Italy and California Joining Hands for Human Rights

Watts, CA
20 March 2006

At first glance, there are hardly two towns in the world that have less in common than Watts, California and Padova, Italy.

Watts is a classic American inner-city area. While community leaders are determined to create a cultural renaissance in Watts, media all too often stereotype the city by focusing on racial tension and gang violence between its Hispanic and African-American populations.

On the other hand Padova, located 24 miles west of Venice, is a major political and cultural center, famous for its many medieval and Renaissance churches, museums and one of the oldest universities in all of Europe.

But as Ettore Botter, the Public Affairs Director of the Church of Scientology of Padova, learned this week, the most important qualities of these cities is something they have in common—the dreams of their youth.

Botter had his own dream—to forge an alliance that would transcend the differences between his ancient Italian city and this California neighborhood using UNITED, an award-winning human rights hip-hop music video promoted by Youth for Human Rights International in coordination with the Church of Scientology International. “Hip-hop music has become a universal language,” said Botter. “Italian kids learn English these days by singing their favorite American songs.”

So when Youth for Human Rights International decided to hold a human rights workshop at Jordan High School in Watts, Botter, who was visiting Los Angeles, insisted on showing this film to the students. In this music video, paper airplanes serve as a symbol of tolerance and solidarity among youth around the world, so Botter had the students write down their own dreams on pieces of paper made into paper airplanes. He said he would bring them home to Italy when he returns next week, and have students in a Padova high school do the same and send their airplanes to Watts.