On Tuesday, February 21, Batalha Cinema Centre hosted International Mother Language Day, a date of special historical interest for the Bengali culture and language. Espaço T – Association for Social Integration Support, together with the Porto Bangladesh Community, marked the event with the 4th edition of the "2022 Interculturality Awards" initiative.
Present at the initiative was the Councillor for Education and Social Cohesion of the Porto City Hall. In his speech, Fernando Paulo recalled the historical importance of this date for the Bangladesh community, as celebrating the country's mother tongue, Bengali, "is simultaneously honouring the martyrs murdered in Dhaka (in 1952) when they were demonstrating peacefully for the defense of their language".
The ceremony also served to hand out the 2022 Interculturality Awards, which are promoted by both associations and a way to honour those who have been most distinguished for the defense and furthering of the values of Human Rights and Cultural Diversity.
The councillor responsible for Social Cohesion underlined the investment that the Municipality has made in the development of policies to "create a more socially cohesive city with greater and better opportunities" and publicly thanked the city's various organisations "for the role they play in creating and maintaining socially responsible responses and building a better future".
“The furthering of interculturality in the city is pivotal for the development of more inclusive communities, mitigating the harmful effect of social exclusion on the lives of migrant communities, and it is imperative to ensure participation in collective social life, as well as the feeling of community and belonging to the city,” said Fernando Paulo.
Espaço T is dedicated to interculturality and cultural diversity, working with national immigrants, who, through art, make their traditions and customs of their countries of origin known to everyone. The relationship with the Porto Bangladesh Community, stated a communication from this association, arose from this work.
The struggle to defend the Bangla language, which was rejected, together with Urdu, by the Pakistani Government, led students from East Pakistan to speak out against this decision, resulting in the death of many of those who defended it.