World Day for the Rejection of Extreme Poverty in Rome
Commemoration of the Victims of Extreme Poverty
Testimonies and messages of solidarity
17 October 2018, 6 pm
Churchyard of the Basilica of St. John Lateran
Piazza di S. Giovanni in Laterano, 4
This year the 2018 celebration of the World Day for the Rejection of Extreme Poverty is ideally linked to the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (December 10, 1948) and to the 70th anniversary of the Italian Constitution. In article 3, the latter states that “all citizens have equal social dignity and are equal before the law, without any distinction in terms of gender, race, language, religion, political opinions, or personal and social conditions.”
In Rome, we will gather around the Tombstone in honor of the victims of Extreme Poverty, on the churchyard of the Basilica of St. John Lateran, for a one-hour ceremony. We will listen to the voice of people who live in precariousness and poverty, the voice of the citizens who work side by side with them, and the voices of the 7 Hills Gospel Choir.
“On October 17th, we shall listen to very poor people who will share how difficult it is to raise one’s children, have a decent home, feel isolated, not being heard… Each time they prepare to speak out thanks to the support of others who believe in them. On October 17th, more than anything else, they want to say to the world, ‘I’m someone!’” (Jean Stallings, USA, member of the October 17 International Committee)
On October 17, 1987, more than 100,000 people gathered in the large square of the Trocadero in Paris where the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed in 1948. On the “Tombstone in honor of the victims of extreme poverty” inaugurated on that day, the following words by Father Joseph Wresinski are engraved: “Wherever people are doomed to live in extreme poverty, human rights are violated. Joining to enforce them is a sacred duty.”
Today there are many replicas of this tombstone in the world.