Lombardy Food Bank, Alessandro Galbusera of the CCL (Consorzio Cooperative Lavoratori) Stadera, Dario Anzani of the Community of Giambellino, Costantina Regazzo of the Arca Project and Alberto Bonfanti of the Center help to the Portofranco study. The comparison took place starting from the four fundamental themes that the city government and the municipal council cannot ignore: poverty, housing, work and school.
Mazzucchelli started from poverty by telling the work of the Food Bank (next “food collection” on Saturday 27 November) which continues every day by collecting the food that would be wasted by companies, supermarkets and vegetable markets. From the warehouse in Muggiò (MB) everything is then redistributed to 224 Milanese entities, helping over 81,000 people a year (with 4355 tons of dry food, almost 13 million euros in 2020), plus fresh food (bread and fruit) from 90 schools, 6 hub of the Town Hall and the Coc (Municipal Operational Center) of the Municipality, for another 160 tons and 16 thousand people.
On the problem of the Galbusera house he mentioned the experience of the Consortium in the Stadera district, created by Acli and Cisl in 1974, among other things recently collected in the volume Cooperatives and public housing. The case of the Quattro Corti in Milan, a virtuous example of public-private collaboration that can be a point of reference for Aler and the Municipality.
Anzani then extended the discourse to school, citing the minors of Giambellino (mostly of Egyptian origin), where in the last census there was an increase of + 471% in foreign immigration, and the “social disaster” originated in the area from the liberalization of the school catchment areas, with Arab and second generation Roma children with separate entrances to schools and who in fact never meet their Italian classmates … To this are added cases of families of 6 people left in lockdown and distance learning in 27 square meter apartments. How can you grow like this is a necessary question, together with the awareness that too many cost containment policies create desperation in many people as an almost immediate effect …
Regazzo described the work of the Ark Project in welcoming a thousand people a day, who in the darkest period lost their jobs and consequently could not pay the rent and therefore also needed accommodation. But he also described the difficulties of many young people with skills that would allow them to operate much more than as carers or messengers: a sensational added value that the city cannot disperse.
Finally, Bonfanti closed the interventions with his experience as a high school teacher alongside the work in the Portofranco center, which with over 300 volunteers helps a thousand students a year in a situation of educational poverty already compromised in the pre-Covid era and now accentuated by the pandemic.
The comparison and (re) discovery of what is being done for the good of the community pushes us to look to the future with optimism, but also to trust – as Ghidini concluded – that the next administrators “have an attentive ear” to the problems of the city.