The first ever black female candidate for mayor of a major Italian city has denounced the far-right Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini, accusing the League leader of “institutionalised racism”.
Speaking on Monday in Florence, Antonella Bundu spoke on rising rates of racism and violence against BAME individuals and women across the Mediterranean country.
Antonella Bundu is an ex-DJ and activist for Oxfam who is running for mayor of Florance, being the leading candidate in a coalition of left-wing parties that includes Potere al Popolo (Power to the People) and Rifondazione Comunista (Communist Refoundation). She will be challenged in the election by Ubaldo Bocci of the League and Brothers of Italy parties.
Racial violence has soared in Italy under the rhetoric of Salvini, tripling between 2017 and 2018. Speaking to The Guardian earlier this month, Bundu said that should could have never once believed she could take on such a role.
“A movement tied to the left invited me to speak at the Alfieri Theatre in Florence. I was given one word on which to improvise a seven-minute speech. The word was ‘black’. Without hesitation I poured out about what was happening in Italy. I spoke about myself, my story. They must have liked my monologue, because they immediately asked me if I’d be interested in running for mayor’s office.”Antonella Bundu, The Guardian
The candidacy of Bundu has been divisive even amongst members of the alleged left in Italy, with some centrists believing that promoting a black candidate as rates of racism soar might be seen as a provocation to those with racist tendencies, even being detrimental to the leftist cause. It is a belief that Bundu wholeheartedly rejects.
“The real provocation is not that I am a woman, or even a black woman. The real irritation for some is that we have succeeded in creating a coalition of parties of the true left, whose values are anti-fascism and the struggle for freedom. We represent the left of equality, the left that is close to the people, the left that Italy has always had within itself, but that recently seems forgotten. Florence is the city that received the gold medal for its resistance against the fascists. The time has come to remind people.”Antonella Bundu, The Guardian
The mayoral elections are to be held in parallel to the 2019 European elections on 23-26 May. The current mayor is the centre-left Dario Nardella of the ailing Democratic Party.