the response of Oscar De Pellegrin-

from Alice D’Este

Elected on June 14 in Belluno, the mayor waited 38 days to enter the office. The Town Hall was not accessible to those in wheelchairs, now an opening has been created in the wall of the adjacent building

It took 38 days from the appointment as mayor before being able to enter “his” municipality. And then Oscar DePellegrinnewly elected from 14 June first citizen in Belluno he opened a gap in the wall that separated him from his office and presided over the first city council. Stop it? It depended on an architectural barrier Palazzo Rosso, the Town Hall of Belluno. A steep staircase, such as those often found in historic buildings, is impossible to climb for elderly people with walking difficulties or, as in the case of De Pellegrin, in a wheelchair.

I already knew from the electoral campaign that there would be this problem – he explains, born in 1963, several times Paralympic champion in rifle and archery (in 2012 gold at the Paralympics), until recently vice president of the Olympic committee – I had already decided that the first thing to do would be this and as soon as the results of the votes arrived we started the procedures. Be clear for: I did not do it for me, or rather not only. The Town Hall is the home of all citizens, in 2022 it is totally absurd that someone can access it and someone cannot. Of course I am more sensitive to the issue but it is civilization.

Thirty-eight years before his election, again on 14 June but this time in 1984, De Pellegrin’s life totally changed. While the tractor was returning home he was driving overturned changing his life forever. He calls it the day of meeting my destiny. At 20 you know that you can never get out of a very hard wheelchair again – he says – but 20 years help in the long run. Beyond what one might think 38 years ago society was much less ready to accept diversity and disability. So the mountain to be overcome was very high. But I got up. An accident like this eventually becomes a stepping stone. It puts you in a position to express all the strength you have and that you have to bring out otherwise you won’t be able to go on.

That’s how it went for him. She found out a new world and new skills. He reinvented himself totally, also thanks to sport, he has a wife, Edda and a son, Marcel, 24 years old. Sport after the accident for many years it was the center of his life. In the sporting environment, breaking down diversity is easier – he explains – the ideal place to strengthen oneself, to set new goals and move forward. On the front of acceptance of diversity, the Paralympic world has worked a miracle. A category of people who could enter cities by criticizing political choices e asking for recognition and attention showed that he felt like everyone else and that he had a lot to give.

De Pellegrin started with athletics then turned towards target shooting and archery. The are here national medals and finally the Paralympics and the passage to the other side of the barricade in the Paralympic Committee, where he began to get to know the public, to plan, to have intense contacts with institutions. Those years laid the foundations of the political project – he explains – then a year and a half ago I thought it was time to stop. I am 59 years old and I thought “why not be mayor?”. Oscar De Pellegrin won in the first round with 50.7% of the votes and a civic coalition supported by Lega and Fratelli d’Italia. The victory was also aided by the division into two sections of the civics supported by the Democratic Party.

The arrival at Palazzo Rosso

The official arrival at Palazzo Rosso on 14 June but the real entrance arrived 38 days later, at the end of the works. How? Breaking through a wall which allows access to the Municipality from the adjacent former court building (the one is accessible to all thanks to an elevator installed years ago). By calling managers and technicians we have solved everything with minimal expense – he explains – the town hall must be accessible to all, in 2022 this message must be given. And it will not be the only adjustment work of the architectural barriers that we will make. I am interested in clarifying that when a barrier is removed it is removed for everyone, not just for people with disabilities. a service that is done to the community and to the collectivity.

August 21, 2022 (change August 21, 2022 | 17:32)


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