For those who have died from drugs / alcohol
21st July 2012
What is it?
International Remembrance Day is an official day to remember those we have lost through drugs and alcohol. It is a day that has been developed by the drug using community and is now held openly in many cities and countries around the world, such as Germany, Australia, Denmark, Sweden, Canada and now Britain.
Black Poppy hosted the UK’s 1st International Remembrance Day in Kennington Park London in 2008 and had speakers from our community (drug users, drug workers and advocates) as well as music, a remembrance book, remembrance readings and the releasing of 21 doves. This year Black Poppy want to make more people and services aware of this special day and encourage others to do something special in their own areas. By raising awareness, BP hopes that by July 21st 2010 when we hold the next event, others around the country will also be doing something special, or may come together with BP to create a bigger focus on this important day.
What can you do in your area?
Some suggestions for some of the things you could do in your clinic, drop in or service, over the 2 week period surrounding the 21st are:
• Have a Remembrance Book available for people to write in over the 2 weeks surrounding the 21st July. This can be brought out each year, or at any intervening days when people wish to record and remember someone’s death.
• Use a pinboard area to stick up photos, messages, poems.
• Light a candle each day on the 2 weeks surrounding the 21st, with the attached International Remembrance Day text nearby, or your own. (This is also a good place to put your remembrance book)
• Hold an event, in your local park, garden, read out remembrances, have someone or several people speak, play chosen songs/music. It could also be a protest to call for a stop to drug related deaths.
• Have a special lunch or remembrance dinner in your service.
• Involve your community: Speak to local community groups, parents and carers, Salvation Army or hostels etc and faith based groups to see if they want to participate. Faith groups could provide singing/gospel music, as can some homeless charities.
• Put up a poster of the Day. (BP is aiming to provide a poster in PDF form so services can print it out and pin it on the wall ensuring people are aware of the day. We will get it out by the 1st July).
• Plant a tree or special rose bush. There are some plants that are especially used for remembrance. You can also start a memorial
garden, or create a quiet area in your services garden if you have one.
• Put up a plaque or sculpture in your local park, your service wall, or area frequented by D & A users.
• Use the Dove symbol: BP used the symbol of a dove in 2008’s Remembrance Day as it represents human rights, dignity, hope and remembrance.
• Create mementos such as wristbands, with the day imprinted on it that people can keep. (cost is around £300 for 500 in 2 colours such as B&W). Also t-shirts, badges, posters and postcards. All inexpensive yet awareness raising.
• Overdose training: Deliver OD training through peer education or in house at your service.
• Media awareness Speak to your local radio and press and try and get them involved on the day. Put out a press release if you are having an event and encourage media to cover it if you wish.Put an advert in the local paper to raise awareness.
• Campaign: Speak to your local health authority, encourage OD information distribution, discuss death rates in your area and how to reduce them.
Things to be aware of:
Holding an event in any public space will require council approval and Public liability Insurance.
When involving other groups, such as parents and carers or larger organisations such as the Salvation Army or other charities, it is important to keep the event focused –that it is an event by and for the drug using community. Some countries (such as Australia) have had their day ‘overtaken’ by others with a different agenda, such as the ‘drugs are evil, lock up all the drug dealers, protect our children, and harrowing family tragedies. International Remembrance Day is User Led. It is for us to give a space for remembrance with dignity, respect, hope and tenderness.
How to give feedback of your day:
Please note: If you would like to let people know of your special day, contact
Black Poppy : firstname.lastname@example.org 0207 622 7770
Drink and Drug News : email@example.comRepublish