Good morning from Belfast! I cannot begin to reflect how amazing this trip has been thus far. Yesterday was quite an amazing day. We started off with morning business and proceeded over to PIPS, the suicide prevention community agency that we are working very close with while we are here, and met with a civil servant, Martin Bell, who represents the needs of the local communities. This civil servant would be equivalent to that of an Alderman in Chicago if I were to attempt to draw a parallel.
The day continued with a nice lunch at a quaint little Deli in West Belfast. Weproceeded to then have a special audience at Storemont, the Northern Irish “Parliament” if you will. We met with a member of the Sinn Feín political party, Carál Ní Chuilín . Sinn Feín literally translates to “Ourselves Alone.” I cannot begin to understand the significance of naming a political party this way. In the US we have our liberals and our conservatives which in many people’s view, overlap in so many different ways. But to be involved in a political party that truly represents the needs and the views of the people and not run by the influence of lobbyists is incredible.
Later in the evening we were special guests in the T-factor after party, a benefit that has run over the previous 12 weeks as their take on the X- factor or American Idol. Nonetheless, it was a blast being able to meet other members in the community. I will be posting photos soon.
We have a long day ahead of us with family interviews with those affected by suicide. Long updates to come. Be well!