UCC Works Award - Volunteering and Community Engagement Pathway MOVEMBE2020/2021
UCC Works Award Programme
In the last year the world seems to be walking backwards in terms of human rights, heading down all too familiar pathways we can see by just flicking through our history books. One cannot be blamed for feeling hopeless and defeated when people out there are making it harder to break down the barriers and boundaries to achieving a fairer more united world to live and grow in.
Instead of feeling hopeless, defeated, alone and oppressed we need to turn these feelings into fuel to generate a stronger feeling of determination and fiercely defend and advance on the human rights that every person deserves.
The Women’s right’s movement is taking some strong hits. Since Trumps election there has been an increase in harassment and hate against people, targeting immigrants, coloured people, Muslims, women and members of the LGBTQI community. Trump has already targeted women’s reproductive rights, claims that climate change is a hoax and plans to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement which will have hugely negative implications for generations.
With a man in hold of such strong power, others with similar mind-sets now feel more comfortable expressing their discriminatory views which will enable them to “make America great again”. Allowing them to push our society backwards into awful situations which we have seen before, instead of moving forward into a safer, fairer and kinder world.
Vladimir Putin has Just Signed Off on the Partial Decriminalization of Domestic Abuse in Russia, which sadly passed with ease despite pushback from women's and children’s rights advocates. These power houses are threating the stability of our society, shaping how and what people think.
In 2016 we did see some huge breakthroughs, legal wins and strength. Let’s carry these into this year as inspiration for what can and will be done in a world when it is most needed. Adding to the long list of wins and celebrations. In Brazil women and men have been fighting back against anti-women and anti-black policies and actions that are taking place under President Michel Temer. In Poland they have fought back against a new strict abortion ban, where they have preserved women’s reproductive rights, again. In Ireland, great movements with the repeal the 8th campaign have been made, raising awareness of the issues that need to be corrected, there is still more that needs to be done informing the public on the actions that need to be taken and the government must respond. Things are on the right track in relation to supporting and caring for women. In Nigeria, twenty one girls were successfully returned home after being kidnapped from their schools two years ago, with the aid of awareness #bringbackourgirls. When Trump was elected, the next day huge numbers of people stood up for women’s rights, not just in the states but across the world in a United Women’s March defending women and trumping out hate. We will not be quite, we will unite, stand together and be louder. Knowing right from wrong and defending it.
We need to continue educating young boys and girls on the social issues surrounding us all. Inform people what is happening in the world, raise awareness of the current affairs that are damaging lives every day. In Ireland, the recent TV campaigns highlighting domestic violence seek to teach us all a thing or two. We all play a role in this, we can stand by and let it happen, or stand together and stop it.
Let them build walls and attempt to shatter lives, but we will build a future together, united and fearlessly that will rise above sexism, homophobia, racism, xenophobia and hate. Build a world where we all feel safe, where we can be proud of where we live and where we come from. A place where we want our children to grow up and flourish in. Let’s show the world that it will be a better place for everyone when every woman and girl is strong, safe, powerful, and heard. No exceptions.
Cormac Pope volunteering with EIL in Thailand
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