Statement from the Chair of the No2H8 Crime Awards
It is with great pride that we are launching the annual national No2H8 Awards in November 2022. This comes after a three year hiatus where every life and family in our country was so deeply affected by the pandemic and where we, as a nation, lost over 150,000 people.
Other issues, such as the cost of living crisis and the fallout from the toxic polarisation of the Brexit debate still continue to polarise parts of our society, as a nation that seeks to re-affirm its identity anew after being associated with Europe over many decades.
Without a doubt, these challenges have had impacts on hate incidents in our country. During the pandemic, we saw a significant rise in antisemitic, anti-Muslim, LGBTQ and GRT(Gypsy, Roma and Traveller) hate incidents where perpetrators, who had little to do in the pandemic, sat online and vented their anxieties and their frustrations at some of these communities. The lockdown and the frustrations that it developed in some, no doubt saw online activity that promoted conspiracy theories, stereotypical tropes and open hostility towards some of these groups, which was criminal in nature.
We are therefore launching the 6th annual national No2H8 Awards against this backdrop. We must also note that the cost of living crisis may well have impacts on work measuring and countering hatred, prejudice and intolerance. As daily life becomes harder for many, some may find it easier to blame others – whether that be refugees, diverse communities, Jews, Muslims or Traveller communities. History has taught us that in times of extreme pressure on living resources, hate and intolerance rises. This is also why we believe that the No2H8 Awards have a central role in supporting two core themes.
The first is to celebrate those ‘unsung’ heroes in our communities who tirelessly challenge or educate against hate and who have never been recognised. The second is to re-energise the family of organisations who work daily in the area of monitoring and challenging hatred and prejudice.
I am therefore proud to Chair the No2H8 Awards at this time, when so many of us seek stronger bonds between ourselves. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that we cannot thrive without each other.