The ongoing restrictions caused by Covid-19 mean the organisers of the annual Famine Walk in Louisburgh, Co Mayo have been forced to postpone the iconic event. The walk, organised by peace and justice organisation Afri, has been a popular annual event attended by 100s each year since 1988. Despite the disappointment, organisers intend marking the spirit of the event through a free ‘Virtual Famine Walk’ event featuring conversation and music that will be livestreamed online on Saturday, May 16 at 7pm. One of the guest musicians is renowned violinist Colm Mac Con Iomaire who says he’s looking forward to the special gathering.
“As generous donations continue to flow this week from Ireland to the Navajo and Hopi Nations we are once again reminded of the living legacy of our ‘Great Hunger’. There are many aspects to this legacy, there is light and there is shadow. To know where we are from and what happened to us is key in plotting a way forward in the time we now find ourselves in. I’m happy to be a part of this very important conversation,” says Colm.
The Afri virtual Famine Walk event is supported by Irish Aid, Concern and Trócaire. The free online event takes place as an online livestream broadcast with guests from different locations across Ireland. It will be broadcast on the Afri – Action from Ireland Facebook page and on Afri’s YouTube channel this coming Saturday, May 16 between 7pm-8.30pm. It will be hosted by campaigner and author of Hitching for Hope, Ruairí McKiernan and feature contributions from renowned violinist Colm Mac Con Iomaire, Emer Lynam and singer and songwriters RoJ Whelan and Paul O’Toole. There will also be guest speakers including Emeritus Professor John Maguire, author and Lecturer Dr Clare O’Grady Walshe, MASI (Movement of Asylum Seekers) member Donnah Vuma and 17-year-old County Offaly climate activist Gráinne Malone.
“We need to believe that each of us has the power to make the changes, individually and collectively for our future. Having been involved in the Paris Climate Strike and in the RTÉ Climate Action Youth Assembly, I feel empowered by the voices of my peers. I find courage, too, from people I have met on this journey, from people who surround me and from movements like Afri,” says Gráinne.
The event comes at a time when Irish people are responding in huge numbers to the plight of the Navajo and Hopi people in the US who have been badly affected by Covid-19. The groundswell of fundraising and support has been inspired by the memory of the 1847 Choctaw people’s donation to Irish people during an Gorta Mór, the great hunger.
“It is links like this that Afri seeks to keep alive,” says Afri Coordinator Joe Murray.
“Our online event promises to be a lively and interactive event with great discussion and music. I think it will offer a lot of light and hope during this particularly difficult time on our planet. We’re looking forward to welcoming people who tune in from all around the world,” he added.
While the event is free to join, Afri are encouraging people to consider fundraising and supporting Afri in whatever way they can. For more information see www.afri.ie.