Danielle Madam: the Italian champion in shot put and … fight against racial prejudices
photo source: via Instagram @madamdaniellee
A troubled childhood and the redemption obtained thanks to the passion for her sport that brought her to the top, so much so that she obtained prestigious awards. Inside the podcast by Skuola.net, #FuoriClasse, Danielle told herself, also underlining the considerable difficulties encountered in obtaining citizenship in Italy. Too long times and too much bureaucracy which slows down the demands of second generation children above all.
Podcast by Marco Verdura
Danielle Madam, shot put champion: “Athletics saved me”
Originally from Cameroon, Danielle arrives in Italy at the age of seven and moves to Pavia, to the home of an uncle. Her childhood was not easy for her, especially since she, at the age of 11, after the death of her relative, she is forced to move into a foster home and stay there up to 18 years. It is during these years that she discovers the passion for sport and the discipline that made her a star, the shot put. “It was a very difficult period in my life and athletics saved me and gave me a way to believe in myself, also giving me the chance to become a better person.”
“We second generation young people penalized by the laws to obtain citizenship”
“In 2020 I wrote a post on Facebook in which I talked about all the bureaucratic quibbles to be able to obtain Italian citizenship”. Danielle is 24 years old and has lived in Italy for 18, she attended schools in our country and is now enrolled in university. But only since last year has she managed to formalize her status as an Italian citizen. “The law is very complicated and above all it does not value the second generation. It is very difficult and it often happens that we see, unfortunately, other people being able to take citizenship in a much easier way”. Danielle’s reference concerns the case of the Argentine footballer Suarez who had seen his practice recognized with extreme ease, unlike many other boys and girls, such as the athlete, who had to wait decades to obtain recognition.
“The day I became Italian was the best of my life”
Following her manifestation of disagreement with the behavior reserved for Suarez, Danielle managed to stir things up and, also thanks to the help of the mayor of her city, managed to obtain Italian citizenship in May 2021. “The day I became Italian was the best of my life” – confesses to #Outclass. “I swore on the Italian Constitution and I experienced an indescribable emotion especially I dreamed of it for many years”.
Today, in addition to continuing his career in shot put, he is committed to combating episodes of racism: “I know what it means and it is never a good feeling. The situation is alarming: there are still so many stereotypes to break down and so many prejudices.” To those who live in these situations, Danielle advises to continue along their path with commitment “that people will always have a judgment on us and this judgment is not necessarily what we are”.
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