This Saturday (June 10), a special ceremony will be held in Aberystwyth to honour Eileen Beasley's contribution to Welsh life. This is the woman who is widely acknowledged as the Rosa parks of the Welsh language movement.
Ms Beasley and her family's brave stance during the 1950's was the inspiration for generations of Welsh men and women who have campaigned for justice for the Welsh language. This campaigning continues today with Cymdeithas yr Iaith's call for a Welsh Language Act.This important ceremony will be held as part of Cymdeithas yr Iaith's Language festival, which will be held in the Great Hall at Aberystwyth's Arts Centre. The ceremony will be led by Professor Hywel Teifi Edwards and as part of the event a special 'cywydd' will be presented to Ms Beasley, which has been prepared by the Chaired Poet Gerallt Lloyd Owen.Following the ceremony honouring Eileen Beasley the festival will turn into a large rally calling for a New Welsh Language Act. Among those taking part in the rally will be Ieuan Wyn Jones AM, leader of Plaid Cymru. In addition messages of support from Eleanor Burnham AM from the Liberal Democrats and Lisa Francis AM from the Conservative Party will be read out.Catrin Dafydd, leader of the campaign for a New Welsh Language Act said:"Many years ago, Eileen Beasley and her family made a pioneering stand, which emphasised that the people of Wales should have the right to use the Welsh language and the right to receive services through the medium of Welsh. Since then, there have been many important developments, however people across Wales are still being denied the right to use the Welsh language when performing various daily tasks.""The Assembly Government must introduce a new Welsh Language Act, which will establish a series o basic language rights for the people of Wales. By now we can see a substantial consensus emerging in favour of such an act. This is a consensus, which includes Cymdeithas yr Iaith, The Welsh Language Board, many of the opposition parties and also influential individuals such as John Elfed Jones and Lord Gwilym Prys Davies"The Language Festival in Aberystwyth will take place at the end of a busy week for Cymdeithas yr Iaith. At 2 pm tomorrow (June 6), Angharad Blythe of Llandwrog will appear before Cardiff Magistrates Court. She faces charges of criminal damage after taking part in Cymdeithas yr Iaith's direct action campaign for a New Welsh Language Act. She is one of the 36 members to take part in this campaign since the beginning of October 2005.A Note on Eileen BeasleyNow in her eighties, Eileen Beasley is the Rosa Parks of Wales. During the 1950's she, and her late husband Trefor Beasley lived in Llangennech near Llanelli. At the time 90% of the population in the area spoke Welsh. Even all the councillors on the local council spoke Welsh as well as the council officials. Therefore when a note demanding the local rates arrived from 'The Rural District Council of Llanelly', Mrs Beasley wrote to ask for it in Welsh. It was refused. She refused to pay the rates until she got the note in Welsh.She and her husband were summoned more than a dozen times to appear before the Magistrates Court. Mr and Mrs Beasley insisted that the court proceedings should be in Welsh. Three times did the bailiffs carry off furniture from their home, the furniture being worth more than the rates, which were demanded. This went on for eight years. In 1960 Mr and Mrs Beasley finally, received a bilingual note demanding the local rates.