19 June 2015 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Monaghan Social Inclusion week 2015 brought a great atmosphere of celebration to the county last week. A wide range of events, activities and celebrations took place throughout the week that all said clearly the same message. It’s ok to be different.

Not everyone in Monaghan feels ok to be different, not everyone in Monaghan feels its ok for others to be different.

The truth is, every day in Monaghan, Ireland and the rest of the world people are often treated differently because they are different. But Monaghan social inclusion measures group, led by Monaghan county council want everyone to feel is ok to be different.

Social inclusion week asks everyone to celebrate being different because we are all different. Just because someone is different to you doesn’t mean they should be treated different to you.

Social inclusion week started with the wonderful outdoor exhibition on display in Carrickmacross market square and the Diamond in Monaghan town. “HERE I AM” is a travelling photo exhibition from Down syndrome Ireland, displaying 20 beautiful portraits of children with Down Syndrome. The exhibition aims to raise awareness of Down syndrome and encourages the public not to treat people with Down syndrome differently to anyone else.

The key event of the week was the launch of a fascinating booklet “A TALE OF TWO COUNTIES, Monaghan 1955, Monaghan 2015. Launched by Minister Aodhan O Riordain TD   in the county Museum. This booklet simply tells the story of equality in county Monaghan through the eyes of the people of Monaghan. The booklet examines the lives of people in Monaghan in 1955 and compares them to the lives of people in Monaghan in 2015 and how the fight for equality changed their lives. It’s a very interesting read, and you would be surprised how different your life might have been had you lived in Monaghan in 1955. Copies of the booklet are available in your local library or by contacting the community department of Monaghan county council @ 047 73720

With numerous other activities taking place such as historical and mindfulness walks by Monaghan sports partnership, a welcoming BBQ at SOLAS drop in centre, Blayney Blades launched message in a bottle with Monaghan Lions Club. Monaghan Integrated development hosted Immigrant voices events, recording and celebrating the voice of people who have come to know Monaghan as home. Even the young children of the county got involved in spreading the message of Social inclusion week by wearing odd socks to pre-school to show its “ok to be different”.

The week’s activities ending with a celebration of marriage equality, which saw the award winning Large College, host a “mock” same sex marriage in the county Museum. This event was part of Largy college Clones transition year group project to highlight the damage homophobic bullying does to young people in our county and to further highlight the message “ITS OK TO BE DIFFERENT”.

We are already looking forward to Social inclusion week 2016.

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