On Thursday, August 11 at 19:30 GMT: On July 29th Alika Ogorchukwu – a 39-year-old husband and father – was beaten to death in the afternoon on the street of a busy seaside town in Italy while witnesses and bystanders filmed the attack. A longtime resident of Italy, Ogorchukwu, who was Nigerian and disabled, was attacked by a man with his own crutch while selling handkerchiefs and other wares as a source of income.
Anti-racism advocates and experts have stressed that while brutal, the killing of Ogorchukwu is not an isolated incident and instead emblematic of a broader culture of racism and xenophobia against people of colour in Italy. A culture that they say has long been ignored and denied.
A collection of activists have come together to condemn the murder as a violent act of racism and ableism that is a reflection of a broad variety of systemic social failings. But others have contested the suggestion that the attack was racially motivated. Ogorchukwu’s death has also sparked international outrage with calls for #JusticeForAlika and renewed conversations about racism in Italy.
These calls come at a time of political tension as the country is set to hold a snap general election on September 25th with a far-right coalition, whose rhetoric critics say often trades on inflammatory language based in racism and anti-immigrant sentiments, expected to win. Advocates of revisions to the country’s citizenship laws have said that amendments currently up for debate, if passed, could be one step towards making the country more inclusive.
On this episode of The Stream, we discuss what it will take to achieve justice for Alika and whether his death will be a turning point for how Italy tackles racism.
In this episode of The Stream, we are joined by: Angelica Pesarini @AngiePesarini Assistant Professor, University of Toronto
Kwanza Musi Dos Santos @stanzadikwanza Member, National Antiracist Coordination
Angelo Boccato @Ang_Bok Freelance Journalist