Cllr Sade Etti, Hackney’s No Place for Hate champion. Photograph: Hackney Council

Hackney is a brilliant, diverse place, where people from all backgrounds – different nationalities, religions and sexualities – share streets, schools, parks, community halls, workplaces and, crucially, our common values of tolerance and respect.

We are proud to be representatives of our inclusive, diverse and welcoming borough, and we are committed to ensuring that Hackney is no place for hate. 

We are committed to celebrating the rich diversity in our borough. Earlier this month, we launched our Black History Season programme with a two-month-long schedule, which highlights the contribution and legacy of Hackney’s Black community.

This year, it will see history being made, for both Hackney and the UK, with the unveiling of the UK’s first permanent public artwork honouring the Windrush Generation, and the first renaming of a public space in the borough to reflect Hackney’s inclusive, anti-racist values.

Highlights of the season, titled ‘Hackney Black History In The Making’, include: 

  • The unveiling of the UK’s first permanent public artwork honouring the Windrush Generation, by artist Veronica Ryan. 
  • The renaming of a public garden, part of the council’s work to review public spaces named after people who profited from the transatlantic trafficking of enslaved Africans, and reflect the diversity of Hackney residents instead.
  • A ceremony to officially open BRAFA Square in Shoreditch, named in honour of the British Reggae Artists Famine Appeal Team, Hackney’s answer to Live Aid, being live-streamed.
  • The reveal of Future Hackney community project’s second street photo exhibition, Ridley Road Stories part 2, documenting the lives of Hackney’s Caribbean and African residents. 

The season will feature events from Hackney Council’s museum, libraries, archives, sports and education teams, adding to the work they do all year-round to make Black history visible and accessible. 

However, celebrating our diversity is not limited to one or two months – it is an all-year-round affair. Last year, we passed our Black Lives Matter motion which commits us to being an anti-racist borough.

We also raised the inclusive Pride flag over town hall in 2020 in recognition of the diversity and intersectionality in our borough’s LGBTQ+ community.

We also stand against all forms of racism, disability and faith discrimination including, but not limited to, Antisemitism and Islamaphobia – working with our faith leaders year round to tackle hate crime. 

   

In 2019, we launched our official strategy for tackling hate crime, which details our key commitments for the next four years to ensure that Hackney is no place for hate, including building our understanding of hate crime, increasing the reporting of hate crime, and building community resilience against extremist beliefs and attitudes.

However, the international increase in hate crimes towards the Chinese and East Asian community and the Jewish community during the pandemic show us that more needs to be done, not just during the coronavirus crisis but for many years to come. 

We have been working closely with the police’s hate crime officer to support Hackney Chinese Community Services to create and share information on reporting hate crime in six different languages, and we will continue working closely with them and others within the borough to ensure that this key part of Hackney’s diverse community is offered all the support that they need. 

If you’ve experienced or witnessed a hate crime, you may feel afraid to report, or believe that there’s nothing you can do about it – but there’s always something you can do. 

Every hate crime reported helps us to build evidence of issues in our local area and supports the Police to bring justice towards those who commit hate crimes. No matter how small you think an incident is, please report it, and become part of the movement to make Hackney no place for hate. 

Hate crimes are criminal offences, and you do not have to be afraid or suffer in silence. There are also a range of services offering free, confidential support and advice to those who’ve experienced or witnessed hate crimes. 

Now more than ever, it’s important that we come together to send the clear message that Hackney is no place for hate. We must continue working together to ensure that our shared values of inclusivity and respect remain at the centre of our borough’s spirit throughout the pandemic and beyond.”

Cllr Sade Etti is Hackney Council’s No Place for Hate champion and mayoral advisor on homelessness.

If you’ve been affected by hate crime, you can: 

  • Report it to the police by calling 999 in an emergency, and 101 in other situations. 
  • If you do not wish to contact the police, you can contact Stop Hate UK on 0800 138 1625 for free, confidential advice and support. 
  • Report offensive graffiti to the council
  • Contact North London Victim Support for free local support on 0808 186 9291 (8am-8pm Monday to Friday) or 0808 1689 111 at all other times. You can also request support online
  • Access free, confidential and independent victim support through London Victim and Witness Service on 0808 168 9291 
  • Access a free Restorative Justice Service with Calm Mediation by telephone on freephone 0300 102 3031 or email at restorative.justice@calmmediation.org 
  • The council’s Young Hackney website provides a range of resources for young people who want to talk to someone confidentially about a range of issues
  • You can also help make Hackney no place for hate by sharing our campaign’s free, downloadable resources on your social channels: bit.ly/hackney-no-place-for-hate
  • You can also share any photos of local activities that you’re running or participating in for National Hate Crime Awareness Week 2021. Please use the hashtags #NoPlaceForHate and #NHCAW2021 wherever possible.

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The Hackney Citizen team