Our history: who we are and where we come from
On the evening of 23rd May 2012, approximately 800 people arrived at the Teatro Cenacolo Francescano in Lecco. They were there to attend the premiere of “At 2 the monks go back to the monastery’ by the Penitentiary Theatre Company Stabile Assai of Rebibbia Prison. The company had prepared the show for the 20 year anniversary since the Capaci massacre.
Lecco Townhall, together with other local organisations had been working on the event since the Autumn before.
There was a great response from the citizens: the theatre could only host 600 out of all the people that showed up.
Did this mean that the people in Lecco were ready to talk about Justice?
A group of citizens and organisations involved in the planning of the event, together with the Councilor for Culture and Youth Michele Tavola, decided to take up the challenge and have been meeting since to discuss justice and specifically that particular vision of Justice known as Restorative Justice.
We thought it was a great opportunity to offer the local community a place where to explore and discuss the subject of criminal justice, i.e. the answer to crimes that have damaged the social and democratic pact of living together. In the face of alert, anger and social insecurity, these answers often end up isolating all the parties: the offenders, that are dealing with a sentence that is not effective in preventing recidivism; the victims, direct and indirect, that are dealing with the harm and suffering caused by the offence; the community, torn between fear, indifference and revenge or torn between dynamics inclusion/exclusion of the “offenders”.
We thought it was a great moment to talk about Restorative Justice, a model and a vision that was in danger of being known only by few and for the benefit of few. That was when the Restorative Justice working group of Lecco was established, an informal, volunteer working group, passionate about the subject and aligned on the beliefs and purpose, a working group that was not part of an institution or of an organization. We like to think of it as the core of the restorative community that would soon be the vision and horizon of our social work.
After a while, people began to ask for the name of the group and at first jokingly, we began to call it The Unnamed, putting together our wish to keep the group identity open (but with a common subject and vision) and the spirit of one of the characters in Manzoni’s novel The Betrothed that was set in Lecco and calls to mind the restorative vision.
“[…]- Miserable that I am- cried he – there is so much, so much that I can only weep over. But at least, there are some things but just undertaken, that I can arrest—yes, there is at least one evil that I can restore”. (from The Betrothed by A.Manzoni).