Even though we have come a long way over the past few weeks, I would say that the road to making our community more inclusive of different cultures, values and beliefs is just beginning. With the series of locals, tourists, professors, politicians, doctors, directors, lawyers, civic artists and activists we’ve engaged with, I have gathered many perspectives of migration and social justice that were both eye-opening and contradictory. In class, we have talked about systemic oppression, racism, “migrant crisis” and marginalization of the Roma. In this program, I got to see these concepts manifest right in front of us as we encounter these first-hand experiences. We have had grapple with the difficult topic of marginalization of the people at Vel Mari and the Roma collaborators. The migrants who are forced to leave their countries face challenges that go beyond what I can imagine and I’ve gathered that this phenomenon is relatively new in Sardinia. The Roma community has been alienated for many generations and the majority do not acknowledge this. With the mindset of knowing that there is little I can do right now, through this program I have begun my journey to creating more awareness of the issues that few people talk about.
In our civic art project, I got to witness the power of doing something that is surreal to represent a serious and complex situation. I wasn’t sure where the idea of the human fountain would lead us to up until the point where we started getting water. However, it turned into an experience that I will always cherish in my memory. Like water, the project was subtle and diffusive at times when we were trying to get our message across to the public. At the end, it was impactful for us because of the attention and the crowd it drew. It was heart-warming to see the children approach us holding the pipes carrying water with the intention of joining the process. Although I only made a minuscule contribution, i am happy that I was a part of this community that brought people together, even if it was only for a night. This is the night that will be the start of being more creative in the future.
- Merissa Lee