National Hate Crime Awareness Week
Hate in our country and society is a dreadful, daily constant, and it is vitally important to recognise the damage done to victims of this insidious and under-reported crime.
National Hate Crime Awareness week is a time when we can, and must all join together and endorse the aims of reducing all hate crime against anyone whoever they are or from whatever background they come.
In our network we see that in the face of hatred, apathy can be interpreted as acceptance — by the perpetrators, the public and, worst of all, by the victims. National Hate Crime week reminds victims that all over the country people are fighting hate, and are standing up to promote tolerance and inclusion.
We all grow up with prejudices. Acknowledging them – and working through them – can be a scary and difficult process. It’s also one of the most important steps toward breaking down the walls of silence that allow intolerance to grow. Luckily, we all possess the power to overcome our ignorance and fear, and to influence our children, peers and communities.
We must unite and take action; if we don’t, hate persists. Victims of hate crimes feel terribly alone and afraid. They have been attacked simply for being who they are — their disability, their faith, their ethnicity, their sexual orientation. Silence amplifies isolation; it also tacitly condones the act of hate. Victims need a strong, quick message that they are valued.
More often than not, when hate flares up, good people rise up against it — often in greater numbers and with stronger voices. There is power in numbers in the fight against hate. We must work together to create a healthy relationship with local police; CPS and all agencies, human rights groups and CJS officials for a unified response.
National Hate Crime Awareness week is a time of reflection, but it is also a reminder that we fight the battle for all the other weeks of the year. While we at the Disability Hate Crime Network are not logistically able to create an event for National Hate Crime Awareness Week, each of us will be involved in some way in either local or national events. We endorse the aims of reducing all hate crime against anyone whoever they are of from whatever background they come.
Stephen Brookes MBE
Disability Hate Crime Network