National Hate Crime Awareness Week 2017, an initiative led by Stop Hate UK, took place from 14th to 21st October all over the country. The main purpose of #NHCAW was to encourage local authorities, and organisations to work with communities affected by hate crime to raise awareness of hate crime and address local hate crime issues. For us at Communities Inc, this was a great opportunity to encourage agencies and communities to report hate crime and consider ways to work together to build a safer society.
On Monday (16th October), we delivered Hate Crime Awareness Training for Nottingham City Homes Residents and Tenants.
The training aimed to raise awareness of hate crime for residents and tenants of Nottingham City Homes, including some ‘block champions’. It was a lively session with lots of discussion about what hate crime is, how it affects people and communities and what people could do if they were affected. Evaluation of the sessions showed that people increased their knowledge and understanding of hate crime, increased their confidence in the Police to take hate crime seriously and improved their confidence in delivering activities themselves that promoted community cohesion.
Tuesday (17th October) we partnered with Nottingham Contemporary to bring the public a free screening of the acclaimed documentary ‘I am not your Negro’.
Based on James Baldwin unfinished manuscript ‘Remember This House’, the film explores the history of racism in the United States through Baldwin’s memories of civil rights leaders and his friends, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. The film was very well received by our audience, with over 100 people attending the screening. The night finished on a high, with a quiz based on the documentary- the two winners got a perfect score and won Five Leaves Bookshop vouchers. Overall, the event was a great way to initiate discussions around topics such as race, discrimination and equal rights, as well a brilliant opportunity to socialise and find out more about hate crime.
On Wednesday (19th October), we ran Interactive Dialogue with the Polish Community in Bassetlaw.
The dialogue took place at CSL (who are based in Manton, Worksop) between the Polish community and members from statutory agencies in Bassetlaw. The aim of the session was to help people to step out of their usual way of thinking and encourage them to see things from other people’s perspectives and in particular explore the prejudice members of the Polish community face. The interactive session was welcomed by all participants who appreciated the opportunity to discuss and get to know more about the Polish community.
The following day, (Thursday 20th October) we headed to Clifton for our monthly Walk the Talk.
This month’s walk took us to the Clifton Holme Pit and the theme of the talk was ‘tackling hate crime together’. We invited the participants to discuss ways in which communities can unite to take a stance against intolerance and prejudice. Despite of the rainy weather, the walk was very enjoyable and informative, with all participants really engaging in meaningful dialogues.
We were also visited by our friends from Notts TV- please see the video they produced below.
Also on Thursday, our director Shamsher Chohan attended the Building a Stronger Britain Together (BSBT) Conference 2017.
The event took place in London, bringing together civil society organisations who work to create more resilient communities, stand up to extremism in all its forms and offer vulnerable individuals a positive alternative.
Communities Inc is one of 126 partners to date, who have received support to deliver programmes against the goals set out in the Counter Extremism Strategy, promoting positive messages about shared values and tackling dangerous narratives.
Baroness Williams, Minister for State for Countering Extremism introduced the day reminding everyone that we have a daunting task ahead of us as it only takes one event to create havoc and give those that seek to undermine shared values reasons to react.
Actor and TV presenter, Reggie Yates shared his recent experience of making documentaries including with far-right groups in Russia and white slums in South Africa. The experiences he had allowed him to bring the issues of oppression and discrimination to a wider audience, particularly young people.
Nazir Afzal, former Chief Crown Prosecutor of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for North West England, ended the conference sharing the backlash he experienced from far-right groups following his prosecutions in the case of the Rochdale sex trafficking gang, overturning an earlier decision by the CPS.
Finally, on Friday (20th October) we joined British Transport Police on their ‘Day of Action’ at Nottingham Train Station, to raise awareness of hate crime.
Gourmet Coffee provided free drinks to anyone wanting to have a conversation about hate crime or community safety. We had over 120 interactions on the day with members of the public who by far were receptive and positive about engaging with us.