Education Projects Updates

Black Lives Matter Here

Image above of St. Martin-in-the-Fields church, London. Taken from twitter.com/smitf_london 
As with everyone else, we have been shocked by the events in the US of the last few weeks and we stand with all those who believe that Black Lives Matter, that racism is a real and systemic problem both in the US and here in Ireland and who lament our broken world.
As a response we want to amplify the voices of Black people and of people of colour, both within and outside the extended ACET family. So here are some resources we have found useful over the past while:
Jemar Tisby and Tyler Burns run a wonderful podcast in the US called Pass the Mic. Here they are interviewed by RNS on the recent events. Jemar makes an excellent point when he states that:

“The problem, especially with white evangelical Christians, is that they tend to think the problem of racism is primarily how I feel and act individually towards someone else. That’s things like using a racial slur, excluding someone from your business. So if that’s the problem, then the solution is well, then I’m going to treat people nicely, and some of my best friends are black. What they fail to realize is that racism operates on a systemic level, too.”

Jemar joins activists from either side of the Atlantic on this Greenbelt Festival conversation on Black Lives Matter: Is the church complicit?
We do not do church planting in ACET and we are not a church, but we have found in the work of decolonising church planting and the exploration of what a multi-ethnic church really is that there are many resonances with our ethos and values. Dominance, equity, justice, gentrification, incarnation, colonialist practices and displacement all get highlighted by the team at the V3 Movement here.
In 2016 we had an office on O’Connell Street overlooking the GPO. Observing the centenary of the Easter Rising began a journey of exploring theology and place – that the story of the soil beneath our feet and the place we share life with others is not incidental to our present circumstances. Here is the Yale University Professor Willie Jennings, the foremost voice on the theology of race and place, with his response to recent events.
Rev. Sandra Moon from Kentucky, USA, was the guest preacher at Lucan Presbyterian Church, one of our supporting churches where some of our staff attend. Her sermon on the language of Anti-Racism begins 11:25 in.
We know from experience that ‘delocalising’ is one of the traps of responding to any justice issue. This is where one cites the voice of someone overseas who you already agree with while ignoring the voice of the person directly affected on your street or in your city or in your pew. This has been seen recently with the treatment of LGBT Christians in Ireland. So following our emphasis on the importance of race and place here are some resources from those you share the soil with:
Our Board member Dr. Ebun Joseph is a passionate advocate for black people in Ireland, not least in her field of academia. Check out her Twitter handle.
The team at VOX magazine is in the middle of a series on racism and this includes many voices we have had the privilege of working alongside in ACET. Pastor Gerard Chimbganda, our near neighbour in the North East Inner City of Dublin, begins the series.
Gerard and ACET CEO, Richard Carson, joined together to review two books on race for VOX magazine in 2018. See their discussion.
Finally, Kevin Hargaden from the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice, up the road from us on Gardiner Street, reminds us that Ireland’s treatment of the Travelling Community long demonstrates that the Irish criminal justice system is already racist.
In the V3 movement webinar above, Erica Wrencher cautions against the ‘snippeting’ of ethnic minorities, that is where those of us in the majority take a tiny picture of the culture and life of the other and think that we have now become multi-ethnic as we “consume the McDonalds nugget” from a place of scarcity. We are acutely aware that a truly shared life with our neighbours will require a long and steady journey of lament, confession and repentance. A reading list is not the answer. But we hope these resources are a help and that they point us back to a new beginning.

 

 

 

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Yvon Luky joins our team

Yvon Luky has joined our team as a Faith and Ethnic Communities Worker. He will be driving our Testing, Awareness, Integration project as together with the HSE, agencies across Ireland work to reduce the incidence of HIV and end the story of AIDS. Luky has over twenty years of experience working with minority ethnic communities in Ireland including with his own Minority Health and Wellbeing Initiative. He has a Masters in Public Health from UCD and a degree in Digital Technology from DIT and has been central to the development of the Platforme des Églises Francophones d’Irlande including with his own church, La Grace in Dublin. For more on the project click here.

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Where can I test for HIV?


Where can I test for HIV?

ACET’s new rapid HIV testing service is free, confidential and the result is available within 60 seconds. Contact us at 018787700 or text HTS to 0868374350 to arrange a test.

We have a range of people ready to offer testing and we can come to your faith community, ethnic association or other settings with workshops on HIV which help those we work alongside to understand the changed reality of HIV and how together we can challenge HIV-related stigma.

Rapid HIV testing in the community is just one way to access the test. For a broader picture across the country. head over to the Free HIV & STI Testing Locator Map from our friends at HIV Ireland.

All these testing sites across the island of Ireland offer free and confidential testing. Some require an appointment to be made, some are walk-in. Most offer rapid testing with immediate results.

If you are living with HIV this test can lead you to the life-saving treatment which means you cannot pass it on. Across Ireland in our towns, villages, cities, colleges, workplace, places of worship, sports clubs and more, there are people living with HIV. They are living healthy lives yet still often experience much of the stigma associated with the virus. Contact us to see how we can work together to overcome this stigma.

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New Dates: Parent/Teen Communication Course

10.00 am – 4.00 pm

Saturday 8 June  and Saturday 22nd June

Praise Tabernacle Church, Portland Row, Dublin 1

ACET, in partnership with Praise Tabernacle Church, are bringing their Open College Network accredited course to the North East Inner City.

Attendance at the two full Saturdays with brief, integrated assignments will lead to an OCN Level 2 (comparable to QQI Level 5/6) Certificate.

Topics covered in an interactive setting with experienced facilitators include Understanding Teenage Development, Listening Skills, Conflict Resolution, Talking to Teenages about Sex and Relationships.

This course is for parents of teenagers and younger children, youth workers, children’s workers and community workers.

Cost: €40

To book; dublin@acet.ie

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Mind the Gap – Report Launch

We were delighted to welcome a wonderful group of HIV activists, social workers, medical professionals, faith leaders, surveillance specialists, community workers and many more to the launch of Mind the Gap – our report on the low uptake of HIV testing among Black African people in Ireland.

Ifedinma Dimbo presented the findings which explored the role of the HIV=death narrative in the memories of black-African people in Ireland. She also explained the ways in which those we interviewed perceive illness and the cultural barriers at work when assuming health checks are embraced in the same way by all people. Ifedinma also highlighted the powerful impact of stigma and how it plays out through secrecy and privacy in black African communities.

ACET CEO, Richard Carson explained how the findings impact ACET’s own project on awareness and testing with faith communities and then led a discussion on integration in Ireland which challenged those present to de-centre the White-Irish assumptions which shape so much of the work in this area.

To download and read the report click below or email us at dublin@acet.ie to receive a hard copy in the post.

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Barriers to HIV testing for migrants in Ireland

Ifedinma Dimbo has stepped off our Board of Trustees to join our staff team as a researcher.

Ifedinma in Barcelona.

Ifedinma will be asking the question “How can we overcome barriers to HIV testing for African migrants in Ireland?” Drawing from her expertise as a PhD candidate in UCC and her work on migrant experiences of our health system, Ifedinma is looking forward to getting stuck into the challenges of the research.

She hit the ground running when gaining a place on the M-Care project of the European AIDS Treatment Group which draws 20 activists and practitioners on HIV and migrants from across the continent for shared learning. Her first session with M-Care was in Barcelona in March; she will be in Frankfurt in May and in Warsaw in July.

M-Care group at their first session in Barcelona.

 

 

 

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U = U

Health News: In 2017, leading global health bodies confirmed that when it comes to HIV, Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U).

This means that if a person has an undetectable viral load (linked to adherence to their medication) then sexual transmission of HIV is impossible, even if a condom is not used.

In education and training sessions, the enormity of U=U is starting to hit home. How we communicate risk and perceived risk to a group has radically changed. Those living with HIV are no longer, necessarily, the focus of attention. When it comes to transmission risk our energies have shifted to those who are unaware of their status as opposed to those who are aware and taking control of their health. This redefining and refocussing is exciting and opens up a new chapter in approaching the end of the pandemic.

Yet, I have been reflecting on why it takes a medical advance and the concrete realities of transmission for us to be enthused in affirming the positive status of those living with HIV in our midst. In the Bible it says that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” People living with HIV have always carried a dignity and identity as image bearers of God. Treatment advances do not necessitate that truth from being real.  It was always there and it has always called us to live in resistance to the stigma that so many encounter.

 

Image: Prevention Access Campaign

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Culture and Faith in the North East Inner City

In March, 30 leaders and representatives of a broad range of faith communities and faith-based organisations from Dublin’s North East Inner City gathered together to explore their shared past, present and future. Led by the partnership of ACET Ireland and Dublin City Interfaith Forum, the group were inspired in their conversations and new connections by the inputs of the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Micheál Mac Donncha, Fr. Peter McVerry and Salome Mbugua of Akidwa.

Peter McVerry’s comments struck a particular chord as he encouraged those attending to “spend your week demonstrating the dignity of all, which is declared at your worship services on the weekend.” Those weekly activities include supporting asylum seekers and refugees, addressing unemployment, international development, community development, youth work, prison work, responding to addiction, homelessness and HIV, education, leadership development, supporting migrant women, working with travellers, encouraging the creative arts and much more.

“This is a great opportunity to establish a positive framework for interfaith work in this local community of rich diversity and significance,” commented Adrian Cristea of the Dublin City Interfaith Forum.

“For some faith communities and organisations there is little connection with the area in which they worship and operate. Our hope is that this event will start to change that,” stated Richard Carson of ACET Ireland.

Cover Photo: Fr. Michael Casey (Salesians, Our Lady of Lourdes, Sean McDermott St), Br. Pat Geraghty (Christian Brothers, North Richmond Street), Michael O’Sullivan (Columbans, Store Street).

The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Micheál Mac Donncha.

Fr Peter McVerry addresses the group.

Salome Mbugua of Akidwa addressed the need for positive integration of migrant in Ireland and the role faith communities can play at a local level. “To make integration happen we must work in solidarity. We must move beyond words and create opportunities for everyone.”

Joe Kerrigan (Trinity Church Network, Gardiner Street), Philip McKinley (Discovery Gospel Choir, Cathal Brugha St), Dave Gardner (Urban Soul/Street Pastors).

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Culture, Faith and Community Event

Learning from the past and looking to a shared future: 

You are invited to this important upcoming event which is part of Dublin’s North East Inner City’s regeneration project (www.neic.ie). We are gathering leaders and members from a  wide range of faith communities and faith-informed organizations in the NEIC, alongside community workers, activists and residents engaged with issues of justice, diversity, integration and community development.

Speakers include:

  • Terry Fagan – North Inner City Folklore Project
  • Salome Mbugua – AkiDwA
  • Lord Mayor of Dublin, Ardmhéara Micheál Mac Donncha
  • Father Peter McVerry SJ

All are welcome.

Thursday, 15 March, 9.30-1.00, Edmund Rice House, North Richmond Street, Dublin 1

Hosted by Dublin City Interfaith Forum and ACET.

Thanks to Dublin North East Inner City.

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Happy Christmas!

Thank you all for your interest and support throughout 2017. We are looking forward to 2018 with hope.

We wish all of you a very happy and peaceful Christmas,

the ACET team:

Richard, Terrie, Vivienne, Olivia, Hansi and Lynn

Our office is closed until 8 January 2018.

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