ILMI Mailshot 17th September 2021

Tonight for Culture Night: “I am out with lanterns, looking for myself.”

IMAGE: Poster for the ILMI Culture Night Storytelling piece “I am out with lanterns, looking for myself.”   Blue background orange and pink hued lantern with a heart.

For Culture Night 2021 ILMI is very proud to present “I am out with lanterns, looking for myself.” An original “lockdown” storytelling piece performed by Paula Soraghan. You can catch it at 7pm tonight on our Facebook and Twitter accounts #OícheChultúir

The title of the story is a quote from Emily Dickinson an underestimated powerhouse when she was young. It is also a now cherished quote for the young woman the story is based on. A documented moment of when you first roar and take control. Simple presentation. Honest interpretation. The piece is a story of joy, a rebellious love letter to a younger version of everywoman. Join us tonight at 7pm on any of our social media channels to immerse yourself in a heartfelt performance full of light and grace.

“I am delighted to have been chosen to share Tamara’s story. I can relate to feeling like I shouldn’t speak up for fear of being disruptive or making others feel uncomfortable. It is a very courageous and empowering thing to say, enough is enough. Then you start to live life on your own terms. I feel myself and the character “Tamara” are finding our voices and true sense of self….. Together”.

Paula Soraghan Actor

The SFC Update “Values and Social Change”

IMAGE: photo of a woman who is see through and the words “ilmi SFC project”, ” The media has too much power over how disabled people are portrayed – we are either superhuman or charity cases and in need of “care”. The language we use in our activism needs to be political. We are DISABLED PEOPLE, and we demand EQUALITY. We are not people with a disability; we are NOT incapable or abnormal or need to be fixed or cured. “All media platforms need to change how they portray and talk about disabled people”

In last week’s Strategies for Change Session, we reflected on Niall Crowley’s two sessions about Values and Social Change.

“We as activists need to start naming our values and defining our values.  So collectively, our values have the same meaning to affect change coherently and consistently; this is how we connect and build solidarity?

The two weeks with Niall were “eye-opening”, a full 360 degree turn around in my eyes. These sessions were refreshing, “I’m not damaged”, society is the problem, not us. Society has been constructed by non-disabled people, with non-disabled people in mind.

The media has too much power over how disabled people are portrayed – we are either superhuman or charity cases and in need of “care”. The language we use in our activism needs to be political. We are DISABLED PEOPLE, and we demand EQUALITY. We are not people with a disability; we are NOT incapable or abnormal or need to be fixed or cured. “All media platforms need to change how they portray and talk about disabled people”.

Disability identity is also an issue. Many disabled people feel different because of how society is constructed, which is very damaging to… Read the rest of this piece here

Traveller Pride Week 2021

IMAGE: Stylised old fashioned ornate wagon wheel in a bright orange on a navy blue background with the words “Traveller Pride Week 2021, ‘Stronger Together’”

ILMI would like to wish everyone a happy #TravellerPrideWeek 2021 which begins next Monday 20th September. The theme for this year’s Traveller Pride 2021 is ‘Stronger Together’, celebrating how Travellers have held firm as a community and supported one another throughout the pandemic.

ILMI recognises the intersection between impairment and ethnicity and wish to show our solidarity with all disabled and non-disabled Travellers celebrating their ethnicity, culture and heritage through a series of local and national events. For more details, see the Traveller Pride Facebook page 

Louth & Cavan ONSIDE participants come together for lively and enthusiastic Disability Equality Training.

IMAGE: photo of hills and a forest with the words “Cavan Louth” and Interreg, ONSIDE and ILMI Logos.

Disabled people form Counties Louth and Cavan came together on the the 16th of September, for a lively and enthusiastic workshop exploring disability equality.

The facilitators, Mark McCollum, Cavan & Clive Lowry, establishing a welcoming, inclusive, and safe environment for the participants with an open dialogue style of facilitation and this set the tone for the session, and introduces the idea that everyone has a right to express their opinion and respect afforded to differing views.

The two groups composed of disabled participants on the ONSIDE IT and social inclusion training explored a range of concepts in the workshop including compliance, defiance and boundaries, the characteristics and types of groups – families, schools children, sporting groups, LGBTQ & racial minority groups; what they have in common and what is their unique aspects. The group explored ‘Why’ the aforementioned collections of people obey the rules for being called a ‘group’? Ideas of ‘common purpose’ were mentioned, ‘finding their tribe! … ‘They have to fight from the ground up for their rights’; and notions of shared values and unity were all articulated.

The session further explored the notion of ‘impairments’ and the ‘social consequences’ of those said impairments, such as isolation, poverty, reproductive ‘rights’ and choices, feelings of inadequacy, unequal access to education and accommodation and transport, and what in reality is more ‘disabling’ the ‘impairments’ or the direct ‘social consequences’ and a New definition of the word ‘disability’ was presented and described to the group that stated;
DISABILITY[1] can be defined as:
People who have impairments experiencing a disadvantage caused by environmental or
Social barriers that disables them from fully taking part in mainstream activities.

‘Disability’ is not the impairment.
‘Disability’ is created by social organisations which take little or no account of people who have impairment labels. Society disables people by excluding them from mainstream social, cultural & economic activities.

The participants actively engaged with the subject and information– some stated that they wanted to ‘educate people’, and that real change is needed from the ‘ground up’, in conclusion it was a powerful and vibrant session that made people think and reflect but it was delivered in an engaging, inclusive and fun way.

The ONSIDE Project has been supported by the EU’s INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).

GET #ONSIDE NOW! The ONSIDE County Community Navigators are waiting to hear from you!

Donegal: Orla Beirne orlabeirne@ilmi.ie
Louth: Clive Lowry clivelowry@ilmi.ie
Leitrim: Audrey Wilson audreywilson@ilmi.ie
Cavan: Mark McCollum markmccollum@ilmi.ie
Sligo: Fiona Brennan fionabrennan@ilmi.ie
Monaghan: Edel McGinley edelmcginley@ilmi.ie

Workshop On the Marginalised and environmentalism in Ireland: a brief report

The event was a positive experience in which representatives from various organisations who aim to help spotlight and mainstream the views and issues of marginalised communities within the Republic of Ireland attended. I was there on behalf of ILMI. The event was also hosted and chaired by researchers for instance from DCU.

There seemed to be a general consensus that Ireland needed to take its environmental commitments seriously. Additionally, we all agreed that greater diversity was needed when it came to policy making around climate change, meaning those who make the policy should come from more diverse backgrounds, which represent the more modern complexion of Ireland as multi-cultural, increasingly liberal society.  There was some concern raised that way environmentalism was talked about at present was elitist and not in touch with the lives of ordinary people.

From ILMI’s perspective I brought up the POV of agreeing we needed to cut fossil fuels but stressed that this could only be done if there was a rapid transition to move towards accessible and sustainable public transport, such as better DART’s, trains, Luas’s and buses, otherwise many disabled people, especially those living in rural areas will be forced to rely on cars for mobility. This point was met with agreement within the breakout room I raised it in, and it aligned with other points such as a general underfunding of transport in rural areas not just for disabled people but the public at large.

We also discussed poverty, and how this prevented for instance renters from making easy transitions towards more environmentally friendly lifestyles. We ended with the agreement that in order to ensure action on climate change is taken in Ireland we also at the same time need social and economic improvement, and not everything should be left up to the market, but the state needs to take responsibility.

P.B. O’Dea. ILMI Member

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