Vendola kicks off school year in Roma camp
Hundreds of kids in ceremony, tribute to Lampedusa victims04 October, 15:55
Puglia Governor Nichi Vendola of the Left Ecology and Freedom (SEL) Party and regional school district head Franco Inglese attended the ceremony, which authorities dubbed "a festival of friendship and inclusion".
The dancing was preceded by a minute of silence in memory of the 300 victims of a migrant-boat shipwreck off the island of Lampedusa Thursday.
"The brotherhood we demonstrate today is the best way to pay tribute to those who yesterday perished at sea", Inglese said.
The traditional Rom singing and dancing were streamed live to Puglia's 4,000 schools. "Our kids are now attending those schools," Roma representatives said. "We took 80 of them off the streets, and 50 kids from this camp are now going to school".
"This is your homework for today", Vendola told the children.
"You must go home and tell them you've been to a Roma camp, that you've been with people we often speak of with ignorance and ill-will. When we talk about gypsies, and we do, we think of dangerous people. But the only danger is our own ignorance", Vendola concluded.