We are honoured to have Stop Funding Hate as our partners. Stop Funding Hate aims to tackle the culture of hate and demonisation that is dividing our society and contributing to hate crimes. They are taking on the divisive hate campaigns of some press sources, by persuading advertisers to pull their support. Hundreds of thousands of people have now taken action to persuade companies to stop funding hate. In November 2016, Lego announced they would no longer be advertising in one of the national papers that Stop Funding Hate campaigns against.
Why do you think No2H8 Crime Awards is a positive annual event?
All around the UK people are tackling hatred within their communities and supporting neighbours, friends and colleagues who have faced abuse. This deserves to be recognised and supported. Because ultimately it is through people engaging with each other at the community level that we can overcome hatred and prejudice.
This event is also a valuable opportunity for communities to show unity against all forms of hate and discrimination. Whether it is anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, or other hatred based on race, religion, sexuality, disability, gender or cultural identity, we are standing together to support all those challenging prejudice and working for a kinder, fairer society.
Do you believe that hatred and intolerance are rising?
The past year has seen a shocking rise in hate crime and a resurgence of racism on a scale many would have believed impossible not long ago. But what’s encouraging is that across the UK – and around the world – hundreds of thousands of people have been getting organised and pushing back.
The rise of hatred and intolerance has been met by a growing global movement that is challenging the normalisation of hate and insisting on a more civil public discourse. Now is the time for everyone who believes in fairness, neighbourliness and basic human rights to speak out and show that the vast majority want to live in a society where everyone is respected.
How important is the media in raising awareness about hate crimes?
The media is hugely important in facilitating frank and honest debate about the factors fuelling hate crime – and enabling those affected to have their voices heard. Alongside this, the advertisers who fund our media have a vital role in supporting media outlets that report accurately and fairly – and ensuring that their marketing budgets do not fund publications which are themselves inciting hatred.
Why is it essential for communities to maintain vigilance against hatred, intolerance and prejudice?
History shows us the dangers of allowing hatred, intolerance and prejudice to go unchallenged. If we look the other way while people within our community are demonised and attacked simply because of who they are, this behaviour can start to become a new “norm” and get progressively more extreme. Hate speech and hate crime can be the first steps on a path that leads to large-scale discrimination and violence. We have to send a clear signal from the outset that we refuse to be divided and will not allow anyone in our community to be treated this way.