My heart skipped a beat when I read about Mauro Merlino, an Italian activist who is currently making his life’s mission to walk 300 miles across Italy for bringing smiles to the hearts and faces of children and families displaced by two major earthquakes that struck Central Italy in August and December of 2016.
Merlino is an activist-by-accident who originally got sued by the Italian tax office “Equitalia” for comments on a Youtube video he made that went viral. His expression of opinion and freedom of speech prevailed and he won the case that all but wrecked his life for several years.
Now he spends his days fighting in small ways, for bigger things, using love and patience to move a mountain. That being said, the mountain is hard to move as it is the lack of support given to the Earthquake victims in the affected region that remains crippled. This area has yet to have real help or reconstruction assistance. Families have lost everything and children displaced. Even more stunning is that Merlino has no ties to this region other than seeing it happen on the news and reading about it in the newspaper. He instantly made decision to protest and work for this cause, without receiving a paycheck.
Merlino lives over 300 miles from this region, in Modena of which would only ring a bell to women who love to cook (based on the ingredient label of Olive Oil or some ceramics, as much is imported from there.)
Mauro explains, “I cannot rebuild the crumbled homes but perhaps I can touch a child’s heart and make a smile. A child’s youth is so precious, in a time of crisis like this perhaps a superhero is something they can remember other than the horrible earthquake. Imagine a four year old saying, Mom, Dad, Spider-man is telling me everything is going to be alright! It’s priceless. This initiative, with the help of others, can spread solidarity to the victims of the earthquake and make a difference. With love, we can walk together and bring attention and assistance to the people who need it most. “
Merlino has had numerous mentions in the New York Post , the Italian Tribune and the Local.It for his march of over 300 miles from his home to the Central Italian region , sometimes even marching or protesting with other superheroes. Even now, an American based fan site has been created under, MauroMerlino.com yet the superhero has never been to USA. This is just proof perhaps super heroes do exist.
*Guest Post by Cindy Fahnestock-Schafer