Image: Bernadette McAliskey (STEP), left, with VIEW editor Brian Pelan, Linda Hutchinson, NI Housing Executive; and Paula McIlwaine, Integrated Education Fund; at the launch of VIEW’s latest issue, ‘community tackles racism’, at Ranfurly House Arts and Visitor Centre in Dungannon
By Una Murphy
BERNADETTE MCALISKEY, Co-founder of South Tyrone Empowerment Programme (STEP) said community and local media has a valuable role to play in highlighting racism in Northern Ireland.
She was speaking at the launch of VIEW magazine ‘community tackles racism’, edition which was launched at a ‘Stronger Together NI’ seminar at Ranfurly House in Dungannon on Thursday (November 3).
In VIEW magazine Ms McAliskey said that with the end of the Northern Ireland ‘Troubles’ many new people had moved here but had become targets for abuse because of their race.
She noted “the arrival of people from other places to these shores, once the word got out that the war was over and it was safe enough to live in your own house without barricading your doors and windows or keeping a fire extinguisher at the bedside.
“People get up and go out without checking if it is safe to be in the street, and don’t get abused for going to work in the wrong job or place. Or do they?
“This remains the daily experience of many people here whose ‘crime against humanity’ implies what they are not. Not from here, neither British nor Irish, or if one, t’other or both, not white; not proper white; not proper citizens, not settled people; not proper ‘community’ Catholic/Protestant, or not even Christians at all and currently worst of all, they might be Muslims.”
She added: “The word for this historic perspective on humanity is RACISM. We need to stop.”
Ms McAliskey praised community and local media for keeping racism in the public eye unlike the mainstream media which she said had stopped reporting on the plight of Syrian refugees and instead was now focusing on the British government’s decision to take part in an air war in Syria. “Today we are bombing Syria and exacerbating the refugee problem”, she said.
STEP had “directed VIEW magazine to a wide range of people who were challenging racism.”, she said.
“It is very important that we have local media where the community can have their say”, Ms McAliskey said. “If we don’t create our own media to get our own message out, nobody is going to hear what we are going to say.”
VIEW magazine was launched at an event organised by Stronger Together NI, a network for people in the fields of racial inequality and ethnicity in Northern Ireland. “Everyone in this room is working to tackle inequality and working to support vulnerable people”, Ms McAliskey said.
Read our latest issue of VIEW at http://issuu.com/brianpelanone/docs/issue_34_new_pdf
If you would prefer to download a PDF, go to http://cl.ly/dzdm