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The Action Thread Part Two

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What do you think the Big Issues are in the UK?

Inclusion International are looking for feedback from people with a learning disability in their survey for self-advocates across the world. They are asking what the Big Issues are so that they can create demands to tell decision makers what needs to change to make inclusion happen. 

Share your thoughts: https://drive.google.com/file/d/15PTdOufjRfAdwHCFMbFPB-7hXy1hNowj/view

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Music Generation
 

NEWS

We in U2 benefited from access to musical education – it transformed our lives. We want the same opportunities for young people across Ireland. Music Generation is achieving this beyond anyone’s imagination.
- Adam Clayton

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21/05/2018

The West of Ireland’s Newest Youth Orchestra seeks young string players for 2018

The West of Ireland’s Newest Youth Orchestra seeks young string players for 2018

Music Generation Galway County and Galway European Capital of Culture 2020 invite young string musicians resident in, based in or taking lessons in Galway, Roscommon, Sligo, Leitrim, Mayo, Clare or Limerick to participate in the Symphonic Wavesensemble in 2018.

Membership of Symphonic Waves is open to young string players aged between 13 and 21 who have reached at least Grade 6 playing standard. The orchestra will rehearse and perform under the baton of Professor James Cavanagh and with support from the Galway Quartet in Residence (ConTempo quartet) and high level professional players and teachers from the region.

Symphonic Waves is the first of a number of programmes to be rolled out by Music Generation Galway County since it was selected to participate in Music Generation in September 2017. Recruitment for musicians to deliver a range of performance music education programmes with Music Generation Galway County will begin in the coming months.

Symphonic Waves promises to provide a full and challenging programme of rehearsals and performances in 2018. Members will participate in a six-day residential programme from 19 - 25 August in Petersburg Outdoor Education Centre in Clonbur, County Galway in addition to a short residential during the October mid-term. Performance opportunities are also planned in Galway and Cork.

Beyond 2018, the ensemble will play a significant part in the celebrations of Galway as European Capital of Culture in 2020.  Hannah Kiely, Chief Executive of Galway 2020, said ‘Symphonic Waves will be a wonderful asset, not just to the young musicians of Galway County and City, but to the wider regional community, and the generations to come. As a part of Galway 2020, we seek to create projects that will have a lasting impact on the people of Galway, and our communities. Symphonic Waves, under the stewardship of James Cavanagh, is one such project, which offers a wonderful opportunity to encourage and foster excellence in music in Galway.’

Application forms are now available by email from symphonicwaves@gretb.ie. The closing date for receipt of applications is Friday 1 June 2018. New members are invited to submit an application form with a nomination from their instrumental teacher confirming they have achieved the required playing, musicianship and sight-reading standard.

For further information about this and other initiatives and programmes at Music Generation Galway County contact:
Louise Ryan
T: 091 874500
E: louise.ryan@gretb.ie
galwayroscommon.etb.ie
https://www.facebook.com/Galwaymep/

Related News

Music Generation announces 9 new areas of Ireland selected for participation in its next phase

20/09/2017 - MUSIC GENERATION ANNOUNCES 9 NEW AREAS OF IRELAND SELECTED FOR PARTICIPATION IN ITS NEXT PHASE

Music Generation to reach Cavan/Monaghan; Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown; Galway City; Galway County; Kilkenny; Leitrim; Roscommon; Waterford and Wexford as part of its second phase.

more details →

Music Generation to complete its second phase thanks to further investment by U2 & The Ireland Funds

18/07/2017 - MUSIC GENERATION TO COMPLETE ITS SECOND PHASE THANKS TO FURTHER INVESTMENT BY U2 & THE IRELAND FUNDS

Music Generation today announced that it will expand into nine new areas of Ireland within five years, thanks to the ongoing support of U2 and The Ireland Funds who together will have raised a total of €6.3m for the programme’s second phase.

more details →

Music Generation launches Phase 2 and announces an open national call for applications

23/01/2017 - MUSIC GENERATION LAUNCHES PHASE 2 AND ANNOUNCES AN OPEN NATIONAL CALL FOR APPLICATIONS

Music Generation launches a new phase of expansion and announces an open call for applications from new Music Education Partnerships, as €3m in funding, from philanthropic investment by U2 and The Ireland Funds, creates access to vocal and instrumental tuition for thousands more children and young people in Ireland. 

more details →

Ireland's National Music Education Programme. A Music Network Initiative, co-funded by U2, The Ireland Funds,The Department of Education and Skills and Local Music Education Partnerships

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© Music Generation DAC. All Rights Reserved. Registered in Ireland No. 491331. Charity Reg. No. CHY 19679.
NCH Building, Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin 2. Telephone: +353 1 4758454

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43
CULTURE

What is afrofuturism, and how can it change the world?

22 May 2018 5:10PM UTC | By: SADOF ALEXANDER

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From flying cars to smart houses, shining utopias to interstellar worlds, there are many ways to imagine the future. Science fiction and fantasy genres have long been used to explore the different ways humanity could exist, whether it be an alteration of the present day, a couple of years from now, or centuries ahead. When we speculate about the future, it’s not just a matter of what we imagine, but who we imagine.

Afrofuturism combines science fiction and fantasy with African mythologies. The term was coined in 1993 in Mark Dery’s essay “Black to the Future,” but the style existed before then.

Ytasha L. Womack, author of Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture, elaborates that the genre “combines elements of science fiction, historical fiction, speculative fiction, fantasy, Afrocentricity, and magic realism with non-Western beliefs. In some cases, it’s a total re-envisioning of the past and speculation about the future rife with cultural critiques.”

The art that comes out of this genre not only conceptualizes the world through fiction and fantasy but challenges the world as it exists now. Being able to see yourself at the center of a story has great power, according to Womack: “Empowering people to see themselves and their ideas in the future gives rise to innovators and freethinkers, all of whom can pull from the best of the past while navigating the sea of possibilities to create communities, culture, and a new, balanced world.”

Fikayo Adeola, founder of the afrofuturist forum Kugali, argues that the style stands as a symbol of hope, in both the past and present.

“Afrofuturism was a tool that they could use to imagine a better future,” Adeola told CNN, “and the movement continued into the contemporary era.”

Afrofuturist stories, and the power they create, are coming to the forefront of popular culture. The high-tech, utopian world of Wakanda in Black Panther has introduced many people to the genre. Though the film is set in the present, it makes speculations that bring futuristic elements and social critique together.

“T’Challa represents … an African that hasn’t been affected by colonization,” Ryan Coogler, the film’s director, told The Washington Post. “So what we wanted to do was contrast that with a reflection of the diaspora … You get the African that’s not only a product of colonization, but also a product of the worst form of colonization, which is slavery. It was about that clash.”

The clash described by Coogler is not the only commentary made by the film. Black Panther makes audiences wonder: What if everyone in a nation had equal access to technology? What if women were equal members of society? What role does a powerful nation play in helping others? When storytellers venture to ask these questions, they also provide answers that can be applied to how we live now.

Afrofuturism is not just another way of telling stories. It challenges people to imagine a greater world than the one that currently exists. If the stories we tell are ones that allow everyone to exist in the world of tomorrow, perhaps we will be more inspired to make that world a reality.

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85
HEALTH

7,500 vaccines have arrived in the Congo to stop the Ebola outbreak in its tracks

May 23 2018 | By: SADOF ALEXANDER

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People in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are fighting a deadly and growing Ebola epidemic, with 26 deaths and another 46 cases suspected or confirmed. It’s easy to fear the worst in this situation, especially after the world witnessed the massive West Africa Ebola crisis in 2014 that ultimately took over 11,000 lives. But something is different this time that can give us hope: more than 7,500 doses of an Ebola vaccine have been delivered to DRC this week.

Ebola-blog2-content1.jpg

Health workers will be among the first to receive the Ebola vaccine.

An Ebola vaccine had been under development for years, but it was not yet available during the 2014 epidemic in West Africa. Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance committed $300 million to speed up development of the vaccine to ensure it would be available should another crisis arise. At the beginning of 2016, an Ebola vaccine produced by Merck was found to have 100% efficacy in human trial and today, Gavi and Merck are working together to ensure that 300,000 investigational doses of the vaccine are available when an outbreak occurs.

In other words, people in DRC have access to the life-saving benefits of this vaccine (even while it is still undergoing licensing!) thanks to this breakthrough partnership.

Gavi is also working with the World Health Organization to ensure the vaccine can be delivered. For example, they are providing $1 million in operation costs to transport health workers to the communities most in need and to purchase cold chain equipment, which keeps the vaccines at the extremely low temperatures needed to be effective.

“The whole world is watching us and vaccination comes at the right time to block the progression of the disease,” said DRC Minister of Health, Dr. Oly Ilunga Kalenga. “I thank our partners WHO, UNICEF, MSF and Gavi who have supported us since day one. Having vaccines available so quickly was only possible thanks to their mobilisation.”

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter
 

First #ebola vaccination done In Mbandaka, DRC Guillaume Ngoie Mwamba , EPI manager leads the way #VaccinesWork

 
 

 

Ebola spreads through direct contact with bodily fluids. With this in mind, health workers are using a “ring vaccination” method that ensures anyone who comes in direct contact with an infected individual will receive the vaccine. This method, which was the same one used to eradicate smallpox, creates a shield of immunity and prevents more people from becoming infected. Ring vaccinations keep health workers and their patients safe, as well.

Ebola-blog2-content2.jpg

Experts from Guinea have arrived in Mbandaka, DRC – they bring invaluable expertise in conducting ring vaccination for Ebola. Photo Credit: @PeteSalama/Twitter

“Health workers will be the first to receive the vaccine today, as they are the ones most likely to be exposed to the Ebola virus,” said Dr. Berkley in the press release. “We all owe a debt of gratitude to the health workers risking their lives to prevent this disease from spreading further.”

This is an exciting and promising example of global health in action. With continued partnership and innovation, we have the chance to stop this Ebola epidemic in its tracks, and with hope, put an end to the long history of Ebola in the country and the region.

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GIRLS & WOMEN

Jimmy Carter Says the World's Biggest Problem Is Its Treatment of Women and Girls

It’s not the first time the 93-year-old has spoken out against gender inequality.

Former president Jimmy Carter has changed his mind about the world’s greatest problem, he told graduates during his commencement speech at Liberty University on Saturday.

Nearly 20 years ago, Carter said in a speech that he believed the biggest global issue was income inequality. And although income inequality has worsened in much of the world since then, he now believes the biggest challenge the world faces today is gender inequality.

“I think now it’s a human rights problem, and it is the discrimination against women and girls in the world,” Carter said during his address at the university in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Take Action: Sexist Laws Have No Place in 2018. Agree? Tell Governments to Act

Take Action: Email Now

 
 
 
 
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The former president touched on issues from female infanticide to sex and human trafficking to the astounding number of sexual abuse incidents within the US military (Carter cited 16,000 cases a year, though according to recent data, the number of reports filed last year was closer to 6,700).

This isn’t the first time Carter has spoken out about this issue. In a 2015 TED Talk, Carter pointed to the mistreatment of women and girls as the most serious global human rights abuse. He discussed how harmful cultural attitudes, many stemming from interpretations of religious texts, are often the root of the problem, and he also shed light on forms of gender-based violence, including honor killings and female genital mutilation — which has affected more than 200 million girls and women alive today, according to the World Health Organization.

Until the stubborn attitudes that perpetuate gender discrimination change, the world cannot advance, and what Carter had previously thought was the world’s greatest challenge — income inequality and poverty — cannot be solved.

Read more: Gender Bias Kills 239,000 Girls in India Every Year, Study Finds

More than 130 million girls are out of school, according to UNESCO and over 650 million girls and women alive today were married as children, according to Girls Not Brides. Many of them live in poverty and in communities where girls are seen as a financial and social burden, rather than potentially valuable members of their communities. This means they may be pulled out of school to collect water, care for their family, or to free up funds to prioritize opportunities for male family members.

As a result, millions of girls miss out on a chance to realize their full potential and are made dependent on others, trapping them in the poverty cycle.

Carter's commencement speech on Saturday helped highlight these issues, and underscored the need to reevaluate how the world treats half its population.

Global Citizen campaigns in support of the Global Goals, including for gender equality and the advancement of women’s rights. You can take action here to empower girls and women around the world.

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GIRLS & WOMEN

Women Really Are Tougher Than Men. Science Just Confirmed It

Hey humans. It’s time to woman up.

Women are tougher than men.

Fact.

Don’t take it from us — this is not an op-ed. It’s official: science has spoken.

Women are more likely to survive famine and epidemics, according to a study from Duke University in North Carolina that describes women as “life expectancy champions.”

Take Action: Show the World That Girls Can Keep Going #LikeAGirl

 

Take Action: Tweet Now

 
 
 
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In partnership with: P&G

 

The study concludes that, “even when mortality was very high, women lived longer on average than men.”

It draws its conclusions from hospital records from the last 250 years, including during severe humanitarian crises. The investigation included seven specific groups of people experiencing hardship, famine, and disease, and who had a resulting life expectancy of less than 20 — but almost always there was one sex that seemed better suited to survive.

Slave plantations in Trinidad and the US in the early 1800s? Women.

Famines in Sweden, Ireland, and the Ukraine in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries? Women, women, women.

Measles outbreaks in Iceland between 1846 and 1882? Men. No, wait, just kidding — it was definitely women.

 
 

Why? It’s complicated — and comes down to a variety of biological and social factors. But the data is significantly influenced by infant mortality rates: as the report suggests that “baby girls were able to survive harsh conditions better than baby boys.”

Take the outbreak of the 1993 famine in Ukraine, for example. Girls, on average, lived to the age of 10.85, while boys lived to just 7.3.

It’s already well known that women live longer than men. Indeed, when you contemplate the list updated by the Gerontology Research Group that tracks all living supercentenarians — the awesome superhero name given to humans over the age of 110 — only one out of every 40 are male.

Across the planet the average life expectancy for women is 72 years and eight months, and just 68 years and four months for men. In the UK the gap is marginally smaller: women live on average to 82.9, and men to 79.2. But for the first time in a decade, the gap is no longer closing.

 

“To find the female advantage so marked and consistent among all the populations was surprising,” said lead researcher Virginia Zarulli from the University of Southern Denmark’s Institute of Public Health. “Even more surprising was to find that the biggest part of the sex difference in life expectancy during these crises was determined by striking differences in survival among infants. This is the most interesting result.”

Zarulli says that biology plays an important role, with differing chromosomes and hormones providing different kinds of defences. Oestrogen protects from disease, while testosterone can increase the risk of fatal conditions, and increase the likelihood of reckless behaviour that can lead to a violent death, according to the Guardian. Chromosomally, women have a double X, while men have an X and a Y — a difference that adds a crucial buffer zone.

“In simple words, it is easy to see that if by chance a bad mutation takes place on the X chromosome, women have another X that can partly – or totally – compensate for it, while men don’t have this possibility,” Zarulli explains.

And in non-scientific terms? It seems you don’t need a latex suit and a film franchise to be superhuman anymore — you just need to be female.

Global Citizen campaigns on the Global Goals, including Goal No.5 for gender equality. Take action with us here.

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DEC. 11, 2017

 

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CITIZENSHIP

The Everyday Hero Who Intervened When a Muslim Woman Was Being Bullied on a Train

Sadly, he was the only person who did.

Only one man intervened when 18-year-old Noor Fadel was allegedly attacked on the SkyTrain in Vancouver last Monday night.

Following the incident, Fadel posted about it on Facebook. She said the racist assault began from the moment she sat down.

"This man got up and started to swear at me calling me a whore and a slut telling me he will kill me and all Muslims," she wrote.

The man then attempted to grab Fadel’s head and shove it to his crotch, shesaid.

Then, he hit her across the face.

Take Action: Ask EU, Sweden, Japan to Support Girls’ Education

 

 

 

"And everyone watched as he did so. Everyone stayed seated and did not utter a word but one man. One guy just like me on his way home from work got up and pushed the guy away and stayed in front of me until the man got off at Vancouver city centre," she wrote.

That guy was Jake Taylor, whose seemingly-small act of heroism now serves as a reminder to Canadians that it’s important to stand up for all people in Canada.

"I went over and I gave him a shove, told him to get the F out of here," Taylor told Global News. "Any one of my friends would have done the exact same thing."

Taylor stayed with Fadel as she reported the incident afterwards.

"He’s my hero," Fadel said at a news conference on Wednesday.

Read More: This 21-Year-Old Acid Attack Survivor Has Inspired Many With Her Strength

Fadel’s Facebook post has been shared over 7,700 times, with many comments condemning the act of racism witnessed on the train. Canadians are calling on each other to stand up for one another.

The man who allegedly attacked Fadel has been identified as Pierre Belzan and he has been arrested and charged with one count of threatening to cause death or bodily harm and one count of assault, according to Vancouver's Transit Police. A sexual assault charge, recommended by Transit Police, is pending.

Global Citizen believes in standing up for human rights by campaigning on issues related to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. You can take action here.

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GIRLS & WOMEN

Ireland Votes ‘Yes’ to Legalise Abortion in Landslide Referendum

The result paves the way to lift the longstanding abortion ban.

The Republic of Ireland has voted decisively to repeal a key constitutional clause that restricts abortion rights in a historic referendum that has grasped the attention of the world.

The landslide victory means Ireland will now take steps to legalise abortion during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

With results in from all 40 constituencies, the final result stands at 66.4% "yes" and 33.6% "no". 

Take Action: Sign the She Decides Manifesto

Take Action: Sign Now

 
 
 
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In partnership with: SheDecides

It’s currently illegal to terminate pregnancy in Ireland including in cases of rape, incest, or abnormality in the foetus, and it’s punishable by up to 14 years in prison for both the recipient and the medical professional who carries it out.

As a result, hundreds of thousands of women in recent decades have travelled abroad to secure a termination. Approximately 3,500 women do so every year, often to the UK, while 2,000 self-medicate with illegal abortion pills annually, according to the Guardian.

Abortion has been permissible if a woman’s life is in danger since 2014, following public outcry at the death of 31-year-old Savita Halappanavar, who lost her life after a lengthy miscarriage. Now, legislation will plan to permit abortions on pregnancies up to 24 weeks if there’s a threat to the mother’s life.

Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s Taoiseach — a title used to describe the Irish head of government — had earlier said that the referendum was a “once in a generation decision.” If the result had been different, another vote would have been unlikely for at least 35 years, he said.

In response to an Irish Times exit poll that last night predicted a 68% - 32% win for the “yes” campaign, Varadkar described the result as “democracy in action”.

But it's a campaign that has been fiercely fought by both sides.

"There are people who are deeply broken-hearted at this outcome," said John McGuirk, communications director at Save the 8th, a leading anti-abortion campaign. An official statement earlier conceded defeat, describing the loss as a “tragedy of historic proportions.”

 

Sky's senior Ireland correspondent @skydavidblevins explains that the country is witnessing a cultural 'earthquake', after the abortion referendum exit polls show more than two thirds of voters want to see changes to the law

 
 

What was Ireland voting for?

The focus of the debate was a specific article in the Irish constitution, known as the eighth amendment, that grants “equal right to life” between a pregnant mother and her unborn foetus.

Abortion has been illegal in Ireland since 1861. But a 1983 referendum sought to enshrine the ban in the constitution, and comfortably won. There were further referendums in 1992 and 2002 to establish, amongst other things, whether suicidal thoughts could be grounds for abortion, and on both occasions the suggestion was defeated. From 2014 a new law permitted abortion to protect loss of life, including from suicide.

 

1983 vote for constitutional ban on abortion passed by a 66.9% in favour to 32.1% against. A generation later and Ireland looks to have reversed that decision by similar numbers. The unravelling of the church’s authority that began in 1990s completes today #8thref

 
 

The ballot paper for this referendum did not actually mention abortion, instead asking: ”Do you approve of the proposal to amend the Constitution contained in the undermentioned Bill?"

The winning pro-choice “yes” vote fought for a repeal of the article in order to pass legislation to legalise unrestricted abortions on pregnancies up to 12 weeks. The losing pro-life “no” campaign fought to retain it.

With the final result confirmed, the constitution is now set to change.

How many people voted?

Over 3.2 million people were registered to vote, according to the Department of Housing and Local Government. It includes over 100,000 new voters who joined the register in the run-up to the referendum, more than the 65,000 who joined for the same-sex marriage vote.

It's reported that turnout was up to 70% in some areas, with figures from a number of polling stations showing a stronger turnout than the 2015 marriage equality referendum — which had a turnout of 61% 

Many travelled thousands of miles to return to Ireland and cast their ballot. Viral stories on social media revealed that some had flown from Argentina, Los Angeles, Australia, and more to have their say on the result.

 
 

Rebecca from Dublin is going #hometovote ‘No’. She explains why she wants to keep the right to life in the Irish Constitution ☘️#PKshow#VoteNo#TV3pic.twitter.com/CXy5IwHyhO

— Ldn-Irish United For Life (@LdnIrishU4L) May 23, 2018
 

Boarding a 13 hour flight from Buenos Aires to London. London to Dublin tomorrow. No one at airport knows what my repeal jumper means. No one here knows why I'm travelling. If this feels isolating for me, can't imagine how lonely it must be 4 her, travelling 2 the UK #HomeToVote

 
 

How has the country reacted?

The online reaction has reflected the result. The “yes” camp were jubilant with the result, with celebrations spilling out into the streets across the country.

“This is a resounding roar from the Irish people for repealing the 8th amendment,” said Orla O’Connor, co-director for leading repeal campaign Together for Yes.

 

Very emotional scenes in @Together4yes HQ as word comes through that Exit Poll indicates YES 68%. Barely a dry eye in the room ❤#together4yes #8thref #Tá4Mná

 
 
 

Based on the exit poll, a historic & great day for Ireland, & a hopeful one for Northern Ireland. That hope must be met. #HomeToVote stories are a powerful and moving testimony as to why this had to happen and that understanding & empathy exists between generations. #trustwomen

 
 

However, “no” campaigners expressed regret at the decision, and reiterated their commitment to oppose any new legislation and the formation of abortion clinics in the country.

"Every time an unborn child has his or her life ended in Ireland, we will oppose that, and make our voices known,” read an official statement from Save the 8th. "Abortion was wrong yesterday. It remains wrong today. The constitution has changed, but the facts have not."

 

The 8th did not create an unborn child's right to life - it merely acknowledged it. The right exists, independent of what a majority says. That said, with a result of that magnitude, clearly there was very little to be done. Thank you to every NO voter and campaigner. #8thref

 
 
 

While saddened by the projected result, for once I am glad to be on a losing side.
I am happy to be one of the 32% who tried to face down the dark forces of political establishment, media elite, etc.
Well done, everyone. Stand tall, proud and determined!#savethe8th #IVotedNo

 
 

What are the next steps?

First, the eighth amendment will be replaced with the words: “Provision may be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancy.”

This amends the constitution, but not the original law passed in 1861. Draft legislation will then be submitted to parliament to replace it. You can view the policy paper here.

Despite certain opposition, the legislation is expected to pass, and abortion for pregnancies up to 12 weeks will become legal in Ireland. Experts anticipate it could become legal before the end of the year.

The Guardian reports that the result will have far reaching consequences across the world, and could inspire activists fighting for abortion rights internationally. It’s currently illegal in Northern Ireland in all but the most extreme circumstances, but it's expected that there will now be mounting pressure for similar change.

Global Citizen campaigns on the UN’s global goals, including for gender equality and women’s rights. Take action with us here.

This article does not represent the views of Global Citizen or its partners.

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24/05/2018

Here’s what Music Generation has planned over the summer months!

Here’s what Music Generation has planned over the summer months!

A host of summer camps, performances and activities are set to take place during the coming months in Music Generation partnerships across the country, providing opportunities for young musicians to continue to enjoy music making while school’s out for summer. 

Carlow will be brimming with talent this Friday as the acclaimed folk group Kíla’s album Tóg É go Bog É, mentioned by Hotpress as one of the top Irish albums of all time, is 21 years old and will be performed in full with the help of young musicians from the Music Generation Carlow trad group Reelig.

Young musicians in Cork City will have the opportunity to get creative with music throughout Music Generation Cork City’s extensive summer programme 2018, with everything from Japanese Gamelan to a rap and beats workshop with GMC Beats on offer.

Exciting times for the young people of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown! Music Generation dlr is collaborating with The Grainstore to present a SubSounds summer workshop that will provide song writing, instrumental tuition and recording opportunities for budding musicians in the area.

Calling all young string players in the west! The west of Ireland’s newest youth orchestra seeks young string players for 2018, promising a chock-a-block programme of rehearsals and performances this year.

Members of the junior harp ensemble at Music Generation Laois have a big weekend ahead as they prepare to play at the World Harp Traditions Conference in the University of Limerick on Saturday, along with many professional musicians.

It’s time to make some noise in Limerick City, as opportunities to get involved with Limerick Voices Volume II and a whole range of creative summer camps have been announced.

Looking for something musical to do over the holidays? Music Generation Louthhas the answer: 'Sounds Like Summer' is a pick 'n' mix music course for 8-18 year olds who love to play and create music.

With summer holidays fast approaching, young musicians of Music Generation Mayo are excited to showcase the great music making that’s been happening throughout tuition centres this year in the Louisburgh, Crossmolina and Ballinnrobe hubs.

Young singers in Offaly/Westmeath are ready to come together to raise the roof in a great big sing! Music Generation Offaly/Westmeath’s Singfest kicks off from 7-9 June, providing young people with access to musical training and singing opportunities.

They may only have formed a few months ago, but already Music Generation Sligo’s choir, ‘Sligo Youth Voices,’ is booked to appear on stage at the Benbulben Carnival on 2nd June, alongside seasoned professionals including Paul Kelly and Hothouse Flowers. 

Following 12 weeks of creativity and collaboration, participants in the SubSounds Schools programme are set to show off their talent and dedication at the closing concert of the term in the Civic Theatre, where students will perform their original tracks live.

Young musicians in Waterford are in for a treat as a new set of summer programmes have just been announced for the area. Get ready for a teen vocal camp, jazz jam session and a Big Sing. For more details, email musicgenerationwaterford@wwetb.ie

There is so much going on in Wicklow this summer, from Samba Drumming, Rock and Composition Camps to a Traditional Music Camp and performances— we don’t know how you will choose! Email musicgeneration@wicklowvec.ie for enquiries.

And that’s just a snapshot of the many events, performances and activities happening in each Music Education Partnership. You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter for daily news and updates from our partners throughout the summer months.

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If you are a parent or carer of a person with a learning disability, and you're on the hunt for some accessible toys and equipment, then this could be your lucky day!

We are running a giveaway with Fledglings and one lucky member of FamilyHub, our online community for parents and carers, will win a £100 voucher to spend with Fledglings.

Fledglings is a charity that specialises in finding and sourcing special products to improve the lives of disabled children and their families.

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Adam's going from strength to strength after securing a job with Asda

By News & Blogs Team

 

May 11, 2018

 

After struggling through school and spending six years looking for work Adam Pinder – who has learning disabilities – was worried he’d never be able to find a job.

Asda Living Hull colleague Adam Pinder

Adam loves his job

But with help from Mencap Adam, who's 26, secured an interview at our Living store in Hull, got the job, and now he’s going from strength to strength – proving really popular with customers and colleagues and even helping found a group that advises employers how to open up more opportunities for people with disabilities.

His mum Sue said: "In the past, it seems employers have backed away from hiring Adam because they didn't understand his problems. It was a bit disheartening, but Mencap were really supportive, Asda have been great and Adam's a lot happier."

Adam, who has attention deficit disorder (ADD), Asperger's and mild dyspraxia, joined the store last August, working part time. Sue says his learning disabilities mean he can read and spell, but struggles with writing.

"I'm really enjoying working at Asda," said Adam. "It's very good. My favourite thing about the job is interacting with people and I get on well with customers and colleagues.

"The colleagues are always available for me to go to if I need help, and I've made friends too."

Asda Hull Living colleagues Adam Pinder, Chelsea Oaten and Rachel Smith

Adam's colleagues have been very supportive

The store's replenishment section manager Julia Ragbetli interviewed Adam for his job. She said: "He's a great colleague. Colleagues and customers love him. He loves his job and is so enthusiastic.

"I recruited Adam and he really stood out during his interview; he's a great communicator."

Mencap Humber supported Adam for the last seven years – providing advice while he was looking for work, helping him get an interview, and continuing to keep a close eye on how he's getting on.

Emma Hoe, employment coordinator for Mencap Humber, said: "Adam was ecstatic to have finally secured his first job, and he's really liked having the flexibility of part time hours.

"Getting this job has meant huge benefits to his well-being; his confidence has risen and he's much happier.

"His friends and family have commented that it has been amazing to see such a positive difference in Adam, who they always knew would be great in a retail role. Work has given him a real sense of purpose and pride.

"Adam's found his colleagues at the store to be totally supportive with fantastic support throughout. He's enjoying his job more and more every shift."

Adam Pinder from Asda Living Hull with Emma Hoe from Mencap Humber

Adam with Emma from Mencap Humber

Emma says Adam's ADD means he prefers varied tasks and roles.

She said: "He likes to be on his feet doing different things rather than spending all his shift on a checkout. His dyspraxia means his eye to mind coordination is a little bit delayed. For example, if there's a hazard in front of him it means it will take him a little bit longer to recognise the hazard.

"Asda have been really accommodating by giving him various tasks to do in the store on each shift."

Asda Living Hull colleague Adam Pinder at a Talent Match event

Adam at a Talent Match conference in Cornwall

Adam's also a founder member of People's Awareness of Disability and Difference, a group which aims to help young people who are struggling to find career opportunities. This was formed in 2015 and is part of the Big Lottery-funded project Talent Match Humber.

Adam and the group regularly meet to share their experiences, and he recently took part in a study alongside Sheffield Hallam University to research the effectiveness of supported employment.

Asda Hull Living colleague Adam with Alex Brooker, Emma Hoe and his friend Jemma

Adam met host Alex Brooker at the awards

The store was also nominated for the Large Employer Award at the This Ability Employer Awards in Hull, which recognises and celebrates local businesses who are creating a more diverse workforce by embracing and promoting ability in the workplace. Adam met The Last Leg host Alex Brooker at at the awards.

Emma said: "We nominated Asda for the award to recognise the adjustments the colleagues at the store have made and how accommodating they've been to Adam."

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883
CULTURE

When elephants are protected, humans can also benefit

March 27 2018 | By: SADOF ALEXANDER

 
   

Across 37 African countries, from the grassy savannas to the towering forests, herds of African elephants can be found roaming in their natural habitats. These massive and intelligent creatures are essential to the continent in multiple ways. Without them, drastic changes could occur to local ecosystems and to local human communities.Unfortunately, they currently face immense danger at the hands of hunting and poaching.

 

Elephant hunting has long occurred around the world. In the 1980s, the number of African elephants dramatically dropped from one million to just 400,000 due to demand for their ivory tusks. International ivory trade was banned in 1989, but has recently seen a resurgence as illegal poachers supply ivory to black markets, primarily in Asia.

Hong Kong has recently announced a gradual ban on ivory sales, which will be in full effect by 2021. This huge legal triumph can significantly help the elephant population, though the black market demand for ivory remains high across the continent.

In the United States, a ban on elephant trophies was implemented by the Obama administration, but a court ruling found that the ban had not been properly implemented. In November of last year, President Trump described trophy hunting as a “horror show” and stated that he would be unlikely to change his stance on the issue. However, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a formal memo on March 1 stating that elephant trophies can now be imported into the country on a “case-by-case basis.”

The African elephant population currently has a vulnerable status, meaning that the species may become endangered. About 35,000 to 50,000 elephants die each yearfrom human conflict, which could lead to extinction in just 20 years.

 

If the elephant population is not sustained, they will not be the only creatures to suffer — people could be harmed, too.

African elephants are vital to their ecosystems. In fact, up to 30 percent of central African tree species need elephants to survive, as they disperse seeds further than any other animal. These trees create a thriving ecosystem that birds, bats, insects, and other mammals rely on. If African forests diminish, surrounding communities could lose vital hunting grounds, access to resources, and products for trade.

The economic issues created by poaching don’t end there. Currently, African economies are losing $25 million a year from a decrease in tourism. Nature reserves see more tourism when more elephants are present. Harming the elephant population also harms this industry, affecting the overall economic stability of African communities.

 

With all that elephants provide, the fight to end extreme poverty can include protection of these valuable creatures. Saving the species can help the lives of other animals, forests, and humans across Africa.

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SADOF ALEXANDER
March 27 2018

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AID AND DEVELOPMENT

5 African youth entrepreneurs that will change the world

10 July 2017 4:47PM UTC | By: ROBYN DETORO

 
   

Africa is already home to the world’s youngest population and its youth demographic is expected to grow further, doubling the size of the entire EU population in less than two decades! Across the continent, young people are hard at work honing their entrepreneurial skills, so the promise of continued growth is an exciting prospect.

To keep the demographic moving forward, investing in Africa’s youth population must be a priority. For example, we know that addressing the gender gap in girls’ education could yield $112 to $152 billion a year for developing countries.

Keep reading below to see what some of Africa’s up and coming youths are up to!

Screen-Shot-2017-07-10-at-4.29.47-pm.png

via Twitter

Laetitia Mukungu, Kenya

Laetitia was 13 years old when she had to drop out of school because her family was unable to afford the fees. One year later she founded the Africa Rabbit Centre, a cooperative organisation that raises and sells rabbits. The centre has been so successful they now employ 15 women, have sent 65 children to school, and provided three women with microloans to start their own businesses.

27881604715_b463e5a02d_z.jpg

Jean Bosco Nzeyimana, Rwanda

At just 23 years old, Jean has been named one of Forbes 30 Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs In Africa 2017. He is the founder of Habona Ltd., an amazing company that collects organic waste and produces eco-friendly and affordable briquettes and bio-fertilizer for farmers. Jean hopes Habona will inspire other youths to get engaged with the agricultural sector. He writes, “young people must recognise the opportunities that farming offers; the first being job creation. Farming has the potential for reducing unemployment among youths.”

Leah-with-a-local-administrator-at-the-e

Leah and a local administrator at the entrance to the library.

Leah Kibe, Kenya

Leah is the director and founder of the Colour World Green Initiative Library. After noticing her brother struggling to read, she began to collect books from friends and family and invited other children to join in. Leah saw an unfulfilled need in the community and decided to establish an official library. It now provides nearly 1,000 students with access to reading and learning materials.

Screen-Shot-2017-07-10-at-4.17.48-pm.jpg

via Twitter

Regina Honu, Ghana

Having worked in the tech industry since she was a young woman, Regina is familiar with the challenges women in the STEM industry face, so she founded the Tech Needs Girls program. The program teaches girls in Ghana and Burkina Faso coding skills and provides them with mentors and role models to help ensure they get the opportunity to go to university!

Screen-Shot-2017-07-10-at-4.33.06-pm.png

via Twitter

Brian Bosire, Kenya

Brian founded UjuziKilimo — which means “knowledge farming” in Swahili — and developed a handheld electronic device that gathers information about soil quality. This information is analysed and can help farmers know what crops will grow best in their fields. In his early 20s, Brian is already changing lives by helping farmers make profits on their crops!

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ROBYN DETORO
10 July 2017 4:47PM UTC

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'Whilst sat on the grass watching and waiting for the little ones to finish their 1km race I couldn’t help but have a massive smile across my face. (...)

All these people were here for children and adults like my son, and I couldn’t have been prouder to be a part of it. ' 

Enjay speaking about our Run Heaton Park event: http://bit.ly/2ICPgTe   
Has Enjay got you inspired? ? ?
Why not sign up to our Greenwich Park event : http://bit.ly/2IRYKgS
#TeamMencap

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CITIZENSHIP

Superdrug Accused of Racism for CCTV Warnings in Aisle for Black Hair Products

Customer Xavy Wright complained it implied “only black people steal.”

 MARCH 27, 2018

 

Health and beauty retailer Superdrug has apologised after a shopper called them out for alleged racism. 

Xavy Wright was shopping at the store in Brighton train station, when she noticed the placing of the signs warning customers about the CCTV monitoring system. 

She said she saw two CCTV signs in the small section of the aisle reserved for black hair products, and just one in the rest of the aisle.

Screen Shot 2018-03-27 at 13.50.17.pngImage: Facebook/Xavy Wright

Take action: Call on the Commonwealth to Tackle Gender Inequality, Poverty, and Disease

 

Wright took a video of the aisle , showing the signs, which she posted to Superdrug’s Facebook page. 

“I’m filming in Superdrug,” she said in the clip. “Apparently only black people steal things because they decided to put two CCTV things in the black hair products.”

“Look at all the white products — nothing,” she added. “Nothing…nothing…not one…until. There’s nothing until this.” 

Read more: London Mayor Sadiq Khan Reads Aloud Racist Tweets About Himself

“There’s one there,” she said, focusing on a sign at the far end of the aisle, “but two on the black hair products.” 

Screen Shot 2018-03-27 at 13.51.30.pngImage: Facebook/Xavy Wright

She wrote on Superdrug’s Facebook page: “I think it’s just rude and quite racist if I’m honest.” 

Superdrug said it is investigating the placement of the signs, which read “for your safety and security this area is monitored by CCTV.” 

Read more: Actress Lupita Nyong'o Calls Out Magazine That Edited Her Natural Hair

A spokesperson for Superdrug said it was “certainly never our intention” to cause offence. 

“Superdrug prides itself on the diversity of its customers and colleagues,” they added. “We have carried out a full investigation with the duty manager today and can confirm that we have 15 CCTV security signs in multiple locations around the Brighton station store in line with our company policy.”

Global Citizen campaigns to achieve the UN's Global Goals, which include action on reduced inequalities. You can join us by taking action here . On April 17, Global Citizen Live will bringmusicians, poets, comedians, and world leaders together at O2 Academy Brixton. Tickets are free and can be earned by taking action online with us to help end extreme poverty by 2030. Take action now to earn free tickets.

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Sadly, he was the only person who did. Read More

 
 
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Learning Disability Pride

15 May 2018

Hear from Thomas, who helped Carrickfergus and District Senior Gateway club host a Learning Disability Pride event in Partnership with Mencap.

Thomas Haighton

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Earlier in the year I’d attended Belfast’s Disability Pride Day, which celebrated people with physical disabilities rather than learning disabilities. I thought it was great, but we thought doing our own Learning Disability pride (LDP) would be even better, and more relevant to the people we worked alongside.

I think anything we can do to raise awareness of learning disability, build friendships and relationships is hugely important. The first step was to try and get some funding.

We applied for grants from the Big Lottery, Carrickfergus and District Mencap and Mid and East Antrim Borough Council and after successful applications we were finally able to start planning the event!

We set up a working group and met over a period of months sharing ideas and planning the event. We worked closely with Mencap and our local council who were very supportive.

Right from the start I could sense the excitement about the event, and everyone wanted to get involved!

We had a great team of people from a wide range of organisations who had shared similar values and passion; to ensure a society where people with a learning disability are valued equally, listened to and included.

Then finally the day arrived. We started with a parade which gave those with a learning disability, their families and friends the chance to stand up and be proud of who they are and their contribution to society. 5000 people attended the event, the atmosphere was immense and the day was a huge success! People came from far and wide to participate and support us.

I’m already excited for the next Learning Disability Pride in June 2019! It’d be amazing if it kept going year after year, I think this is a really exciting opportunity. Because of this, we have been creating a great event toolkit that has all the information needed to help those interested in planning their own Learning Disability Pride.

Our free tool kit for setting up your own event will be available shortly here.

 

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Meet Polly, a volunteer from Bristol, and Mary who she visits in her local area.
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10
MEMBERS IN ACTION

ONE volunteers are fighting for a more equal world at U2’s new tour

May 16 2018 | By: ONE

 
   

This blog is written by Jen Roberts, a #ONEonTour volunteer at U2’s new show. 

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ONE Volunteer Jen Roberts in St. Louis with her sister Nicole Sardo, and her daughter Emma Roberts.

With less than an hour before U2 takes the stage, there’s a buzz inside the Scottrade Center in St. Louis as concert attendees stock up on concert merchandise and refill their beers. After a couple hours collecting petitions outside, fellow ONE volunteers and I employed a different tactic inside: stand next to the beer vendors and let the concert goers come to us.

Some were curious. “What’s ONE?”

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U2 fans showing off their ONE bracelets!

Others shouted with excitement when they saw our black and white ONE shirts. “I’m wearing my ONE bracelet,” a man said as he headed our direction to show us his yellowed ONE bracelet that he said was almost 13 years old. We told him that by taking action today to support the BUILD Act, he could get the 2018 tour ONE bracelet. He took the iPad and began filling out the information before we could finish explaining how the BUILD Act will help communities in sub-Saharan Africa.

So, what is the BUILD Act?

The BUILD Act helps create jobs for men and women in sub-Saharan Africa by helping American entrepreneurs do business there. When there are more jobs in a community, women have more opportunities to find employment.

It’s this part of the act that really resonates with me. I’ve spent a lot of time in the developing world researching girls’ education, and I know that when women have an income, they invest that money in their families. When women are employed, the entire community benefits.

It was because of this shared commitment that there was an instant camaraderie among the volunteers even though we had never met before, as some travelled from the far corners of our state to work the show. We shared stories about how we learned about the ONE Campaign and encouraged each other by having a healthy competition as to who could get the most actions.

By the time I found my seat for the show, my feet ached. It felt good to sit down, but as soon as U2 took the stage, we were up on our feet dancing and singing along.

It felt bigger than just being at a U2 concert. Here we were in our ONE shirts, fighting for something that is bigger than us, and in that moment, we were ONE with each other as volunteers but also with Bono. When U2 played “Get Out of Your Own Way” and images of justice and equality flashed on the screen, I felt I was right where I was meant to be, fighting for a more equitable world alongside my ONE friends.

Take action today to support entrepreneurs across Africa!

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May 16 2018

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4
CULTURE

What is afrofuturism, and how can it change the world?

May 23 2018 | By: SADOF ALEXANDER

 
   

From flying cars to smart houses, shining utopias to interstellar worlds, there are many ways to imagine the future. Science fiction and fantasy genres have long been used to explore the different ways humanity could exist, whether it be an alteration of the present day, a couple of years from now, or centuries ahead. When we speculate about the future, it’s not just a matter of what we imagine, but who we imagine.

Afrofuturism combines science fiction and fantasy with African mythologies. The term was coined in 1993 in Mark Dery’s essay “Black to the Future,” but the style existed before then.

Ytasha L. Womack, author of Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture, elaborates that the genre “combines elements of science fiction, historical fiction, speculative fiction, fantasy, Afrocentricity, and magic realism with non-Western beliefs. In some cases, it’s a total re-envisioning of the past and speculation about the future rife with cultural critiques.”

The art that comes out of this genre not only conceptualizes the world through fiction and fantasy but challenges the world as it exists now. Being able to see yourself at the center of a story has great power, according to Womack: “Empowering people to see themselves and their ideas in the future gives rise to innovators and freethinkers, all of whom can pull from the best of the past while navigating the sea of possibilities to create communities, culture, and a new, balanced world.”

Fikayo Adeola, founder of the afrofuturist forum Kugali, argues that the style stands as a symbol of hope, in both the past and present.

“Afrofuturism was a tool that they could use to imagine a better future,” Adeola told CNN, “and the movement continued into the contemporary era.”

Afrofuturist stories, and the power they create, are coming to the forefront of popular culture. The high-tech, utopian world of Wakanda in Black Panther has introduced many people to the genre. Though the film is set in the present, it makes speculations that bring futuristic elements and social critique together.

“T’Challa represents … an African that hasn’t been affected by colonization,” Ryan Coogler, the film’s director, told The Washington Post. “So what we wanted to do was contrast that with a reflection of the diaspora … You get the African that’s not only a product of colonization, but also a product of the worst form of colonization, which is slavery. It was about that clash.”

The clash described by Coogler is not the only commentary made by the film. Black Panther makes audiences wonder: What if everyone in a nation had equal access to technology? What if women were equal members of society? What role does a powerful nation play in helping others? When storytellers venture to ask these questions, they also provide answers that can be applied to how we live now.

Afrofuturism is not just another way of telling stories. It challenges people to imagine a greater world than the one that currently exists. If the stories we tell are ones that allow everyone to exist in the world of tomorrow, perhaps we will be more inspired to make that world a reality.

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SADOF ALEXANDER
May 23 2018

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CULTURE

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