On 27 November 2018, over 80 anti-discrimination, anti racism, queer, decolonizing, feminist, migrant, diversity and progressive activists met in a hall of the Eco-design Department of the University of Bozen/Bolzano, in an event organized by the incubator organization blufink and the Network Against Racism Alto Adige/ Sudtirol to participate in a bilingual German and Italian meeting aimed at fostering discussion and planning around solidarity work. The keynote presentation was by Emilia Roig, director of The Centre for Intersectional Justice of Berlin, followed by discussions at 5 tables each focusing on issues such as racism, LGBT and queer rights, decolonization, migration and general resistance and resilience strategies, while taking into consideration overlapping forms of discrimination that require solidarity across struggles. The format provided for participants to rotate to other tables after 30 minute discussion segments so as to gain a broader understanding of the issues and be exposed to the diverse focuses of the moderators and ‘experts’ at each table. In the middle of the event soup and bread were served in accordance with the Conflict Kitchen format and people lingered to discuss and establish ties well after the event was over. The evening was successful in initiating discussion about intersectionality as an approach needed to solve problems arising from overlapping discriminations in a context like the Italian one where that methodology has yet to gain a foothold. It is significant that activists have responded in a setting such as that of Bozen/Bolzano a border town that is the home to German and Italian speaking communities that have had a long experience negotiating tensions and learning to live, work and survive together. The event took place the same day that the conservative German SVP party governing the Alto Adige region announced it would enter a coalition with the ultra-right Italian Lega Nord party, thus making the topics and resistance ever more urgent.
A few hours before the event radio Tandem hosted a discussion about the upcoming meeting, interviewing the team from the Centre for Intersectional Justice and other activists involved in the events . To listen to the German and Italian podcast click here. A positive outcome of this organizing effort was also the interview made by Radio Tandem the day following the conference with two anthropologists, Marina Della Rocca and Serena Caroselli, who had participated in the event the night before and spoke about their research on gender violence on migrant women. One of them is also active on monitoring the Brennero pass which is a route used by migrants. To listen to their interview, please click this link.
Cover image: Collage by Basseck Manakab.