What a whirlwind the start of the summer has been. We have recently had politicians on both ‘sides‘ of the divide here saying that the violence that we’ve seen in Belfast over the last couple of night was ‘inevitable’.
This is a lie.
Violence is not inevitable in this country. And neither is peace. We get to choose, every day, what we do to bring one or the other. Some people who might have reason to choose violence, don’t. Some of them choose peace.
Here are some of the other things that have happened over the last fortnight that make me love my country, my place, my home. These things are also part of choosing peace for Northern Ireland. Each event, from the public to the private, had many different people at it with the focus being on working and celebrating together. We don’t need politicians to tell us what is possible and what isn’t. We can decide.
My daughter spent the first week of the summer at the Dance Factory Summer School in Lisburn. Lisburn is my home town and when I see people working so hard to give local young people the opportunity to join together in music and drama I know that things are going to be better here. Thanks to Gyasi Sheppy and everyone else who slogged their guts out all week for this. It means such a lot.
The end of the week brought Pride to Belfast in more ways than one. The biggest LGBT celebration we’ve had yet in Belfast. Full of fun and colour as always. It’s pretty much my daughter’s favourite day of the year apart from Christmas and her birthday. A day of inclusion and diversity as so many different people from different groups come together to walk for equality and in favour of humanity. Great to see so many young people out enjoying the sun and one another’s company.
The next night my husband threw a party in our kitchen and we had music until the next day.
It struck me as I thought about these events that all of them were cross community. Some cross community events are intentionally so for peace-building purposes, and some of them just are cross community because that’s how we live sometimes, even in a divided society. Everything counts. Have a happy and peaceful summer!