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HOPE not hate

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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