Members of the multi-ethnic Holyland community in South Belfast will come together for a street food party on June 18 to celebrate the legacy of MP Jo Cox on the first anniversary of her death.
The Holyland Summer Gathering and Big Lunch is part of the UK-wide Great Get Together involving the Eden Project Big Lunch, with the Jo Cox Foundation, thousands of community groups and the Glastonbury Festival.
The aim is to remember Jo Cox MP, by bringing people together through food and celebration. More than 105,000 events have already been planned throughout the UK
Brendan Cox, husband of Jo, who was murdered in her Batley and Spen constituency on June 16 last year, has asked people to get together to share food with their neighbours and celebrate what they have in common.
Mr Cox said that the political extremist who killed his wife was trying to divide communities and he could think of no better response to her death than to bring communities together to celebrate her energy, community spirit, enthusiasm and passion for life.
One of the organisers of the South Belfast event, Brid Ruddy said it was vital to recognise the contribution of Jo Cox, who did so much to help Refugees and Asylum Seekers and promoted a message of tolerance and respect for all.
She added: “In the Holyland and University area, we are a diverse community, including young families, house-owners, flat dwellers, students and newcomer families. All are welcome to join us in celebrating what unites and in building a strong community free of violence and anti-social behaviour. We will eat together in a shared celebration and enjoy music and dance from the diverse cultures that make up this unique area.”
The Great Get Together will involve people of different faiths and ethnic groupings as they cook up a range of world foods and come together to celebrate diversity and the common good.
Stephanie Mitchell, of South Belfast Roundtable an organisation set up to tackle racism and promote diversity, runs the Belfast Friendship Club (BFC) in Common Grounds Café, a safe and inclusive space, welcoming people from around the world as well as locals too.
The club also runs the Global Kitchen project, a catering course teaching international cookery and food hygiene. Members of the Friendship Club and Global Kitchen will be involved in preparing and serving the food under the direction of ‘Urban Community Chef’, Mark Humphries.
Stephanie said: “This is our second Big Lunch run in association with City Church and Common Grounds. We have attracted up to 250 people in the past and this year’s event is also in association with the Jo Cox Foundation, Holyland Residents Association and the Muslim Family Association. It is all about expanding what we do at BFC every week – celebrating unity in diversity”
The event, which also includes an Open Mike world music session, children’s activities and a Chinese Dragon Parade organised by Craic NI, takes place at City Church in University Avenue, Muslim Family Centre and Wildflower Alley on Sunday 18 June from 12 until 4pm.
Food will be provided but in the spirit of the Big Lunch participants have been asked to bring additional food such as salads, deserts and drink for people to share.
As part of the festivities, there will be unveiling of a new mural painted by six Muslim schoolgirls in Wildflower Alley. The event will take place during Ramadan and the Muslim Family Association on Rugby Road will be open on the day with members giving an explanation of what the festival is all about
Brenda Skillen, Secretary of the Northern Ireland Muslim Family Association, said her community was delighted to be associated with the ideals of Jo Cox and the work taking place in South Belfast to bring people together.
“It is important to show support for the Jo Cox Foundation and show that we stand against any attempts to create division. South Belfast is a diverse community and is a shining example of how people from different ethnic backgrounds can live together in peace.”
For further information or to speak to any of the organisers please contact: Gary Kelly on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07581282723
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