Irish American community leaders have been speaking of their hopes for the future ahead of the Big Irish Campfire in Iona University, New Rochelle, NY, on 19 August.
Natalie Nugent O'Shea, Executive Director of the Celtic Junction Arts Center in Saint Paul, MN, says the starting point on the rebuilding journey for Irish American organisations as the pandemic eases is right here, right now.
"The best way to build a bright future for Irish America is to start right here where we are standing — here, at home, where we are," she says in a special video message to the 2022 cohort of 'campers'. "There is nothing people need more in this world than to come together with other people to find a common place and to have a purpose."
The Celtic Junction co-founder, who will address the Campfire on the centre's transatlantic partnership with the Aonach Mhacha Irish language hub in Armagh, also gives a special shout out to the work of the African American Irish Diaspora Network and I Am Irish which are pushing the boundaries of Irish American outwards.
Also addressing the Campfire will be Liam Reidy, President of the United Irish Cultural Center in San Francisco, which is spearheading a $60m newbuild plan for the city's Irish center. In his message to the Campfire, he calls on Irish activists to market "our wonderful programmes of culture and arts to communities which are not normally exposed to Irish culture."