At NRW, we have already highlighted him one of the politicians to keep an eye on in 2022, and we were not mistaken. Siid Negash, president of NextGeneration Italy for the inclusion of the new generations, is today the most voted elected councilor of Matteo Lepore’s civic list in Bologna. A supporter of a free and mixed society, Siid Negash was a candidate in the name of pluridiversity and a policy that represents everyone, regardless of their roots.

He is one of the founding members of the national network CONNGI (National Coordination of New Italian Generations) and coordinator of Street Education in Bologna’s historic center. He was one of the speakers who participated in the workshop organized by NRW in Genoa, “Diversity leadership in active politics”. Because today Siid Negash represents the politics of change, the politics of all.

Diversity in politics must be transversal

If you think it goes without saying that newly elected politicians with a migrant background are exclusively interested in the rights of a niche of citizenship or if you believe that they are only willing to talk with those who are predisposed to accept diversity, you are wrong.

It is taken for granted that it is only the progressive left that is interested in this issue but it isn’t true, innovation does not necessarily have a color. The goal is to talk to all political parties, and if possible, work with the center-right. I believe it, says Siid Negash

The new wave of politicians does not limit their horizons, but rather pushes for a transversal diversity that involves all political parties. A search for inclusion that does not relegate representatives with a migrant background to only be champions of a particular community. According to Siid Negash, “the challenge today is to normalize without flattening, the perception of diversity must be normalized. Those who are elected do not have to deal with welfare, or social policies just because they have a certain background. They must be able to deal with mobility, financial budgets…’

Siid Negash tells of a diversity that is no longer a mission but is a real management of the diversities that coexist in the same reality. It starts from the small, in condominiums, then in companies, then in local and national politics.

A politician with a migrant background has a lens to understanding specific needs that perhaps others are unable to see, but it applies to all minorities. It contributes to the democratization of services, to create politics for all

Ius soli, but not only

Siid Negash received the most votes on his list, “votes from a diverse electorate. I was voted for by native Italians, Italians who migrated from the south, as well as citizens of foreign origin. This means that I have to make policies for everyone, this is the real normalization.” Negash also brought the ius soli to Bologna, inserting it in the statute of the Municipality, a symbolic but strong gesture, which gives a nod to the government.

It’s my story, I know its importance. But it serves to show that the time is ripe for political actions that also include politically invisible people. The Municipality must protect its citizens, and in Bologna it also values citizens of foreign origin

Ius soli but not only. Among the items on the municipal agenda there is the conferral of honorary citizenship to those born in Italy or who have carried out a cycle of studies here, on the model of the ius scholae still under discussion, and the introduction of holidays belonging to other cultures. “But we are planning actions that are not aimed at citizens with a migrant background. Diversity has a broader meaning that must be applied to all needs,” Negash explains.

Siid Negash, in the name of pluridiversity at the workshop in Genoa

In the workshop organized by NRW we talked about new models of diversity, comparing political models and reasoning on good practices of inclusion of multiculturalism. Siid Negash spoke about pluridiversity and multilingualism, “that is, of a society in which there is not only one type of different, but in which many identities and languages coexist. And changing the language of immigration is a key element of change.” A modern society that is also reflected in a different approach to politics, especially at the local level.

The situation is no longer that of ten years ago, when those with a migrant background were used as a token of representation. Today we are not mere champions, we have a political and social identity that is independent of our origins

The workshop also talked about the politicization of diversity, in which the American model offers many points, Negash says that it is perhaps one of the most significant ideas, “the opportunity to observe the American model that, for better or for worse, has brought diversity to politics long before us”

Translated by Adam Clark