More than 1,000 people attended on Saturday, 16th of September, the tribute to Francesc Martínez de Foix, one of the greatest figures of the intellectual disability sector in the country, who died on the 17th of July at the age of 63.
The event, organized jointly by Special Olympics Catalunya i Espanya, Federació ACELL, Grup Cooperatiu TEB, Dincat-Plena inclusió, DKV Integralia, Federació de Cooperatives de Treball de Catalunya and Xarxa Ambiental, took place at INEFC Barcelona premises with the participation of family, friends, colleagues and representatives of the disability, sport, cooperativism and politics sectors.
In his speech, president Carles Puigdemont highlighted the great legacy of Francesc Martínez de Foix and the need to continue it jointly by Public Administrations and social organisations to “make a better country”. He pointed out his “strength, courage, honesty and insistence” and that “never surrendered” to change social injustices. The councellor of Labour, Social Affairs and Families, Dolors Bassa, praised his “entrepreneurial” role, leading projects always “cooperatively and democratically”.
Gerard Figueras, Generalitat’s general secretary of Sport, stated that “with him we shared the vision that, if one day we become a real country, people should have the same opportunity to practice sports”. Laia Ortiz, councillor of Social Rights of Barcelona’s City Council, recalled how he “improved the city”, promoting proximity, inclusive and cooperative initiatives .
The event, which went through the main contributions of Martinez de Foix in three areas: rights and family, work and cooperativism and promotion of sport, also featured emotional performances by artists Tortell Poltrona, Toni Albà, Quique Malabares and Txell Sust, as well as the TEBVist team, an online television operated by people with intellectual disabilities promoted by Francesc Martínez de Foix himself. The homage was presented by TV3 journalist Bernat Soler with the collaboration of journalists Pitu Abril, Josep Maria Soro and actress Marta Bayarri.
Commitment to work, sport and cooperativism
Throughout his professional career, Francesc Martínez de Foix stood out for his commitment to people with intellectual disabilities and the values of cooperativism and the social economy. Among others, he directed TEB Cooperative Group and promoted and headed the Catalan Federation of Sports for People with Intellectual Disability (ACELL) and Special Olympics Catalonia and Spain. He was also vice president of Dincat-Plena Inclusió Federation and member of the Federation of Labour Cooperatives of Catalonia. In 2012, he received the Sant Jordi Cross from Generalitat.