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HOPE not hate

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HOPE not hate welcomes Jane McAlevey

posted by: John Page | on: Friday, 13 January 2017, 16:17


Jane McAlevey

Jane McAlevey

Book launch with Jane McAlevey on 14 February in London

Many of the organising strategies that we use at HOPE not hate have their origins in America, in the trade union organising drives of the 1950s and the African American civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s. That is why we are particularly pleased to be co-hosting (with the Southern and Eastern Region TUC) a book launch with Jane McAlevey on 14 February in London.

Jane is both an activist and a scholar, having worked in the environmental, social justice and trade union movements, before taking time out to complete her Phd.

In her latest book: No Shortcuts: Organizing for Power in the New Gilded Age, Jane investigates the underlying failures that lie behind the recent setbacks and defeats for the trade union and progressive movement. In doing so, she lays out a strategic way forward that applies whether you are organising in the workplace or the community.

Jane presents a dozen case studies of unions and social movements seeking to effect change in the twenty-first century. As she analyses each case, she identifies the reasons for the movement’s success or failure. She shows that what victorious movements have in common is the use of grassroots mass organizing.

In the context of the deep divisions revealed by the Brexit campaign, the Trump victory, and the ascendency of ever more divisive narratives, Jane’s work, and the opportunity it provides us all to reflect on our own strategies is both timely and essential.

The event is free, but you must register to attend.

https://organising-to-win.eventbrite.co.uk

Come and join the debate, because, we may be down but we aren’t out.

 Posted: 13 Jan 2017 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Weekend of action

posted by: Jemma Levene | on: Wednesday, 14 December 2016, 07:56


Our December Weekend of Action saw HOPE not hate groups across the UK getting busy. Many delivered our leaflets to local areas

Others held Hate Crime Intervention training

In Bournemouth and in Liverpool, candlelit vigils allowed people to come together to celebrate peace and unity

while in Bangor, a More In Common festival saw diverse people and families from the community enjoying each other’s company

It was great to see so many people get involved for a weekend of HOPE not hate action to finish off the year in style!

 Posted: 14 Dec 2016 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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A future for post-industrial communities?

posted by: John Page | on: Tuesday, 13 December 2016, 16:04


Banksy in Boston: “Follow Your Dreams CANCELLED”, Essex St, Chinatown, Boston Photo: flickr.com/photos/rytc/

Banksy in Boston: “Follow Your Dreams CANCELLED”, Essex St, Chinatown, Boston Photo: flickr.com/photos/rytc/

In the aftermath of both the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump, there is a new interest in what is happening in ‘post-industrial’ communities.

These are communities that a generation or more ago were thriving, where industry (coal, steel, manufacturing and the docks) provided well-paid jobs and the workforce believed that if they worked hard, they would be able to provide for their families, their children could get an education and would ‘get on in life’.

Very often these jobs have now gone and with them the networks that held the communities together. Some mainstream commentators appear surprised that in these areas, decades of decline and the loss of good jobs has led to an almost complete breakdown of trust in the political process.

HOPE not hate is therefore pleased to announce that we will be co-hosting a national conference on the issue of post-industrial communities with the Leeds University’s Centre for Employment Relations Innovation and Change (CERIC).

To register visit: https://goo.gl/forms/eZTdvP7CWpPEAPgv1

For people living in post-industrial communities, their concerns may be about jobs, housing and the uncertain future for their children, but they are also often worried about immigration, primarily because of its perceived impact on employment and wages, the impact of rapid demographic changes on their community and the effect of migrants on demands for already-stretched local services.

None of these concerns are themselves inherently racist, but there are plenty of racist organisations keen to exploit these fears.

These communities have more than their share of problems, and they have a right to be angry. But increasingly that anger is finding its outlet in the form of ‘finding someone to blame’ rather than organising to take effective action.

HOPE not hate has been working in these communities for years and one of our key objectives has been to builds sense of shared identity between different communities.

We are now determined to step up our work in these areas, and are in the process of building a wide coalition of groups (including faith groups, academics, community groups and trade unions) prepared to invest time and resources in supporting these communities, to help rebuild the networks that once existed but which have declined with the loss of industry.

HOPE not hate and CERIC will be bringing together academics, charities, community activists, trade unionists, and more, to discuss the problems facing these communities and the strategies that can deliver real change and build cross community solidarity.

To register interest to attend, or deliver a session, please visit: https://goo.gl/forms/eZTdvP7CWpPEAPgv1

 Posted: 13 Dec 2016 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Careful conversations in Cardiff

posted by: Tom Godwin | on: Monday, 12 December 2016, 15:54


Since October, our organisers in Wales have been running an ongoing project training over 160 people on how to navigate difficult conversations with people who hold prejudiced views.

We understand that if you want to change someone's point of view, the most effective way is to listen to them, engage with their concerns and only then question some of their underlying assumptions.

Using this training in Cardiff, our activists have been having conversations about immigration on the doorstep, in partnership with a local refugee centre. We experienced a level of distrust and distance. One person said that they weren't allowed in 'that centre for the refugees'.

The great news is that we had the opportunity to invite people along to an event at the refugee centre, and one woman, who had initially said, 'I will never set foot in there', decided that she would indeed come down and find out about the refugees and their centre. She enjoyed herself and is now one less hostile and more sympathetic person in the community.

This is a pilot project we hope to extend to other towns and cities where we are hosting trainings/canvassing sessions.

 Posted: 12 Dec 2016 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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One Watford, festive Watford!

posted by: Elisabeth Pop | on: Monday, 12 December 2016, 15:52


If you ask people living in Watford what they love most about their town, the vast majority will say "the people" and its diverse makeup. And it is exactly this sense of community cohesion that our Festive Watford event celebrated.

The event took place in the Holywell estate, one of the more deprived parts of town, and almost 200 people joined us, including those from ethnic minority and faith communities, who brought traditional foods to share.

Kicking off the show were the children from the Polish Association, giving a fantastic display of traditional folk dances and songs, followed by a performance from local celebrity Arjun playing a dhol drum, a staple of Punjabi Sikh culture. The Watford Muslim Youth Centre was represented by a group of eight girls performing a Mini Munshidaat – songs and a poem praising the Prophet Muhammad.

But our event was not just about celebrating diversity and the multicultural fabric of Watford. It was equally important to showcase and celebrate our common values and common love for Watford, a home to us all. It was haeartwarming to see and hear people from all backgrounds singing modern carols with Rock Chorus and joining in with popular traditional carols performed by Leggatts Community Choir.

To close, Rabbi Levine from Watford United Synagogue spoke of a real sense of community togetherness. While we might be going through challenging times at a national level, we must never take for granted the community cohesion we enjoy in Watford, he said. We all agreed that we need to come together more often, and that we can work to get the media to showcase positive stories of integration.

In the New Year, Watford HOPE not hate will seek to build on the success of this event and the vision of unity that brought people together from so many and various communities as One Watford .

If you want to help, please get in touch at elisabeth@hopenothate.org.uk and follow us on Twitter @WatfordHNH.

 Posted: 12 Dec 2016 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Sheila: My experience of HOPE Camp

posted by: Tom Godwin | on: Friday, 9 December 2016, 15:47


Sheila talks about her time at HOPE Camp 2016, and how she put the skills into practice, in Caerphilly, South Wales.

As a political campaigner I have become increasingly concerned about the anti-immigrant rhetoric in my area of Caerphilly, South Wales. I wanted to gain skills to challenge this and also, as a teacher, I wanted to know what was available for use in schools. This led me to applying for Hope Camp this year. It was a life changing experience.

Sheila with the South Wales team at HOPE Camp 2016.

Sheila with the South Wales team at HOPE Camp 2016.

I arrived at the Camp with a little trepidation as I was not sure of what to expect or what I could contribute. The course was well planned, intensive and extremely interesting. It covered everything I wanted to know. Everyone was warm and welcoming. It was an amazing experience. I learned so much from the trainers and my fellow attendees. I am keeping in contact with many of them.

All the workshops were extremely useful and in particular the one about the use of Empathetic Listening and Socratic Questioning gave great insight into challenging views, learning to ask open ended questions about feelings rather than simply providing facts, and to spend much more time in listening than talking. We were placed in groups from our own area and we used this to move towards strategic planning on how we could make a difference on our return.

Sheila introduces her upcoming community event at a HNH training event in Cardiff.

Sheila introduces her upcoming community event at a HNH training event in Cardiff.

I started by identifying local allies, and bringing them together for a meeting at my house. I invited the chairperson of the local community group. She brought a representative of GAVO and a representative from Unite Community.

We decided on running a family fun day for people on the estate. We wanted to give the kids and families something to do and bring people together for a dance display, face painting, hair braiding, badge making, a range of multicultural art and craft activities and making a #MoreInCommon banner. I also approached the local conservation group to have a stall. HOPE not hate, Unite Community and United Welsh were each to have a stall providing information to the public. Health and Well Being agreed to make fruit smoothies. We went on to leaflet the local area and used social media to promote the event.

#MoreInCommon in Caerphilly.

#MoreInCommon in Caerphilly.

The chairperson of the local group was delighted with how the day had gone and how the community had come together. We got positive feedback from both the people involved with the stalls and the general public. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and hope to organise more events in the future with the partnerships I have made.

 Posted: 9 Dec 2016 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Beccles More In Common Gets Going

posted by: Owen Jones | on: Monday, 21 November 2016, 13:30


On a cold but bright winter morning on the northern edge of Suffolk, just under 150 people dropped by the Beccles #MoreInCommon pop-up café to have a chat with fellow residents of the town – most of them for the first time.

Beccles is a small but pretty market town famed as the gateway to the Norfolk Broads. It's not a town that instantly springs to mind when you think of HOPE not hate’s work.

Nevertheless, as more and more towns in East Anglia get designated “London overspill” (and the large housing projects that follow), a group of dedicated and hardworking local residents are taking a proactive approach to ensure that the sense of community is not lost.

Given the café was competing with some sore heads from the beer festival the night before, it can certainly be considered a fantastic success.

A real cross-section of the community came through the doors. Different generations, some with faith backgrounds, and some from new migrant communities all chatted away over free tea and cake, where the questions on the tables invited people to think what could be done in the town to make things better.

It was lovely hearing all the ideas that people came up with and this is certainly only just to start of the #MoreInCommon campaign in Beccles. Hopefully, the café can be seen as a springboard to a wider community dialogue for the town, helping Beccles move forward together.

For more information on how to get involved with the local campaign, please contact owen@hopenothate.org.uk

 Posted: 21 Nov 2016 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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How interfaith friendships strengthen communities

posted by: Jemma Levene | on: Wednesday, 16 November 2016, 16:26


Faith leaders at Woolwich, following the murder of Lee Rigby

Faith leaders at Woolwich, following the murder of Lee Rigby

This Sunday, I’ll be attending a post-wedding meal for a Hindu couple, hosted by mutual friends in Golders Green, in the company of Jewish, Christian and Muslim guests. No prizes for guessing that the Jewish tradition of post-wedding sheva brachot meals has been borrowed (without the sheva brachot themselves of course) to allow us all to celebrate the wedding of dear friends who got married in India earlier this month.

Why are we all friends? Because we have all chosen to get actively involved in interfaith work in the UK. However, if you are picturing rabbis, vicars and imams sipping tea and bemoaning the lack of parking spaces outside their respective places of worship, you are very far off the mark.

The best examples of interfaith encounters I’ve come across allow people to explore and celebrate shared identities, but also create a space to discuss differences in a more constructive manner. When an interfaith encounter leads to a friendship, the growth in trust allows people to disagree better. Two individuals can hold theological views which are fundamentally different to, or even hostile towards, each other but at an operational level there is much they can gain from working together.

Classic examples of faith communities working together include the defence of faith-based circumcision and religious slaughter but in a society with an increasingly secularist agenda can now include collaboration on best practice for integrated curricula for faith schools, or representation to universities on issues such as co-ed halls of residence, exam clashes with festivals, availability of prayer space etc.

However, working at HOPE not hate, I see a more fundamental place for interfaith work, which proves vital in drawing people together when a crisis hits. When serving British soldier Lee Rigby was murdered outside Woolwich Barracks in 2013 by two men claiming supposed retaliation for British military involvement in Muslim countries, the government had few Muslim organisations with whom they had ongoing relationships. It was the existing interfaith connections which allowed Muslim organisations to very quickly speak out against the attack, and to stand together with leaders of many faith organisations, all committed to showing solidarity at a time of great community stress. With the EDL clashing with the police on the streets in Woolwich, and organising demonstrations up and down the UK, it was the interfaith work of community leaders which captured the press attention and turned the mood of the country.

While these kind of responses from faith leaders are crucial, it would be a huge mistake to think that interfaith encounters should be limited to clergy and community leaders alone. When initiatives extend beyond the clergy to their congregants, the potential for creating an increased sense of positivity and understanding between those of all faiths and of none is huge.

HOPE not hate’s national More In Common campaign was launched this summer in response to the murder of Jo Cox and to the negativity surrounding some of the EU Referendum campaigning. In hundreds of events around the country, ranging from small groups meeting up to share a cup of tea through to city-wide food festivals and fun days, the More In Common campaign addresses a national feeling that people want to connect across community boundaries. We are beyond the point when interfaith just meant opening the doors to the local church, mosque or synagogue for an Open Day. Nowadays, interfaith provides opportunities for organic local connections to be made which can only strengthen our communities.

 Posted: 16 Nov 2016 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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More In Common: The Album

posted by: Simon Tucker | on: Thursday, 20 October 2016, 11:25


The idea for the #MoreInCommon album was born from my desire to do as much as I can to help raise awareness for HOPE not hate (Hnh).

I have been a music reviewer for a few years, writing mostly for the acclaimed arts website Louder Than War and during my time there I have built up a few connections. I also run a music PR business, so thought I would tie the two in together and reach out to see who would be willing to help.

To say I was delighted with the response would be a massive understatement. The amount of positive feedback I received was overwhelming and what started off as a little idea has now grown into a release that has 95 songs on it.

I think I was always going to include music somehow in my HnH activism as it has been my biggest passion since a very young age. My parents were, and remain, music obsessives and I was surrounded by all sorts of music growing up and this is the most important bit.

My parents NEVER dismissed a genre of music especially based on the background of the artist. I was played 2-Tone, Glam, Dance, Pop, Punk all from the time I was born. There was no colour to the music I was listening to, no sexuality, no division. If it was deemed good by my folks then it got played. I believe this (and my parents' liberal views) helped shape the person I grew up to be.

You couldn't grow up homophobic when your Dad's favourite singer was Freddy Mercury and your happiest memories were soundtracked by his voice! You also couldn't grow up racist when you saw the joy The Specials gave my parents and my rather large family.

Being a true music fans means you must be open to EVERYTHING, regardless of the artist's skin colour, sexual orientation, etc and music has always been a powerful weapon for positive change. I may look back quite cynically now at Live Aid but what an amazing day that was when I watched it live as a small boy. I was getting educated while being thoroughly entertained.

I am new to Hnh after only starting up the Carmarthen branch soon after the Referendum. I must say it has been one of the most positive things I have ever done. We get people from all sorts of backgrounds attending and I now have a core team of activists who are keen to help out in any way they can – even standing in the rain handing out leaflets just so they can be a part of something good and help create change.

Carmarthen as a town has been very supportive, as has the local press, so I am extremely pleased with how these first few months have gone. I look forward to the years ahead as I know that little-by-little we will achieve something that will help make the lives of our children a happier and more inclusive time.

#MoreInCommon (£5) is released on 28th October, featuring tracks from 95+ bands. All proceeds will go towards HOPE not hate.

 Posted: 20 Oct 2016 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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#StrongerTogetherMerthyr

posted by: HOPE not hate Merthyr | on: Wednesday, 14 September 2016, 18:26


Wales’ recent #TogetherStronger success in Euro 2016 brought the country together, enthusiastically united behind a common cause.

Sadly we didn’t win the Euros, but what we did win was a sense of unity and pride in our nation.

At HOPE not hate Wales we wanted to continue spreading the high hopes of the #TogetherStronger message to places like Merthyr Tydfil, which has a history of welcoming people from all across the world.

HOPE not hate volunteers in Merthyr during the #MoreInCommon campaign this Summer

HOPE not hate volunteers in Merthyr during the #MoreInCommon campaign this Summer

That's why this Sunday we'll be celebrating this history with #TogetherStrongerMerthyr, a football match between a local Merthyr team of Polish and Portuguese players and Merthyr League’s Quar Park Rangers.

The aim of the match is to celebrate the diversity of Merthyr and continue making sure that it remains the friendly and welcoming place we know it to be.

The event will be attended by star guest Chris Coleman (Welsh FA Coach), with music throughout – for the reasonable price of completely free – so make sure to come along!

 Posted: 14 Sep 2016 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments