Jubilee Debt Campaign Birmingham


Posted on: November 7, 2009

Birmingham born Stephen Rand Co- Chair of Jubilee Debt Campaign shares his thoughts on news of our latest Jubilee multifaith project

Stephen randOn Wednesday 18 November, at the heart of the national Inter Faith Week, Jubilee Debt Campaign will launch GLOBAL POVERTY, SEEKING JUSTICE – PEOPLE OF FAITH IN ACTION. This national project, based in Birmingham, will focus on building awareness and encouraging action on global poverty, with a particular focus on the issue of poor country debt.

I think this is a really significant initiative. There is a desperate need for further action on debt and global poverty. Faith communities and organisations have already played a vital role in the campaign; it’s time to build on past activities and engagement and together – in and through our faith communities, locally and nationally – raise awareness of the issues and speak out for justice.

The media often highlights the moments and places where religion is cause of division. That’s why I’m glad to be associated with something that sees people of different faiths recognising the common bond of humanity and the shared desire to combat poverty and seek justice.

We don’t have to compromise anything we believe in order to act together for the greater good; in fact the opposite is true. If people truly believe, seeking justice and caring about poverty and people who are poor is the highest priority.

The steering group for the project, which I chair, has representatives from the Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh communities. Salma Hamid is a member of the group, the Birmingham Coordinator for Islam Awareness Week, which shares the dates of Inter Faith Week. She says, “The theme for Islam Awareness Week 2009 is ‘Walk the Talk,’ about recognising our common humanity, celebrating our diversity and respecting each other. The Jubilee Debt campaign initiative is a great way to build links and get people to work together for the common good.”

Ever since 70,000 people formed a human chain around Birmingham in 1998, urging the G8 leaders to ‘Drop the Debt’, Birmingham – with its rich diversity of faith groups – has played a key role in the campaign. It makes me proud to be a Brummie!

The launch of the multi-faith project will be part of a meeting for Inter Faith Week to be held in The Bordesley Centre, Birmingham, at which representatives from the Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh communities will show how they are engaged with issues of world poverty.

I have no doubt that the campaign to Drop the Debt is one of the most significant global people movements in history. Much has been achieved – but much remains to be done. At a time of global economic crisis, people of faith taking action together to seek justice demonstrates that our common values can bring people together to make a difference on global poverty.


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