World Red Cross Day May 8, 2023 speech by the President of the Dominica Red Cross – Reginald Winston

World Red Cross Day is a day dedicated to human kindness and to doing everything from the heart.  We put kindness into the picture; even if acts of kindness seem small they make a big difference.  On this day, we highlight the many volunteers who have dedicated their lives to help others.

Tutti Fratelli – We are brothers and sisters, exclaimed a woman in Castiglione, Italy, after the devastating battle of Solferino in 1859.  With these very words, they sparked the very flame of humanity amongst the wounded and dying soldiers while providing them with care and assistance regardless of which side they had fought for.  Their courage, compassion and kindness in saving lives and alleviating suffering amid the chaos of war inspired Henry Dunant whose birthday anniversary and founding legacy of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement we celebrate today.

This year also marks the 65th Anniversary that the Dominica Red Cross has been providing humanitarian service in Dominica, and this is certainly a milestone achievement for which we want to congratulate our many volunteers and staff who undertake the humanitarian work in the different communities.  Just imagine, for more than half a century the Red Cross in Dominica has been serving and not seeking any acclaim or applause. In the last few years, COVID and disasters have spared almost no one. Our most vulnerable groups have been hit hard and many lack the means and resources to adapt.

Against this backdrop, indifference, misinformation and hate speech are creeping into common consciousness which is fracturing and polarizing our society and leading to people being rejected and dehumanized.  When the flame of humanity flickers we in the Red Cross must be alarmed and act.

Our fundamental principles carry the flame of humanity. They help to refocus people’s attention on all those in distress in one form or the other.  They are the basis of our solidarity with the Red Cross and the Red Cross volunteers and staff around the world.

On this 8th day of May we commend their admirable work and unwavering commitment as first responders in our communities and throughout the world.  Let us spread the flame of humanity and believe in the power of kindness.

The theme this year is “Everything We Do Comes #Fromtheheart”. This speaks to service from a heart filled with kindness and love to all humanity no matter what, and goes to the core of the seven fundamental principles of the International Red Cross movement. We in Dominica have planned a number of activities to mark this occasion:-  

May 8th, Open House at the La Plaine Red Cross Branch Office
May 9th and 10th, free training sessions on First Aid at the DRCS Headquarters in Goodwill [please call to register – 448-8280]
May 10th, visit to some of our schools to build awareness of the Red Cross
May 12th, simulation exercises
May 21st, Sports Day

A Happy World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day to all.

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