“We are strong. We are only seated”. Giovannella, our young associate, awarded to the Merit of the Italian Republic

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On December, 29 2020, the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, conferred, motu proprio, thirty-six awards to the Merit of the Italian Republic to citizens who have distinguished themselves for their civil commitment, dedication to the common good and the proof of republican values.

Among the 36 awarded there was also our young associate Giovannella Porzio, European vice champion of Paralympic dance, who received the title of Knight of the Order of Merit «for his passionate contribution in breaking down physical and mental barriers and in the dissemination of inclusion practices».

“It was a great surprise, completely unexpected: when yesterday morning I received the call from the President of the Republic I almost fainted from the emotion, I was speechless”. We too are very touched, without words to describe how proud we are.
One of the first people to make known the news was Chiara Appendino, mayor of Turin, with a tweet on her institutional profile.

It is an immeasurable emotion – says Giovannella interviewed by a journalist from Repubblica, a national newspaper – I am so moved that the President of the Republic has taken up so much my reality, my passion and all of myself“.

And so it was, indeed. On a very important day for our Republic and its citizens who are awarded merit, Mattarella remembered her, that young dancer in a wheelchair accompanied by her mother and grandmother he received in the rooms of the Quirinale shortly before the pandemic.

She herself tells it to the journalists: “Almost a year ago I went to the Quirinale after having sent a letter to tell him about my reality. He took it to heart and invited me to the Telethon presentation“.

This recognition – she adds – is really very important, because realities like mine are not known. It will turn the spotlight on the fact that wheelchair dancing is social inclusion, it is breaking down barriers“.

So it is. “Dance is for everyone, both standing and in a wheelchair”, we have always said it and we will never tire of saying it among the pages of this blog. “It’s inclusion, wanting to be together, having fun“. And our Giovannella, full of “enthusiasm, determination and many desires“, “always in love with dance” knows it very well, so much so that, when the journalist of La Stampa asks her what her long-cherished dream is, she answers “I would like to dance with Roberto Bolle“.

We wish it with all our heart, Giovanella, for your courage and your determination which must be a witness and an example for all those who suffer from some disability; as you say “a teaching for everyone to enjoy everything and never give up, but always try to react when someone says ‘you can’t’“.

With your grace and lightness, without “shoes” but with your wheels, you have taken a great step towards breaking down every barrier, physical and mental. “To people with all kinds of disabilities, I say never give up, go on, try not to get down. To those who, instead, have no disability I say that we are strong, that we are no different from them, we are just sitting”.

Congratulations Giovannella, your teacher Marilena would be really proud of you.

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