Small steps being taken in the community to build a shared future have been captured in a new book compiled following a public consultation. The book of 100 Small Steps produced by the One Small Step Campaign includes examples of projects, initiatives and gestures taking place in communities across Northern Ireland to heal division and break down barriers. Senator George Mitchell, who wrote the book’s foreword, took delivery of the first copy off the press. The book will be launched and made available to the public after the summer.
The project was launched last November and examples have been submitted by community and voluntary organisations, sporting clubs and individual members of the public over the past seven months. The 100 examples for the book were selected from the submissions by the One Small Step committee of senior figures representing various aspects of society.
Examples include a cross-community sports tournament for children created by a 21-year old trainee teacher in Crumlin, a community-inspired project to replace sectarian murals in Portadown, a joint church service taking in four churches of different denominations in Larne which involved dozens of young people walking on foot between the different churches and a cross-community mosaic project in the North West.
One Small Step Campaign Chairman, Trevor Ringland, says: “A wealth of actions have been taking place by individuals and organisations trying to build a shared future in their communities through small steps. These steps have been so important in building the foundation for our politicians to make their historic agreement and will drive Northern Ireland forward to further positive change. This project seeks to recognise their contribution and to help inspire others to follow suit.”
Writing in the 100 Small Steps book’s foreword, Senator George Mitchell says: “Northern Ireland is an inspirational example of transformation to peace and stability after 30 years of violence and political instability. The major developments surrounding political negotiations and the ending of paramilitary violence have deservedly received publicity on a global scale. But it is also clear that the commitment and courage of many individuals and groups working within and between communities played a significant part in creating the conditions for peace and political accommodation.”
“This remarkable publication should give us all confidence that peace will last because it illustrates how at every level of society peace building work continues. Individual small steps they may be but taken together they represent a groundswell of community commitment for a new and shared future for all the people of Northern Ireland. This work deserves praise and every encouragement to continue,” Senator Mitchell adds.