We normally don't cover hard news stories over here at Alisú Headquarters, but we recently heard about a heart-breaking story coming out of Italy that we just couldn't resist writing about. The story comes from our friends at the Claudio Ciai Foundation, a recently formed non-profit based in Florence.
Claudio Ciai was involved in a tragic car accident while on the road for work for Telecom Italia - a huge telecommunications company. The accident left Claudio with severe brain injuries, leaving him with debilitating motor skill issues and lack of ability to have cognitive functions. Three and a half years after the accident, Claudio passed away from complications resulting from his injuries after essentially being trapped in his own body without the ability to communicate.
So what happened then?
After long legal battles, Telecom Italia continues to refuse to pay severance well-earned through Claudio's 30-year career with the company; the health insurance companies didn't want to pay for adequate healthcare in a country where the public health system is "iffy" at best; and the Ciai family neighbors sued when a ramp was planned to be constructed in the rear of the building so Claudio could stay at home with his loved ones versus a rehabilitation center where he ended up spending the rest of his life.
All with ZERO media coverage in respect.
In a nutshell, Claudio's son, family and friends began the namesake foundation and began campaigning to help other people going through the same issues, and wrote a poignant open letter to a high-profile journalist who kept dangling the story over the family's head and instead focused on covering fluff that added zero value to society.
We asked the author of the letter and son of Claudio, Francesco Ciai, his thoughts on why Italian journalists are so cowardly. His answer?
"Because it is much more simple and convenient to talk about celebrity gossip, than the real problems that affect people every day that could go against the system." He added, "Until we get more visibility and strength in a unified voice against injustice, change will never happen."
A daunting task, indeed. Francesco's open letter has gone wildly viral, with over 18,000 shares in a span of three days on Facebook, sparking a much needed dialogue. The surprise? No national journalist has stepped up to the plate to help tell this story.
We hear that they're looking for New York City-based artists at the moment to create a philanthropic collaboration between New York and Florence, so if you - or anyone you know - is creative and with a good heart, give us a shout.