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Jesuits News Social Justice The antimafia stairs of legality at the Gonzaga Campus
Social Justice

The antimafia stairs of legality at the Gonzaga Campus

Twelve steps bearing twenty-two names can be found at the entrance to the Gonzaga School Campus in Palermo to commemorate some of the witnesses of civil commitment, who became innocent victims of the mafia. Fr. Gianni Notari: “Legality has to be constructed every day with our solid commitment”. Fr. Vitangelo Denora: «It is a sign of the social responsibility we share with our youth for the society of the future».

The inauguration of the staircase took place on May 23, the Remembrance Day of all the victims of the Capaci massacre. Whilst climbing this staircase to reach the classrooms one can read the names written on each stair which is intended to be a powerful sign and above all a metaphor that combines the memory of innocent victims with the social and civil commitment of citizens and hope that must be cultivated every day.

The week of legality

This initiative was set up at the conclusion of the various events and meetings that characterized the Week of Legality 2021. “The idea of the staircase was inspired from one of Falcone’s quotes: values ​​do not die because they have to walk on our legs and will continue to walk on the legs of those who will come later on”, Fr. Vitangelo Denora, director of the Gonzga Campus highlights. “These stairs will be climbed every day by our young people who will read the names of the people who sacrificed their lives to transmit those values ​​that restore greater dignity to our tormented land. The purpose of all this is to be a sign of social responsibility which we want to share with our young people for the world to come».

“When we talk about legality we immediately think of the names of Judges Falcone and Borsellino who fought in the fight against organized crime for greater equality in our city,” says student Mario Lentini. “With these steps dedicated, to them and others, it is right even with small gestures like this to remember some people who have given their lives for legality in our society.” “For me, legality means trying to be good and honest citizens who are attentive to our surroundings,” continued Giulio Furitano of the fourth year of high school, “and it happens every day. This staircase means that every day, when I climb these stairs, I will remember the sacrifice of those people who fought in our land and died in the fight against the Mafia. Today and always, we must treasure their memory with our commitment as students and citizens.” “In class, during the week of legality, with great interest we listened to and discussed with the representatives of Addiopizzo who told us many things. Today in our school, we remember not only the people written in the steps but also all the other victims of the Mafia,” adds Riccardo Finazzo of the second high school science, “who have decided to actively fight crime, leaving us certainly examples to follow.”

A route that has to be constructed every day

“The sense of this choice was to want to give a sign,” explains Marilena Poderati vice-director of Gonzaga Campus, “strong that would show the intention not to stop, despite the fact that we could not make this year the parade of legality that ended in our institute. We wished, therefore, to be able to give honor to this day that was preceded by a week of legality in which the representatives of Addiopizzo, the prosecutor Di Matteo and other institutional representatives participated together with the students”. Several classes, in fact, have made works and also a white sheet has been hung in front of the school. “Legality is a route that we must build every day,” Fr. Gianni Notari said «through our solid commitment which must become a consistent testimony of the values ​​of our life. On each step there are written two names of people who have been killed by those who wanted to disrupt their commitment for a better society. Together we must all fight against mafia crimes which still pose as an absurd manipulation of consciences. Those who are more fragile and who are in difficulty must be helped today through concrete signs and actions of solidarity in all its forms. We must walk together with young people to be witnesses of justice. I think that credible life stories are strongly needed in our time because the use of ideology is no longer sufficient to challenge others. Instead, it is necessary to be witnesses of a life lived to the full which demonstrates that the heart can be open to new possibilities. Often, it is not great research that inspires us, but the concrete life of those who have testified that it is possible to contribute to the growth of a new world. The names that are on our staircase are of those people who have fully invested in the protection of legality because they have written pages about their life with their blood that can be read by the new generations to become a powerful influence of renewal and social transformation».

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