Image: Towards A Better Future conference took place at the Skainos centre in east Belfast
By Una Murphy
There’s a hate chart in Northern Ireland and here is the countdown.
Number one Sectarianism, Number two Racism, Number three Homophobia.
It you or your friends or relatives could be picked on for any of these ‘top three’ hates you would be looking to the powers-that-be to sort it out.
The Towards A Better Future conference organised by the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building took place at the Skainos centre in east Belfast to consider the way forward
Thought provoking presentations from documentary maker Penny Woolcock who has filmed with Birmingham gangs http://www.bfi.org.uk/news-opinion/sight-sound-magazine/interviews/penny-woolcock-talks-gangsters and Stephen Mackessy from Humaneyes (https://www.facebook.com/humaneyes13?fref=ts) who have produced short films on young immigrants’ experiences of living in Northern Ireland were part of a seminar on how the media and the arts can help.
A booklet ‘Challenging Racism: Ending Hate’ by Dr Richard Montague and Prof Peter Shirlow said there has been a 43% increase in racially motivated offences between 2013 and 2014 with 70% of these taking place in Belfast.
Communities, media and arts practitioners and educationalists have all got a part to pay.
It needs a strong lead from the powers to show the red card and adopt a zero tolerance to all types of hate – sectarianisms racism and homophobia.
We’d be in a better place if we could banish all these hate crimes from our streets.