On Friday the 11th of November, ATD Ireland launched their new film, funded by IHREC – Through Our Lens At Last: the stories of socio – economic discrimination untold. The film launch took place at DALC, and was attended to by over 30 people. We are very thankful to DALC for providing us with the space to showcase our work as well as to all those who came to witness the showing of this production. Thank you very much to the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission for funding this project. We are also thoroughly grateful to all the interviewees who shared so bravely from their heart and to all who took part in the journey of creating this powerful and inspiring piece.
This film aims to outline the experience of socio – economic discrimination from the perspective of those who have experienced it. It has a particular focus on socio – economic discrimination as experienced by young people from four disadvantaged communities in Dublin: Ballymun, Ballyfermot, Darndale and the North Inner City, in addition to highlighting the experience of those growing up in care. The purpose of this project is to give a new perspective to these areas and their people who are often given a bad name, stigmatised and discriminated against, and instead to highlight their positive aspects. It also gives the young people interviewed a chance to give their thoughts on problems that occur and what needs to change in these areas. This participative film project is comprised of group and individual interviews from members of ATD Ireland as well as those of Bradog Youth Project in the North Inner City, Ballymun Youthreach and FamiliBase in Ballyfermot. It also takes a tour inside these communities and showcases positive aspects and actions taking place, found to be meaningful to the participants. This film project is part of a larger campaign for socio – economic status to be recognised as the tenth ground of discrimination in Irish equality legislation – the #Addthe10th campaign.
“They have boarded up a house there where they could fit like 20 people and yet people are sleeping on the street right here”
The film begins in the North Inner City, where ATD activist Andrew takes us on a walk with his daughter through the streets near where he lives, stopping at places such as the Poverty stone and Sheriff Street Youth club that he finds meaningful or inspiring. He focuses on the inequality and discrepancy that can be seen so clearly through the symbolism of the empty buildings in how the homeless and those living in poverty are treated. He also discusses the importance of leaving the light of hope on for those in recovery and those who are struggling as well the importance of speaking up on matters we believe in.
“Everyone has mental health – just because you’re not showing it as much as everyone else doesn’t mean your feelings can be ignored”.
We then meet the inspiring youth group and their leaders from Bradog which is a regional youth service that seeks to support young people within the North West and Central Inner City area who voluntarily choose to participate in a range of structured activities based on individual needs and lifestyles, enabling young people to reach their fullest potential.The young people speak openly about issues that are important to them such as mental health, education, and stereotyping based on where they are from. They also share with us that despite the problems that come with living in a ‘disadvantaged’ area, that they are very proud to be from the North Inner City. They discuss the positives of growing up in the flats where they are from including how groups of friends are more likely to stick together and look out for each other. The youth leaders then share their own experiences of why they got into youth work and how inspiring as well as a privilege it is to work with these young people. They discuss how it is the adults within these communities that are often difficult to work with, not the children despite the fact that teenagers are painted with a bad brush and teenagers from working class backgrounds even more so.
“I have a great life, I have a good life, I wake up and I may have no money but inside I feel a million dollars – I have me, myself and my two kids, what more could i ask for?”
We then move to Ballymun where ATD activist Ann Marie who similarly describes how she is proud to be from this area, shows us two meaningful places to her: Ballymun Youth Action Project and Star Project. She discusses all the fun and creative activities that go on in these centres as well as the support offered here for one’s physical and mental health and to those struggling with addiction or in recovery. She describes how before she was broken but positive places like these have helped build her back up and find her feet again as well as aiding her on the journey to bring her kids back into her life.
“There is not a lot of jobs for people there is drug dealing going on, there are gangs”.
We then meet the young people from Ballymun Youthreach – a place that aims to support and encourage students to make decisions about their lives through a programme of personal development, education and training. They young men discuss how the area is being let down by the council in that it seems to come down to the people within the community to tend to their own area and to create pride within it.They also describe problems within Ballymun such as joyriding, stealing, drug abuse and general safety as well as the boredom and hopelessness felt by some young people in the area, as there is not much else to do join in with these activities. They speak about the issues of violence and hate/fear spread through social media which they note is worse in the younger generations who don’t go outside and play like they used to. They believe that a more modern education system which doesn’t discriminate as well as better care on the government’s part would help combat some of these problems.
“When you’re a child growing up in care, you mightn’t have that like authority figure constantly throughout your life. So who do they turn to?”
We also meet ATD activist Kye who speaks to us about the socio – economic discrimination felt by those who go through the Care System in Ireland. His powerful testimony gives insight into how so it is not only those from certain areas that experience this form of discrimination but also those without fixed postcodes. He describes how those in care are discriminated against on many levels due to a series of circumstances that are out of control, such as being born into a family that were not able to take care of them. He speaks of the lack of stability as well as the lack of resources and people those in care can turn to for help, support and advice. He mentions how this is why so many young people, including almost everyone he grew up with in the care system are constantly falling through the cracks, and spiralling into lives consumed by drugs, crime and homelessness etc. He speaks about how if there was more continuation and trust built between social workers, this might be of great help to the young people in the care system.
“I grew up in and area that is considered richer in terms of things like wealth and resources, but I have seen how Ballyfermot is rich in many other ways”
Next we move to the area of Ballyfermot where ATD team member Ciara who has lived here for the past year speaks a bit about her own experiences of the area. She notes how there are many positive aspects of Ballyfermot such as the beauty of nature, the horses and the strong community spirit as well as the kind, brave people she has met who have had to fight for their rights and existence. She also discusses issues such as litter and with safety e.g clashes between the youth and police in parts of the area due to systematic issues and a lack of care on the part of the government and the council.
“When you don’t have a lot of options, you don’t have a lot of moves and that’s when things like anti – social behaviour steps in”
We then meet Curtis, who is from Ballyfermot and works in FamiiBase, a local centre and safe space for children, young people and families from the area that provides a continuum of care across Early Years, Youth and Community supports and Child and Parent supports. Curtis speaks about how often people from areas such as Ballyfermot have become disengaged from the state as well as the mainstream media as time and time again they have been let down and stereotyped and how this can lead to an us and them mentality. He notes the different ecosystems of people in terms of resources and opportunities in areas of socio – economic advantage and disadvantage. He also discusses that despite the problems many families in Ballyfermot face such as depression and addiction – there is a lot of positive action and love expressed within this community that is evident in the care that families show each-other and how hard they work to provide as best they can for their children.
“The media and all would always write articles like Darndale did this or this happened in Darndale. This shooting, that shooting.”
Lastly we go to Darndale, where ATD activist Gavin takes us on a tour of where he grew up. He speaks about the negative image Darndale has in the news and from wider society as well as the bad state he remembers thinking the area was in, when he walked around as a child. He describes how there was no real services or resources e.g football pitches etc and speaks of how crime and gangs were rampant due to the impact of how under resourced the community was. He mentions how the only constant service was a heavy police presence around the area and that there was a lack of quality education, a lack of things to do and a total lack of opportunity. He also speaks of the stigma he inherited from being from the area and how this impacted him throughout his life.
The film ends by Gavin firmly supporting the #AddThe10th campaign and speaking of the magnitude of it’s importance from the heart his own experience, and others such as many of those represented in this film.
He says “I think it’s one of the most important pieces of legislation because being discriminated against … from our socio-economic status, it needs to stop. This law needs to be passed because people (like us) need to be protected, just like everybody else.”
We hope you enjoy the film 🙂