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HOPE not hate

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Thurrock Disabled Activists Leading the Way

posted by: Owen Jones | on: Monday, 14 December 2015, 11:42


participants “tree of consequences”, linked in causes to the outcomes of bullying

participants “tree of consequences”, linked in causes to the outcomes of bullying

HOPE not hate’s annual residential training event, HOPEcamp, is always something to look forward to. Although a few people who organise the training in HnH HQ have everything fully planned for the week, as local activists, you are never quite sure what to expect. You know that you are very likely (virtually guaranteed) to meet some extraordinary and inspiring people, but you are not quite sure who or what will inspire you until that door opens and a bingo sheet is handed to you.

Two characters that it was great to have with us this year were Sunny and Darren from Thurrock Lifestyle Solutions (TLS), a disabled led social enterprise company based in South Essex.

All too often when people try and create community networks to develop local campaigns disabled groups can be accidently left out, although thankfully this is happening less and less. During the many debates at HOPEcamp it became extremely clear that the issues that disabled groups campaign on have a huge impact on the wider community and many positive consequences. For instance, a campaign for wheelchairs access to a library will also improve the daily lives for elderly residents, parents with prams and the odd poor soul who was at the wrong end of a lumbering Sunday morning tackle.

Given HOPE not hate’s style of building community alliances and networks around a common local issue, it was apparent that TLS would be a natural partner to work with in combating discrimination in Thurrock. So on Saturday 5th December HOPE not hate and TLS ran a training event in Grays, led by Sunny, where interested activists discussed the root causes of bully behaviour in the area and how we could build a local campaign to pull the community together and maximise the links between the Borough’s various campaign groups.

This was only the start of the joint campaign work between HOPE not hate and TLS, with many more projects on the horizon for 2016. If you would like to learn more or how to get involved, please email thurrock@hopenothate.org.uk

 Posted: 14 Dec 2015 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Harlow Get Serious About Discriminatory Language

posted by: Owen | on: Thursday, 10 December 2015, 07:42


Participants discuss the impact discriminatory language can have on the school environment

Participants discuss the impact discriminatory language can have on the school environment

On November Friday 27th in the Essex town of Harlow , HOPE not hate carried out one of its largest regional training events to date, training just over 500 people in twelve 45 minute back-to-back sessions.

Built in 1955, Harlow is one of Essex's two New Town developments designed to rehouse blitzed London families after the Second World War, a legacy that still remains with the town having the third-highest proportion of social housing in England. Harlow has come on a long way since the 1950s and now boasts major transport links to London via the Stansted Express and M11, which has attracted new industry and workers looking to live outside of the city; along with this has been a change in the social demographics of the town.

Although the demographics are changing, certain attitudes have been slow to keep up. HOPE not hate was brought in to start a serious dialogue with the local educational sector as it was feared that discriminatory language was being passed down the generations and affecting the community and local school environment.

Working within the town, HOPE not hate was quickly aware of many people from the town, who although not racist themselves, were certainly confused about what are considered racist terms, largely through a lack of understanding and right-wing media slamming the overuse of "PC" terms.

During the day, HOPE not hate very successfully created a safe space, where people could feel encouraged to air their opinions and confusions. For the first time in many of these peoples' lives we were able to have a frank discussion about the impact and consequences of "casual" racism so that they could have a clear understanding of the damage it does on the community rather than just being told it is wrong. Finally, each session summed up with a discussion about how language can reinforce oppression on an individual level.

Teri-Leigh, an English & Media teacher commented that "the training made the participants really think about the impact of language; most of us are conscious of the impact of our words so choose them carefully, but how can you change until you really understand what is acceptable?"

This was just a start of the discussion in Harlow, HOPE not hate will be following this up with continued community engagement across the Borough.

If you would be interested in HOPE not hate developing something similar at your institution, please contact owen@hopenothate.org.uk

 Posted: 10 Dec 2015 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Southampton Society Helps Keep Democracy Alive

posted by: Harry | on: Monday, 7 December 2015, 13:43


Students showing off their origami skills

Students showing off their origami skills

The 27th October saw peers in the House of Lords support the Government, albeit by just 11 votes, to bring forward the full implementation of Individual Electoral Registration (IER) by 12 months. This decision defied advice from the Electoral Commission. With so many students off the register, the University of Southampton HOPE Not Hate Society worked through the miserable weather over the last month to push the issue of registration on campus.

Armed with a stash of badges, stickers and leaflets we launched our campaign on the 6th November following weeks of planning. Volunteers worked throughout the day on campus engaging with as many students as possible. From the conversations we had with students, the huge lack of understanding around the gravity of the situation immediately became apparent. However, sensing that we were informing and mobilising our peers ensured it was a hugely successful day.

We followed up our launch campaign with two weeks of campus activity. This included setting up stalls on campus and targeting student halls of residence to ensure first years, the least likely to be on the electoral register, could be signed up before the deadline.

As the deadline approached (in addition to university work pressures!) we put on our rain coats and headed out into the drizzle for a final session targeting student houses. In a few hours the team had delivered literature across the student area of the ward.

Some of us may be leaving Southampton next year, but the city has provided us with the some of the best experiences of our lives. The very least we could do is to help strengthen the community and use student voices to support democracy in Southampton. Our actions over that last month may only have been a drop in the ocean, but every person engaged is a success.

Leaflet Student Houses

Leaflet Student Houses

Some of the team grab a quick photo opportunity

Some of the team grab a quick photo opportunity

 Posted: 7 Dec 2015 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Asylum Seekers Welcome at Swansea University

posted by: Hamzah Nurgat | on: Wednesday, 2 December 2015, 08:55


Student union representatives, professors and others joined the photo petition on campus last week

Student union representatives, professors and others joined the photo petition on campus last week

Inspired by a campaign ran by Student Action for Refugees (STAR) at Cardiff university, HOPE not hate students at Swansea university have started a campaign to get equal access to education for asylum seekers in Swansea. Here, student campaigner Hamzah Nurgat speaks about the Equal Access campaign at Swansea University, where HOPE not hate students hope to build on past successes and work with STAR and NUS in Wales to build a culture of welcome at Swansea University.

In 2010 Swansea became the UK’s second official City of Sanctuary, committing itself to building a culture of hospitality and welcome for asylum seekers and refugees.

People seeking refugee protection, having been forced to escape war, torture and persecution, should not be faced with barriers in exercising their human rights, including the universal right to education. Unfortunately, asylum seekers who currently wish to apply to study at Swansea University are classed as international students, therefore eligible to pay the international rate of tuition fee. Most asylum seekers are not allowed to work, or apply for student loans, and must live on state support of just £5 a day plus accommodation. This makes it near impossible for asylum seekers to gain a university education due to the financial barriers in place. The ‘Equal Access’ campaign currently running in Swansea University aims to change this.

The campaign calls on the university to:

1) offer all asylum seekers who are granted a place to study at Swansea University the ‘Home/EU’ rate of tuition fee.

2) Award a number of asylum seekers a non-repayable complete tuition fee waiver (that covers the £9000 tuition fee in full) plus maintenance support.

Equivalent campaigns have been successful across the country, including Cardiff University where the equal access policy for asylum seeker applicants has now been implemented. The campaign is a fantastic initiative to ensure the most vulnerable in society with an abundance of potential are not blocked from achieving their goals and aspirations. Last week we took our campaign to Fulton House, and we were met with overwhelming support from both students and staff. We managed to gain over 200 signatures on our petition, and capture enough photographs to create a wonderful campaign collage.

I believe this is a cause which is close to the hearts of most students, academics and staff within our university, and one which will see success.

You can sign our petition for Equal Access at Swansea University here: http://action.hopenothate.org.uk/page/s/equal-access

The Equal Access campaign began in 2011 following collaboration between STAR and NUS. You can find out more about the specifics of the campaign here: http://www.star-network.org.uk/index.php/campaigns/equal_access

HOPE not hate’s student campaign this year is focusing on providing a welcome to refugees

HOPE not hate’s student campaign this year is focusing on providing a welcome to refugees

 Posted: 2 Dec 2015 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments