An open and honest account from our Community Engagement Worker for International Day of People With Disabilities 2020

An open and honest account from our Community Engagement Worker for International Day of People with Disabilities 2020.

An open and honest account from our Community Engagement Worker for International Day of People With Disabilities 2020

I have always seen the world a little bit differently. When I was four years old, I could name the catalogue number of every Thomas the Tank Engine die cast model. I have Autism, Dyslexia and Dyspraxia.

For most part, I was a happy child and I did not really realise that I was significantly different from everyone else. This started to change as I got older and found myself having to overcome more and more barriers and I found that I was being bullied on a regular basis. Although I did not realise it, I was a victim of disability Hate Crime.

One of the most notable examples was when I started secondary school.  l travelled to school by bus, first with my mother and then later on my own. This was the first time I had ever used a bus on a regular basis. Unfortunately, I would face bulling on a daily basis. I was very tall for my age and they started to call me Lenny – after the character from the John Steinbeck book “Of Mice and Men”. In the book, Lenny is a giant man with learning disabilities. I had not read the book myself at this point and I only realised the context several years later, when I studied the book myself for my GCSE English Literature exam and it was extremely upsetting.

I also remember a particularly unpleasant image being placed in my backpack by an older student which was only discovered by my mother that evening. I would also have things thrown at me and bags would be placed over spare seats, to make sure I could not sit down. In one particularly unpleasant incident a stone was thrown at the window of the bus where I was sitting. As I got older I found myself masking more and more as I was so anxious about being bullied.

I didn’t realise at the time that I was victim of Hate Crime. Even when I reported the issue to the school nothing really changed. I did not know who else I could speak to. In the end I stopped getting the bus to school and at one stage refused to travel on a bus for any reason.

Last month we marked the 25th Anniversary of the Disability Discrimination Act. For the first time it was made unlawful in UK law to discriminate against people, in respect of their disabilities in relation to employment, the provision of goods and services, education and transport. While it is right that we recognise the progress which has been made since then, it is clear that there is still a long way to go.

The social model of disability says that people are disabled by barriers in society, not by their differences. For example, if a wheelchair user was unable to access a building due to stairs, it would be the stairs which are disabling them.

Hate Crime is one of the barriers disabled people face. The tragedy of Fiona Pilkington and Francecca Hardwick puts this into sharp focus. Francecca had a learning disability and the family had been targeted by a group of local teenagers for over a decade. Their home had been pelted with stones, eggs and flower and they faced constant abuse. On 23rd October 2007, Fiona drove Francecca to a secluded lay-by where she poured petrol over the backseat and set the car on fire. Fiona mentioned the gang in a suicide note to her mother. “The street kids, well I have just given up, I am just not cut out to take this much harassment.”.

We have also seen an increase in Disability Hate Crime due to the Covid pandemic. Many disabled people are exempt from wearing face masks and this means many disabled people receive abuse. Disabled people have also received abuse online and have faced suggestions that they should be locked up to stop spreading the virus.

Quite simply, Hate Crime is one of the barriers that creates disability.  I have just turned 30. I graduated from university in 2013 and I have since established a successful career in the equality sector. I am now working for Stop Hate UK, as their Community Engagement Worker, in the London Borough of Sutton. Disabled people have so much potential but it is only by removing these societal barriers that society will accept and appreciate the contribution of disabled people. To make this possible we need to be able to live without fear or abuse.

If you witness or experience Disability Hate Crime you can report it to Stop Hate UK 24/7 on 0800 1385 1625.

Please click here for the areas we cover.

Statement on Srebrenica Memorial Day 2020

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide, in which over 8,000 Muslim men and boys were murdered in the worst atrocity on European soil since the Second World War, simply because of their religious identity. As an organisation that works to eradicate hate and discrimination, we believe that we must ensure that we never forget about the genocide and reaffirm our commitment to standing up against all forms of hatred and prejudice that targets groups based on their religion, ethnicity, gender, sexuality or any type of difference.

The theme “Every Action Matters” seeks to encourage every person to reflect upon their own behaviour and choices that they make, and demonstrate that however insignificant it may seem, every action matters, whether positive or negative. It aims to show that those who stand up and unite against hatred can make a difference. It sets out to dispel the notion that one person cannot make a difference and show that the action of one individual does matter and that they can achieve a great deal, however small their action may appear initially. 

It is now more important than ever for us to come together as people in the UK, no matter what our background, to celebrate diversity and to stand together in solidarity against hatred and discrimination. We hope you will join us in mourning the loss of those who died at Srebrenica and reflecting on how we as individuals, groups and communities can come together to build a better future without hatred.

Stop Hate UK – Coronavirus Statement and Advice for Helpline Areas

Following on from increased hate reports focused around Coronavirus, Stop Hate UK have produced a statement with guidance and reminders – please see the link below.

We would like to ensure that affected members of the community are fully aware of their reporting options and we’d very much encourage your support in cascading this message across.

Should you require more information, or printed materials in Traditional or Simplified Chinese languages, please do contact us at info@stophateuk.org.

PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR OUR STATEMENT:  Stop Hate UK – Coronavirus Statement and Advice for Helpline Areas 

Stop Hate UK Annual Statistical Report 2018/2019

We are pleased to release our 2018-19 Annual Statistical Report, showing trends in the Hate Crime landscape, including the number and type of contacts and the motivation behind Hate Incidents and Crimes, as well as demographic analysis and case notes.

You’ll also find key information on our training, new publicity materials and projects and our media exposure. To find out more about the work we do visit www.stophateuk.org or see our social media platforms.

Call Hate Out

It’s time for young people to Call Hate Out.

Call Hate Out
Call Hate Out – a new confidential support service for young people, under 18, experiencing or witnessing a Hate Crime

Here at Stop Hate UK, we are very excited to announce the launch of a new Hate Crime helpline to provide a confidential 24-hr support service for young people, under the age of 18, experiencing or witnessing Hate Crime.

Whilst we are no strangers to supporting this age group, we feel that the time is right to launch a dedicated service for those 18 years and under and, thanks to support from the Building a Stronger Britain Together (BSBT) project, we are now ideally placed to launch the service to a much bigger geographical area.

The new helpline service – Call Hate Out™ – will launch in brand new areas for us but will also be an additional service for all the 20+ existing helpline areas and organisations, providing an exciting enhancement to better support areas with their own Hate Crime portfolio and strategy. The new areas in which Call Hate Out will operate are West and South Yorkshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire.

So, any young person in these areas who is a target or witness of a Hate Crime will have access to a service that will listen, provide advice and support and help explore what to do next.

Our Chief Executive, Rose Simkins, said; “This is a long-term commitment from Stop Hate UK and we hope it will help more young people get the support and advice they need.

Hate Crime can happen anywhere and we know there has been a big increase in online Hate, so Call Hate Out will provide young people with all the relevant online methods and platforms to report Hate Crime and get the help they need.

Our long-term vision for Call Hate Out is to add even more resources to support and grow this vital work.

Other parts of the BSBT project also sees us working in a collaborative partnership with The National Holocaust Centre, to educate 42 regional schools about the Holocaust and how to tackle anti-Semitism in today’s society.

For more information on the Call Hate Out service, including information about how you can get it in your area, or any other of Stop Hate UK’s work just contact info@stophateuk.org

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.