La Notte Brava – Kim Hernandez

Friday was the Global Climate Strike, with demonstrations in an estimated 185 countries around the world all calling for action on climate change. If I were back at school in the US, there is no doubt in my mind that I would have gone to my state capitol with my fellow classmates to demand change from our lawmakers who have the power to enact it. Here in Perugia, students organized their own climate protest, but it coincided with a field trip, and so I was unable to attend. 

As we read about the origins of placemaking and how radical the concept is—or as JP would put it, how it disrupts complacency—I cannot help but be reminded of strong leaders like Greta Thunberg. Change comes about only because people are passionate and willing to speak up about what they wish to see in the world. Particularly, protests and organized events have an energy to them that I thoroughly enjoy, especially since I find strength in knowing others share my passion for justice and reform in their communities. 

That Friday, La Notte Brava gave me a sense of social connection that I did not expect to experience. The block party was hosted by T.Urb.Azioni and other local businesses along Corso Garibaldi. The night was chilly, and I went to the block party expecting only a few people to be out in the street. Despite the cold, there was a significant amount of people of all ages and diverse backgrounds out by 10 PM. The street was filled with children, teenagers, students, and older folks. 

The street party was primarily held between Via degli Scortici and Piazza Domenico Lupattelli, where the majority of the event’s participating restaurants are located. At the Piazza, there was a large table full of books for sale, and I purchased an Italian version of Rudyard Kipling’s novel Kim. I saw Riccardo from YaBasta Perugia that we met during our first look-about, and purchased a shirt that supports Mediterranea Saving Humans, an NGO that advocates for climate refugees. Needless to say, this purchase scratched the itch I had to participate in the Global Climate Strike in some form or another. 

La Notte Brava itself was publicized on Facebook as a way to celebrate the diversity of the area and highlighted the various cuisines one can enjoy along the street. I think Jane Jacobs would smile at how this event and the space itself facilitated interactions between individuals and the greater ethnic cuisines/cultures that call Corso Garibaldi home. Being in the street surrounded by happy people gave me a sense of unity that I thought I would only be able to find among my closest friends, but there I was, surrounded by strangers who were all equally as content as I was. We were there celebrating not just the space, but the people who bring life to it too.

I picked up a flyer from the Ristorante Mandela, an African restaurant where I enjoyed a tasty dinner. I chose this book from the book vendor because the title was calling my name!
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