Let me start by sending a big thank you to the organisers and all who attended the anti-racism rally on Saturday May 31st - you were all great!
According to PSNI sources, 4000 people attended this impromptu rally to show their disapproval of racism and ongoing hate attacks in NI. When I started campaigning for people to show their support in the fight against racism, I never expected to see the likes of Amnesty International approach me and help to organise the event we are all about to take part in this weekend.
When I first came to this country from England, the first thing that struck me was how friendly and welcoming everyone was.
Some people who’ve lived here all their lives may disagree with me but, marching seasons excluded, this place is usually a very open, but rainy patch of green land with people who are welcoming to all.
Unfortunately, the last few months have shown a large increase in hate crime all around the province. The PSNI state that 2-3 Hate Crimes are being reported daily - that’s a sharp 43% increase in such crimes.
We, migrants, have been subjected not only to real-life physical and psychological threats and violence, but on top of that many of us live in constant fear of attacks or 'retribution.
- The entire Muslim population were described in despicable words
- Two Pakistani men were brutally attacked on the street and in their home
- A Spanish man was verbally abused, pushed around and followed home
- African refugees were assaulted in the QUB area
- A man was stabbed for not being a 'local'
- A group of teenagers were attacked for not being local
- An MLA was verbally abused for the colour of her skin
- Polish families have had their homes and cars damaged
- A man in Lisburn was badly beaten
- Excrement was thrown at a Romanian cyclist
- etc etc....
I know of at least 10 families who are either strongly considering leaving or have already made plans to leave the province for the South or Britain. It is heart-breaking to see my friends who work for the NHS, BELB and many other public and private companies make a hard decision to abandon their lives here because of fear and intimidation. I wish I could convince them to stay. NI/EIRE is or should be a place for everyone: migrants, locals, muslims, jews, christians and more. It shouldn’t matter if you’re straight or gay, black or white, prod or cat.
We’re all humans and we all fundamentally want to live our lives in peace and respect. This place, filled with loving and great people, can’t succumb to the noisy and dangerous few who are bent on keeping NI in the middle-ages.
It’s time to drag this province from the 50’s into the 21st century.
This sort of #lazyracism just won’t do.
A big Thank You to everybody who will attend the march!
Spread the word.
Don’t bring your party politics or agendas – let’s all unite against racism, whatever our differences!
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