It’s been momentous. It will outlive us all.
At 3pm on Friday, Trinity College will bestow doctorates upon the finest. Hina Jilani, Graça Machel, Peter McVerry SJ and Tomas (Tomi) Reichental will all step forth. Jilani is a renowned lawyer and civil society activist. Marcel is one of the foremost advocates for women and children’s rights and has been a social and political activist over many decades. McVerry is a tireless social campaigner. Reichenstal is a Bergen-Belsen concentration camp survivor and lifelong advocate of racial and religious tolerance. Oh and David Norris and Rory O’Neill (aka Dr Bliss) will be there amongst the finest collecting their scrolls.
We almost feel apologetic to praise and acclaim gay activists yet again this year. What a weird thing to write. What a great thing to feel. But lest us forget, in the year of our Panti 2015, before this came struggle and opprobrium and so much more. And someone was a voice among the few for others throughout the 18 years and many more before it was legally acceptable to be oneself.
At 4pm when the honorary doctors roll out for their Breda Fitzsimons Irish Times photo shoot. We suggest you be there for that one moment in time. A reason to fill the frame with faces instead of cobbled stones. Because this is not the work of one man or one woman. This is a ribbon and feather boa moment for everyone to let free in the wind. A collective spirit spanning generations. A meaningful moment without Gerry Adams. Never forget to appreciate and celebrate. Hug it out forever. Be there.