“I thought I’d find in Italy a living space, a breath of civilization, a welcome that would allow me to live in peace and to cultivate the dream of a future without barriers or prejudices. Instead, I am disappointed. Being black in this country is a limit to civil life. Racism is rampant: Those who ask only for solidarity and respect receive instead bullying, abuse and daily violence. We, the people from third world countries, are contributing to the development of your country, but it seems that this does not have any weight. Sooner or later, one of us will be killed and then our existence will be acknowledged.”
Jerry Masslo wrote these words in 1989, when he was indeed killed by gunshots from a gang of criminals, who had broken into his cabin to steal from him and the other workers the hard income they earned after days in the fields. On Thursday, these same words were read before his tomb in Villa Literno by a middle school girl. Among the small crowd paying tribute to him, there were the secretaries of the CGIL and FLAI unions, Susanna Camusso and Ivana Galli; the mayor of the Campanian town; and the consul of South Africa (Masslo’s country of origin). This small crowd also paid tribute to the many immigrants who pay our pensions, lower the prices of our tomatoes, and create for us a diverse and multicultural Italy.