I started my month’s placement with some expectation of the charity world, with experience from Oxfam and local community centres, I thought I knew what to expect. But Stop Hate UK seems a unique charity, small in size but big in support.
What struck me most was the resilience of the staff, day in day out – through their 24-hour helpline they are faced with hard hitting, often heartbreaking stories from those in need of a friendly ear and informed advice.
After Brexit, it was more difficult for me to stay optimistic about universalism and societal acceptance, but Stop Hate UK was continuing to lead the way to an open dialogue between the people experiencing discrimination directly, and the Police. The importance of reporting Hate Crime became very obvious, very quickly. By reporting, and recording Hate Crime, it is the only way that the Police services and other protectionary bodies can be aware of what is going on a grass roots level which shapes action and prevention.
Despite the sense of national tension and uncertainty at the time, the office was overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity from individuals and organisations standing up against racism and discrimination of all kinds. With the sale of T-Shirts, proclaiming: ‘You are welcome here!’ with proceeds, sponsored walk, sky-dives, people had united to say ‘Yes’ to Brexit but ‘NO!’ to racism.
Throughout my placement I worked on various aspects, which I appreciate Stop Hate UK trusting me with, from creating a Fundraising Pack to applying for a grant for Leeds Pride 2016. I proposed a project for Leeds Pride, with an artistic twist aimed at increasing the Stop Hate UK’s publicity through a Facebook campaign.
However, the effectiveness of the Social Media platform is nothing new to Stop Hate UK, as avid networkers and tweeters, with hashtags flying everywhere, I felt like a novice in the field in comparison. I even witnessed the preparations of a collaboration with Twitter, (YES TWITTER!) for an anti-hate speech online campaign. This was cutting edge stuff!
Unfortunately, my Leeds Pride Grant application was unsuccessful. Even though I had true belief and passion for the proposed project, sometimes, or even often, you will not get the funding you want and believe you should. That is the real world. Much like Brexit, big decisions can be out of your hands.
However, in terms of Hate Crime, if you are being abused and discriminated against, you should know that Stop Hate UK is here to back you up and will endeavour to ensure you feel safe and in control.
I would like to thank Stop Hate UK, an organisation made up of amazing individuals for teaching so much and really inspiring me for the future!