Monday marked the commemorations for the 17th October UN Day for the Eradication of Poverty 2022. As always, the Dublin event was held at the Human Rights and Poverty Stone.
This year marks the 35th anniversary of the first such gathering in Paris in 1987 and the 30th anniversary of the United Nations recognition of the day. The Dublin event is one of many events happening across Ireland and across the world. See here to read ATD Ireland Community Activist Andrew’s speech at the United Nations. Also keep an eye on the 17th October website to read about 17th October events around the country- 2022 gallery coming soon.
See here to read the National 17 October booklet for 2022.
This year was the first time since 2019 we were able to hold the event to the full extent after two years of varying Covid restrictions- and remarkably the sunshine came through for the occasion.
The International 17 October Committee in discussions with the United Nations in New York has chosen as the global theme for this year’s UN End Poverty day “Dignity for all in Practice: the commitments we make together for social justice, peace and the planet”.
The Irish theme for this year’s International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is “Respecting the Dignity of all Humanity: End Persistent Poverty”. This theme was inspired by condensing the International theme. The International 17 October committee state how dignity is a fundamental right and constitutes the basis of all other fundamental rights. However, it is also integral to recognize that dignity is not something we give. All people have dignity within them. It is so important for us to respect the dignity, intelligence, capacity and humanity of all people. Dignity and respect should be considered two sides of the same coin. In order to allow those who have been marginalized to feel respected and be aware of their own enormous potential we should work to create a world that focuses on empowering and uplifting others rather than one which stigmatizes, silences and punishes. We felt it was necessary to include ‘end persistent poverty’ into the Irish theme as those who are struggling daily in extreme poverty must always remain the core focus of this day. It is those who are most often made to feel as though they are living without dignity. We are making reference to the #addthe10th campaign in this year’s theme as recognizing and naming socio- economic discrimination will be an important step in showing greater respect to those excluded daily because of their socio- economic status. Respecting the dignity of all people no matter their social background is vital to creating a more equal, harmonious and vibrant world for all.
The event began with words from the MC Nessan Vaughan. Thank you very much to Nessan for taking on this role! He introduced the day, gave attention to the poverty facts kindly provided by the Vincent partnership for Social Justice. He also introduced the #Addthe10th campaign and our recent informational exhibition promoting our new publications.
Around the world about 8.5% or 676 million people live in extreme poverty.
We are also grateful to the Lord Mayor of Dublin Caroline Conroy for taking the time to attend and listen to the proceedings and give an address.
We were blessed to have two wonderful choirs from St Mary’s Secondary School Holy Faith Glasnevin, St Laurence O Toole CBS and St Laurence O Toole girls school. Thank you very much to the schools for facilitating their involvement. Along with the song from SAOL and instrumentals from Cathal Holland, the music really aided in creating an uplifting atmosphere on the day.
‘… Brothers and sisters
When they insist we’re just not good enough
When we know better
Just look ’em in the eyes and say
“We’re gonna do it anyway”
We’re gonna do it anyway’
“Something inside so strong”- performed by St Marys Secondary School, Holy Faith, Glasnevin
Joseph Wresinski’s message transcribed on the Human Rights and Poverty Stone was read out in Irish by Brian O Toole, in English by Dympna Mallon & French by Hilary Bizumuremyi.
ATD community activist Christina read aloud the President’s message sent especially for the 17th October this year;
“As a society, we need to ask whether those groups which are most discriminated against in Ireland are treated with respect and dignity by those responsible for the provision of adequate public services and supports.
For example, too often members of lower income socio- economic groups, the Travelling community, those in direct provision, migrants, victims of gender- based violence, those seeking vital access to housing or those suffering from the devastating impacts of addiction and their families are not treated with appropriate dignity. This must be addressed”.
We then took time to listen to the testimonies based on lived experiences of poverty and injustice. This year we heard about the poor housing and health outcomes faced by the Travelling community, the struggles faced by migrants living undocumented in Ireland and the poor living conditions experienced by those in direct provision. We also heard about the discrimination experienced by young care leavers, the lifelong impacts addiction can have on a person and their family as well as the value of local community services.
As always thank you so much to those who generously shared their personal testimonies, including Mary from Pavee Point, Shane from the Matt Talbot Centre, Manka from Dominican Justice Office, Kye from ATD, Jayson from the Migrant Rights Centre and Sandra from SAOL project. Their stories were strongly heard.
“The children in secure care units have absolutely no voice. When you’re in this type of system and when the child turn’s 18, there is no help or services to help them transition from secure care to independent living and that is setting all the young people up to fail in life because there is no support at all. This is one example of discrimination”.
“My wife and I arrived in the country legally, with a valid visa. However, due to complex and unfair immigration and work permits systems in the country we ended up becoming undocumented. My life in Ireland for the last 18 years was marked by unjust treatment, exclusion, fear, pain, and struggle. Even when I become undocumented, I was fit to work, I was willing to work, I was ready to work; to contribute to the welfare of the State, to provide for myself and for my family. But unfortunately, I was not allowed to legally work, only because I was undocumented. I was not allowed to have access to any State support or to public health care”.
“My name is Sandra. I have lived in poverty and addiction all of my life. I struggled for many, many years and it was only recently when being given a stable place to live that my life turned around.
I want to tell you that a little helping hand can make the world of a difference to someone in poverty”.
“The hope and the hurt
Has lived inside of me
But there’s gold in the dirt
I never took the time to see
But I knew of its worth when you walked beside of me
And my hand fit in yours like a bird would find the breeze”
Giants- Dermot Kennedy. Performed by St Laurence O Toole CBS and St Laurence O Toole girl’s school
We then had a dramatic presentation which was based on the Irish 17th October theme “Respecting the dignity of all humanity”. This quote was translated into Ukranian, Swahili, Arabic and Chinese on large boards and each was carried by diverse members of the audience up from the famine statues. The meaning behind this gesture was to acknowledge the diverse experiences of those experiencing persistent poverty. Our ambitions to end poverty must recognise and include the experiences of all marginalised and discriminated against groups and individuals in Ireland and globally.
After this Martin and Maurice involved the audience in a common gesture. This was inspired by the Jim Larkin statue on O Connell Street. Jim Larkin was a trade union leader present during the 1913 strike and lockout. He fought for the rights of unskilled workers to unionise, coining the phrase “A fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay”. Maurice had us collectively recreate Jim Larkin’s pose in the statue- standing with arms outstretched, chanting;
“The great only appear great because we are on our knees. Let us rise!”
Redemption song- Bob Marley. Performed by the SAOL project
After the event we gathered at Sheriff Street Youth Hall for refreshments and catch up with one another.
SAOL also had on display their 17 October project- portraits of people supporting and promoting this year’s theme of ‘Respecting the Dignity of all Humanity’. The key messages of this theme were reinforced by a single word chosen by the sitter to convey their message, values and beliefs included on their portrait.
We also invited everyone to come visit our exhibition in the CHQ building, featuring new literature and materials from recent projects including; #addthe10th, LNOB series 2, the hidden dimensions of poverty; a toolkit to conducting participatory research, through our lens film project, lockdown liberties and our Trinity college poverty aware practice module.
Thank you to everyone for coming to the event. Thank you especially to all of the speakers and to the 17th October Committee. Thank you to Sheriff Street Youth Hall and Clarke’s Bakery for providing refreshments. Thank you also to Stephen Daly for filming. We should soon be releasing a short film of the day.
Thank you to EPIC for hosting our exhibition.
Finally thank you very much to Dublin City Council and the Department of Social Protection for making this event possible.