By michelle-lee : Cecile Kyenge, formerly from the Democratic Republic of Congo, is Italy’s first Black Minister. Since her appointment as head of the Integration Ministry in April she has faced racial slurs and threats on an almost daily basis including being called an orangutan by the Senator from the Anti-Immigrations Northern League Party. Recently, while speaking at a political rally in Cervia, a spectator tossed five bananas towards her, barely missing their target.
Kyenge immigrated to Italy in 1983. She has a degree in medicine and surgery and is a qualified ophthalmologist. She founded an intercultural association to promote mutual awareness, integration and cooperation between Italy and Africa. She is also the spokesperson of the March First Association, which advocates the rights of migrants in Italy. She is married to an Italian and has two teenage daughters.
After serving district and provincial government positions since 2004, she was elected to the Chamber of Deputies for the Democratic Party in February 2013. She collaborates with various organizations in national campaigns on the rights of citizenship. She supports the introduction of a law which would grant citizenship to children of immigrants born in Italy.