Stop Hate UK – Interview with Toccarra Cash

As you may remember from our recent blog, Stop Hate UK is very proud to be associated with the up and coming RoL’n Productions’ critically acclaimed play ‘Half Me, Half You’, soon to run at the Tristan Bates Theatre, in London’s Covent Garden.

The play is the remarkable writing debut of Liane Grant and explores the complex relationship of – Jess and Meredith – in incredibly evocative times in the USA, at the start of the turbulent Trump era.

The production, which received rave reviews in its recent 2018 London and New York runs, is also aiming to also raise money for Stop Hate UK.

Recently, we managed to catch up with one of the production’s leading stars, Toccarra Cash, to speak to her about her thoughts on Hate Crime in the UK, the United States and across the rest of the world, and what she feels are motivations, what role politicians play in its incitement and how we can all play a part in tackling it.

Here are the questions we put to Toccarra:

How do you think the current Hate Crime landscape compares and contrasts between the USA and the UK?

“I certainly see similarities; in the era of both Brexit in the UK and Trump in the USA, it’s a fact that we’ve seen a sharp rise in far-right, white supremacist, anti-immigrant sentiment that is spreading like a global disease – look at what happened in New Zealand just last week.

I believe these sentiments directly contribute to the horrifying rise in Hate Crimes we’re seeing perpetrated against the Muslim Community in both our countries, and against the Mexican Community in the US. But the comparison ends there for me.

This is because the sharp contrast is in the fact that, in the USA, black Americans are still the largest group to be victimised by hate crimes.

The FBI’s most recent tally of bias crimes, issued last fall, reported that black Americans have been the most frequent victims of hate crime, in every tally of bias incidents gathered since the FBI began collecting such data in the early 1990’s.

This has nothing to do with being immigrants and everything to do with an enduring legacy of racial terror, from slavery that our government refuses to rectify or even fully acknowledge.”

Much like the UK after ‘Brexit’, the United States has also gone through a period of significant political turmoil under the Trump administration. How much do you think politicians influence or have a direct effect on Hate Crime through their behaviour and rhetoric? 

“There’s no question that they have a blatant effect.

Studies have shown far and wide that, in the months of Trump’s presidential campaign, the more he used divisive, racially insensitive rhetoric, the more hate crimes were reported – and, from the moment he was elected until now, that number continues to rise.

There are so many happening, we don’t even hear about them all because the news isn’t reporting them and we often find out about them via social media from people who, thankfully, refuse to be silent about them.”

The latest FBI figures suggest that Hate Crime is on the rise in the United States, as far as right ideologies and terrorism. Why do you think this is the case?

“Well, to put it plainly, the perpetrators feel emboldened in the era of an administration that practically encourages their behaviour. They don’t feel like they have to hide anymore and there’s no shame; And, why would there be when you have a President who refers to the participants of a white supremacist, alt-right, neo-Nazi rally (in Charlottesville) as “fine people”?

What do you think would help reduce racism, discrimination and racial intolerance, and how can people make a difference?

“To be honest, that is a question that black people are exhausted of answering! We didn’t construct this monster called racism or white supremacy, so how can we really know how to reduce it?

But, in an effort to offer something, I always say white allies have to talk to the ones closest to them who they know are racist; your uncle who says problematic things at Thanksgiving; your best friend who dismisses Black Lives Matter with “All Lives Matter” rhetoric; your mother who wears a MAGA (Make America Great Again) hat.

It’s not enough to protest and march and do social media activism, you have to get personal, summon some courage and challenge those you’re most afraid to challenge. We must stop these mindsets from being handed down from one generation to another.

All the ‘ally-ship’ in the world doesn’t matter if you’re not putting it into practice with your actual family and friends.”

As an Actor, Public Speaker, Writer and Teaching Artist, what do you see as being the relationship between your work and what’s going on in the world, in particular, the events of the last few years that have contributed to the rise in Hate Crimes?

“Well, in every one of those facets, I have to keep empathy at the forefront.

Whether I’m stepping into another person’s shoes as an Actor, connecting with an audience while speaking, reflecting the humanity we all share in my writing or inspiring my students to have compassion for one another.

I would hope I’m constantly practicing the empathy I preach, and that somehow, in some way, it’s my small contribution to turning the tide.”

Do you feel the arts in general, have a responsibility to help make positive change within society, and if so, do you feel they are doing enough collectively to have an impact? What more could they do?

“Absolutely! The arts have always been a force for challenging society to face itself, and it’s no different now.

It’s hard to say if the arts are doing enough collectively to have an impact, when I know of so many artists and arts organisations that are working day and night and sacrificing so much to try and make even a dent of an impact.

But, the most vital thing that needs to happen, is that theatres, museums, film houses and all arts organisations need to stop using “diversity” as only a buzz word, and start putting it into real practice, in terms of who they’re hiring for their administration and staff, with the seasons they’re selecting, with the collections they’re curating and the films they’re choosing to show.

They have to stop patting themselves on the back for the one or two they “let in the door” and build a whole new type of door that allows everyone access, and consistently.”

Is there a particular working experience you’ve had that you feel has highlighted or combatted these issues effectively?

“Yes, I’m proud to say I’ve had the distinct honor of working with black-led theatres and festivals, like The National Black Theatre in Harlem, and The New Black Fest, who are always working to highlight the need for access and inclusion.

If we could just now get the major regional theatres, Off-Broadway and Broadway houses, to practice some of this access and inclusion in a substantive way, we’d be getting somewhere.”

You’re about to take on one of the lead roles in HALF ME, HALF YOU at the Tristan Bates Theatre in London. Was the fact that it explores some of these issues (racism, homophobia), any part of the reason you wanted to be involved? Is this often a factor in your choice of projects?

Oh, it was most definitely one of the driving factors of why I jumped at the chance to take on this role!

It’s the kind of work that us actor/activists dream of – work that seeks to make the audience question whatever preconceived notions about race, gender, sexuality, class they entered the theatre with.

It’s literally my favorite kind of work to do and it will always be a factor in a lot of the projects I choose. Unless, sometimes, I just need to do a comedy and relish in some joy a little bit, like my last show. (Toccarra laughs at this point)

Visit Toccarra’s website by clicking here

But, seriously, I hope I get to do intense, heart and mind-shaping work like this for the rest of my career.”

We’d like to thank Toccarra for her time and for this insightful, honest interview and we can’t wait for ‘Half Me, Half You’ to start its run! The production previews from 26th March and runs until 6th April. More details can be found by visiting Tristan Bates Theatre or by going to Liane’s own website.

Transatlantic Theatre Company Production to raise funds for Stop Hate UK

Liane Grant's remarkable writing debut returns to London in March 2019
Liane Grant’s remarkable writing debut returns to London in March 2019 and will raise money for Stop Hate UK.

Stop Hate UK is very proud to be associated with RoL’n Productions’ critically acclaimed play ‘Half Me, Half You’, which is soon to run at the Tristan Bates Theatre, in London’s Covent Garden.

The play is the remarkable writing debut of Liane Grant and explores the complex relationship of a married interracial couple – Jess and Meredith – in incredibly evocative times in the USA, at the start of the turbulent Trump era.

The play intertwines the couple weathering a wave of intolerance, discrimination and oppression that is sweeping the USA; then switches to 16 years later, where a biracial British teen, forced into American life, changes Meredith’s life forever, all in the wake of what turned out to be a second US civil war.

The production, which received rave reviews in its recent 2018 London and New York runs, will not only raise money for Stop Hate UK, but our very own Chief Executive, Rose Simkins, will be appearing on a Q&A session panel on the evening of 1st April, after that evening’s show.

The panel will be chaired by American writer and arts journalist, Terri Paddock and will also feature award winning actor/director, Maria Friedman.

We caught up with the play’s writer; Liane Grant, who told us “I am very excited to bring ’Half Me, Half You’ to the Tristan Bates Theatre and to be able to raise funds for such a vital organisation like Stop Hate UK.

“We are also thrilled that we have the opportunity to hold a Q&A after the show on Monday 1st April. We don’t just see it as a chance to talk about the play itself, but more importantly, to discuss how the play’s issues of racism in particular, but also homophobia and sexism, are resonating with the public at this moment in time. Many people want to make a positive difference but don’t know how to go about it. By having people in the arts industry and experts, such as Rose, contributing on the panel, and helping to guide us through open discussions, we can also focus on giving people more specific tools to effect change.”

Rose Simkins said, “We were absolutely delighted to be associated with such a powerful production and only too happy to be part of the play’s Q&A session. We wish Liane and all her cast and crew, the greatest success in the play’s up and coming run.”

The production previews from 26th March and runs until 6th April. More details can be found by visiting Tristan Bates Theatre or by going to Liane’s own website. You can also see the production’s flyer by clicking here.

Kick It Out

27,000 fans around the world show attitudes towards race inclusion in football.

In the largest recorded study of its kind, Kick It Out (www.kickitout.org), football’s equality and inclusion organisation, and live-score app, Forza Football (www.forzafootball.com), have released a report documenting global attitudes towards issues of racism in football.

With close to 27,000 respondents from 38 different countries, the data report reveals international attitudes towards some of the most significant issues of racial equality within the sport.Kick It Out

Key Findings

  • Globally, over half of football fans (54%) have witnessed racist abuse while watching a football game. Only 28% would know how to appropriately report such racist incidents.
  • In the UK, more than half of fans have witnessed racist abuse (50%), but less than half would know how to report it (40%). In the US, these figures are 51% and 28% respectively.
  • 61% of fans internationally would support points deductions for national or club teams whose fans are found guilty of racist abuse (for example, Chelsea having points deducted following their game in Paris in 2015).
  • Globally, 74% of fans want FIFA to consider previous racist abuse when awarding countries international tournaments. The hosts of the 2026 World Cup are in agreement, with 77% of Americans wanting this, 76% of Mexicans, and 77% of Canadians.
  • In Middle Eastern countries, 80% of fans support this view too. However, problematically ahead of the Qatar World Cup 2022, only 13% of fans from Arabic countries would know how to report incidents of racist abuse.
  • On average, 84% of fans would feel comfortable with a player of a different ethnic/racial background than them representing their nation or club team.
  • Fans in Norway (95%), Sweden (94%), and Brazil (93%) feel most comfortable with a player of different ethnic / racial background representing their national or club team. Fans in Saudi Arabia (11%), Lebanon (15%), and the UAE (19%) feel least comfortable.
  • When it comes to the countries housing the ‘Top 5’ European leagues, 93% of French people, 92% of Brits, 77% of Germans and Spaniards, and 71% of Italians feel comfortable with a player of different ethnic / racial background representing their national or club team. This figure for the US is 91%.

For more information go to: www.forzafootball.com

 

Lord Ouseley, Chair of Kick It Out, comments:

“The research is a timely reminder of both the progress that has been made in tackling racism in football, and the challenges that remain. There is clear global trend towards an acceptance of the BAME community’s central role in football, but further progress is unlikely to be made until governing bodies are bolder in their efforts to eradicate racism from every level.

“The governing bodies, including The FA, UEFA and FIFA, must do more to promote methods of reporting racism and they must listen to supporters’ demands – clubs or countries whose supporters are racially abusive should face harsher sanctions, including points deductions.”

 Patrik Arnesson, Founder and CEO of Forza Football, comments:

“One mission of our app is to give fans a powerful collective voice, when otherwise they might be ignored. This report shows a real appetite for meaningful change in footballing policy. Organisations such as FIFA need to take note of the number of fans advocating points deductions for incidents of racism, for example. Our data shows that the footballing world is modernising in relation to certain issues, but that there is also a long way to go.”

Christopher Dawes and Daniel Rubenson, Associate Professors in the Politics departments at New York and Ryerson University respectively, who provided methodological advice on the study, comment:

“This is a very impressive data collection effort and an important source of information on racial attitudes among football supporters. The scale of the survey, certainly one of the biggest of its kind, makes it particularly useful for comparing these attitudes across counties and regions.”

Extended Findings

  • A higher proportion of fans in Peru (77%), Costa Rica (77%), and Colombia (71%), have witnessed what they would classify as racist abuse while watching football matches, than in anywhere else in the world.
  • Countries with the smallest proportion of fans having witnessed what they would classify as racist abuse while watching football matches are the Netherlands (38%), Russia (41%), and Norway (43%).
  • In the UK, 54% of fans said they would support regulations to improve opportunities for ethnic / racial minority candidates applying for jobs at football clubs (which comes following similar legislation being brought in by the FA). This figure is 64% in the US, where what is known as the ‘Rooney Rule’ has been implemented along these lines.
  • In Germany and Switzerland, following controversies this summer relating to abuse aimed at Mesut Ozil and players of Albanian heritage representing the Swiss national team, nearly a quarter of fans from both countries would feel uncomfortable with a player of different ethnic / racial background representing their national or club teams (77% comfort for both).
  • Respondents from Ghana (83%), Colombia (77%), and Nigeria (75%) are most in favour of deducting points from teams whose fans commit racist abuse. Russian (34%), Ukrainian (42%), and Dutch (45%) fans are least in favour of such a policy.
  • Fans in Brazil (61%), Portugal (60%), and France (44%) feel most confident they would know how to report incidents of racist abuse. Fans in the UAE (9%), Ukraine (12%), and Egypt (12%) feel least confident.

Stop Hate UK – Response to HMIC Report

The recent report, issued by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies (HMIC), says that Police in England and Wales must tackle ‘significant problems’ in handling Hate Crime.

It’s a headline that makes people sit up and take notice and many are quick to criticise the authorities for not always getting things right in this area. However, there is a wider perspective that must be considered when looking at this potentially sensitive issue.

Whilst many of the UK’s Police forces have a Hate Crime strategy and defined strands of Hate Crime, there is still a lack of training and understanding about what Hate Crime is, the correct way to record the incidents and having the time, expertise and knowledge of how to respond to victims and witnesses.

We know that there is a great deal of inconsistency of the quality and quantity of training and we would like to see Hate Crime training prioritised – including refresher training – and checks to ensure that the message and policies are fully understood.

Our Police forces are already vastly overstretched and have had funding consistently cut for the last few years. However, if the report’s predicted trend in the rise of Hate Crime incidents does come to fruition in 2019, then those resources will be even more stretched to cope with any increase, no matter what the level.

It is, therefore, vital that the Police and authorities make use of the advice, support and training that is available to them from specialist 3rd party organisations, such as Stop Hate UK and that, collectively, we must adopt a collaborative approach to tackling Hate Crime.

Often, when people make their very first call to report or ask for advice regarding what could be perceived to be a Hate Crime or Hate Incident, that first conversation or point of contact is, arguably, their most vital conversation.

This is where 3rd party groups, organisations and charities provide such vital support to the Police. It is this specialist, expert advice that can often be the difference in how someone perceives their entire experience, in terms of the help they receive and their journey towards a resolution and/or outcome.

Stop Hate UK currently provide support to a number of the UK’s police forces and have developed many key relationships with other organisations during this time, proving that a collaborative effort is the key to tackling Hate Crime in our society, and that we are truly stronger together.

To find out more about Stop Hate UK, our training and support services and our work to assist in tackling Hate in our society, visit our website or search for our social media platforms.

Victim Care Merseyside

More than 19,000 victims of crime supported as Victim Care Merseyside marks third anniversary

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner is today marking the third anniversary of Victim Care Merseyside by holding a special event at which she will recognise the service’s achievements and explain how £3m of support for victims of crime will be delivered over the next three years.

Victim Care Merseyside

More than 19,000 vulnerable victims of crime have been given specialist, tailored support and advice from the services commissioned through Victim Care Merseyside since it was launched by Jane Kennedy in June 2015.

Additionally, more than 15,000 young people have taken part in group sessions to increase their awareness of exploitation and how to protect themselves, while 4,300 professionals have been trained to increase their understanding of crimes involving in children and what action to take if they fear a child is at risk.

 These achievements will be recognised and celebrated at an event at the Holiday Inn on Lime Street today (Wednesday 20th June), at which the PCC will also formally re-launch Victim Care Merseyside and unveil the services which will be running for the next three years. This includes a brand new support service for victims and survivors of harmful practices, including FGM, so-called ‘honour-based’ violence and forced marriage delivered by Savera UK. There will also be new support for families who have lost a loved one through homicide or crime-related road traffic collisions at ‘The Hub’ provided by Families Fighting for Justice.

Over the next three years, Victim Care Merseyside will also provide more tailored support for victims of hate crime, with care down by ‘strand’, to ensure victims of racial hate crime, sexuality and gender identity-based hate crime and people subjected to hate because of a disability all receive specialist support according to their need.

Victim Care Merseyside will also continue to provide a host of pan-Merseyside specialist services designed to support the most vulnerable victims of crime, including child victims of exploitation – both sexual and criminal, victims of rape and sexual assault, and domestic abuse.

Jane said: “I’m pleased that over the last three years, Victim Care Merseyside has provided more than 19,000 victims of crime with the specialist support they need to help them to become survivors. When somebody is subjected to a traumatic experience, it is only right they get the best possible care and support to help them on the road to recovery.

“These are still early days in the commissioning of local support services for victims, so it is right that I keep this under review to make sure we are delivering what is needed. Crime too is constantly evolving, so I want to make sure we are meeting the needs of victims today, and in the future. That’s why, last year I took the decision to fully review the Victim Care Merseyside service to make sure it still fits the bill and whether any improvements could be made.

“As we mark the third anniversary, I’m delighted to not only celebrate Victim Care Merseyside’s achievements so far, but also relaunch the refreshed service which will continue to deliver many vital services, but also offer new and enhanced support for some of the most vulnerable people.

“I was particularly proud that we were one of the first areas in the country to offer specialist support for victims of child criminal exploitation and we are expanding on this by offering a dedicated service for those who have been subjected to harmful practices, and enhanced support for families who have experienced the most horrific of crimes, murder and manslaughter.”

 Victim Care Merseyside was created to enhance the quality, availability and accessibility of support for victims of crime after the Ministry of Justice handed down the responsibility for commissioning support services to PCCs across England and Wales. It is designed to give victims the best possible help to cope and recover from the after effects of crime, ensuring victims get enhanced support from the first moment they report a crime to Merseyside Police right through to the emotional and psychological counselling they may need to help rebuild their lives.

 In 2017, the Commissioner took the decision to carry out a Victim Needs Assessment to review the existing Victim Care Merseyside service and see if further improvements could be made. At the centre of this process were the views of victims and survivors, with surveys and focus groups being held to gather their opinions.  The views of service providers were also gathered through a series of workshops, including a session on ‘hidden crimes’ to explore what crimes may still be taking place undetected and out of sight. This assessment has informed the services which will make up Victim Care Merseyside over the next three years.

Anyone who has been affected by crime can visit independent website www.VictimCareMerseyside.org for advice, information or to find the best-placed organisations to help them, without speaking to the police.

 

Latest CPS Hate Crime Newsletter – May 2018

We are pleased to share with you the latest CPS Hate Crime Newsletter.

It’s packed full of information, including positive outcomes in CPS areas, upcoming Hate Crime conferences and events and much, much more.

CPS Hate Crime Newsletter – issue 17 – May 2018 FINAL

If you have any comments or questions about the newsletter, you can email the CPS Team here or contact Stop Hate UK here.

The next issue will be released in July, so look out for the latest update on our website.

Acid Attacks – Would you know what to do?

It’s an alarming fact that ‘acid attacks’ appear to be on the rise in the UK, and some of them appear to be linked to incidents of Hate Crime.

However, it’s important to note that some of the more recent attacks seem, on the face of it, to be acts of robbery as opposed to be incidents of Hate Crime but, nevertheless, we think it’s important to understand what to do in the event of such an attack.

The advice below, from ‘Stop Acid Attacks’, is how to treat an acid burn in the immediate aftermath once you have dialled 999…

  1. The most important step is to immediately wash the affected body part with plenty of fresh or saline water
  2. Dirty water can cause severe infection, so only rinse the burn with clean water
  3. Keep flushing the burn with cool, but not very cold water until the burning sensation starts fading. This could take up to 45 minutes
  4. Remove any jewellery or clothing which has had contact with the acid
  5. Do not apply any cream or ointment as it may slow the treatment procedure by doctors
  6. If possible, wrap the affected area in a sterilised gauze to protect the skin from air, debris, dirt and contamination
  7. Get to A&E as quickly as possible

It’s also important to note that if you’re helping somebody else, it’s vital that you keep yourself protected at the same time.

Remember, these types of attacks are, thankfully, very rare indeed, but it is vital that we know what the immediate steps are to try to minimise the effects where possible.

Interestingly, as I write this, I am distracted by the news that the government are reviewing the sentences and punishments handed down to perpetrators of acid attacks and that this will be debated the issue in the House of Commons this coming week.

So, let’s hope any changes to the law reflect the severity, anguish and life changing effects felt by all those affected  by acid attacks.

If you would like to find out more about Stop Hate UK’s work, just email us by clicking here or visit our website here.

Merseyside ‘Police with Pride’ Car Launch

We are delighted to be attending today’s launch of the Merseyside Police ‘Police with Pride’ car on behalf of Assistant Chief Constable Julie Cooke.

Our Chief Executive, Rose Simkins, is attending the launch on behalf of Stop Hate UK and welcomes the addition of the ‘Police with Pride’ car as great tool in Merseyside Police’s Hate Crime initiative.

The car is just one of the many ways in which Merseyside Police intend to show their visible support for victims of hate crime right across Merseyside, in the hope that this it will encourage more victims of hate crime to come forward and report incidents to the Police and also further increase engagement with the public.

The car will be an operational police vehicle utilised by Merseyside Response Officers and will be deployed across the Merseyside region. Whilst the vehicle retains an operational police appearance, it’s livery includes a variant of the LGB&T rainbow flag colours on the side of the car, alongside the Crimestoppers logo and the Stop Hate UK website address.

The car looks resplendent as you can see below:

 

 

 

 

 

Stop Hate UK are very proud to be involved in this project and we very proud to be present at today’s official launch at Merseyside Police’s headquarters.

Find out more about Merseyside Police here and more about Stop Hate UK here and search for #policewithpride on Twitter.

International Women’s Day – Rose Simkins

On International Women’s Day, we thought we’d take a look at our very own Chief Executive’s career, as she also celebrates over 10 years service with Stop Hate UK.

It was clear from an early age that Rose’s career path would take her down the charity route, as she completed her first fund raising event at the tender age of just 11!

However, these were different times and it was not the ‘norm’ for a young woman to pursue a university education, with a clear passion to make a difference to those in need – thankfully times have changed – and Rose was not to be deterred from her aspirations.

During her years with Stop Hate UK, Rose has been at the helm as the charity has gone through many changes, leading Stop Hate UK to be the now nationally recognised voice on all forms of Hate Crime.

Rose is passionate about what she does and what she stands for, making her a very valuable asset to the work of Stop Hate UK.

So we’d like to highlight Rose’s achievements on International Women’s Day, as Stop Hate UK continues to provide help, support, assistance and guidance to all those directly or indirectly affected by incidences of Hate Crime.

You can find out more about Rose by clicking on the links below:

https://www.stophateuk.org/rose-simkins-chief-executive-of-stop-hate-uk-biography/

https://www.stophateuk.org/training-chief-executive/

Well done Rose – a true inspiration on International Women’s Day!