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September 12, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

On August 28, 1963, approximately 250,000 listened to dr Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, an event that was one of the defining moments in US history.

In honour of the 50th anniversary of this event, the Charge de Affaires of America, Mr. John Hennessey-Niland, hosted a luncheon for community leaders at the residency of the US Ambassador to Ireland, in the Phoenix Park.

Mr. Hennessey-Niland opened the discussion by noting that there is a change under way in Ireland and the US regarding social policy concerning not only race but also disability and religion. The main themes of this meeting included options for setting up partnerships with representatives of different minority organizations to work towards advancement and empowerment, leading to positive changes in society.

The participants took part in a lively discussion on issues facing the citizens in the area of community engagement, equality and collaboration. Declan Hayden, a representative of the Integration Office at Dublin City Council, said: “This anniversary of Martina Luther King’s Speech is an important reminder to us of the work we still must do to prevent racism and discrimination in Ireland for all people. We must continue to build a cohesive and peaceful society that respects diversity advantage and the contribution of each person to reach the dream of harmony MLK so brilliantly captured with such passion 50 years ago”

Mr. Hennessey-Niland concluded the luncheon by remarking that individuals can make a huge impact on the lives of others if they are persistent in their endeavours to achieve the greater social good.

Organizations in attendance included AkiDwA – National Network of Migrant Women; New Communities Partnership; Pavee Point; and the Disability Federation of Ireland as well as a member of the Seanad: Senator Katherine Zappone, US Embassy Youth Council Member and Director of Public Affairs Susan M. Cleary and representatives of the US Embassy Public Affairs Department.

The Polish Community was represented by the Chairman of the Irish-Polish Society, dr Jaroslaw Plachecki, and Forum Polonia’s Steering Committee Member, Beata Molendowska.

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