Let me start by sending a big thank you the organisers and all who attended the rally on Saturday 31 May. You were all great!
According to PSNI sources, 4000 people have attended this impromptu rally to show their disapproval to racism and hate attacks in NI. When I started campaigning for people to show their support in the fight against racism, I never expected to see the likes of Amnesty International to approach me and help to organise the event we are all about to take part in. When I first came to this country from England, the first thing that struck me was how friendly and welcoming everyone was.
Some people who’ve lived here all their lives may disagree with me but, marching seasons excluded, this place is usually a very open, rainy patch of green land with people who are welcoming to all. Unfortunately, the last few months have shown a large increase in hate crime all around the province. PSNI statistics indicate 2-3 Hate Crimes are being reported daily, that’s a sharp 43% increase in such crimes.
We, migrants, have been subjected not only to real-life physical and psychological threats and violence, but on top of that many of us live in constant fear of attacks or retribution.
The entire muslim population was described in despicable words.
Two Pakistani men were brutally attacked on the streets and at their home.
Spanish man was shouted at and pushed around for 15 minutes and followed home. African refugees were assaulted in the QUB area.
A man was stabbed for not being a local.
A group of teenagers playing football was attacked for being foreign.
An MLA was verbally abused because of the colour of her skin.
Polish families had their windows and cars damaged.
A man in Lisburn was very badly beaten.
Excrements were thrown at a Romanian cyclist.
I know of at least 10 families who are either strongly considering leaving or have already made plans to leave the province for the South or Britain. It is hard-breaking to see my friends who work for the NHS, BELB and many other public and private organisations make a hard decision to abandon their lives here because of fear and intimidation. I wish I could convince them to stay. NI/EIRE is or should be a place for everyone: migrants, locals, muslims, jews, christians and more. It shouldn’t matter if you’re straight or gay, black or white, prod or cat.
We’re all humans and we all fundamentally want to live our lives in peace and respect. This place, filled with loving and great people, can’t succumb to noisy and dangerous few who are bent on keeping NI in the middle-ages.
It’s time to shove this province from the 50’s into the XXI c.
This sort of #lazyracism just won’t do.
A big Thank You to everybody who is planning to attend the march!
Spread the word. Bring your friends, children, partners, cats and dogs – the more the merrier! 🙂
Don’t bring your party politics or agendas – let’s all unite against racism, whatever our differences!