HOPE not hate

Political

#MoreInCommon

#MoreInCommon

Following the EU Referendum vote, we decided to do something huge to create a positive feeling of hope in the face of the upsurge in hate speech and hate crime we could see happening. With Eastern and central Europeans being told that they were no longer welcome here, and ethnic minority Britons being told to “go home” and Muslims and Jews being abused on the street, we knew we had a different message to offer.

But this was not the Britain we know and love. These thugs did not speak for the vast majority of people in the country.

We created #MoreInCommon, a national campaign to bring our communities back together. Over the summer of 2016 we held #MoreInCommon community meetings around the country to organise our response to this hatred. Scroll down to see reports of just some of the meetings that took place.

Many of the groups focused their energies on joining in with a national More In Common weekend on 3rd-4th September, but since then, many groups have gone on to meet regularly, and to continue spreading positive messages of hope and togetherness in their local communities.


These short films from our More In Common weekend on 3rd and 4th September really capture the spirit of what we achieved this summer



#MoreInCommon Meeting Updates

posted by: Jason | on: Saturday, 6 August 2016, 15:40

Manchester

Manchester Hope not Hate are holding their third meeting on Monday 8th August with a view to holding a community picnic in Platt Fields Park on Saturday 3rd September under the More in Common theme.

We note that over 500 people have expressed an interest on line, and our primary purpose, going forward, will be to involve as many as those as possible in re-establishing a regular group in Manchester. In the past, our activity has tended to coalesce around European Elections, for example the Sack Nick Griffin campaign in 2014. Or in areas of North Manchester where the BNP or UKIP have threatened. However, in the new situation, we believe there will be much more scope for pro-active campaigning for our multi-cultural society, rather than responding to threats from the politics of hate alone, much though both may be needed.

Almost 40 people attended our first lively meeting in Manchester. All but two of those attending were new to HnH and most voiced a determination that they could no longer sit by and watch our social problems grow.

A six-person committee has been set up to drive activities forward and more localised Hnh meetings will now take place in Stockport, Rochdale and Salford. An activist from Blackburn also volunteered to help set up a group there. An event in Salford n, Amnesty Acoustics, on Friday 29th July, was badged under the More in Common Theme by one of our new supporters.

top | Click here to be in touch with the organiser and find out more


posted by: Jason | on: Saturday, 6 August 2016, 15:40

East Lancashire

East Lancashire East Lancashire Hope not Hate, after two meetings; 13th and 27th July, agreed to hold on 3rd September a More in Common event in Burnley under the theme ‘Pull up a Chair and Chat’ , aimed at encouraging dialogue from people from different backgrounds to emphasise the more in common outweighs differences in a time of division. With a community picnic at the same time. Our timing is to reflect the hour of dusk (8pm) as we have a laser, a beacon of hope, to draw attention to our activity.A particular feature of our meetings was people in attendance who in the past have followed HOPE not hate on line but who now want to do more. Also the desire to draw in people from all communities.

top | Click here to be in touch with the organiser and find out more


posted by: Jason | on: Saturday, 6 August 2016, 15:40

North West Lancashire

A meeting in Preston on 18th July attracted people from Lancaster, Blackpool, Poulton-le-Fylde, as well as Preston and the surrounding area.

A particular emphasis was the need for activity in Blackpool, with perhaps a recognition Preston already has much activity; through the trades council, cross faith links and other initiatives.

The main consensus reflected a thirst for information and ‘stories&rfsquo; to help build a narrative to address the xenophobic ideas those attending encountered in daily life. The two youngest in attendance agreed to take a lead in pulling things together.

top | Click here to be in touch with the organiser and find out more


posted by: Jemma | on: Saturday, 6 August 2016, 09:20

Hull

The Hull meeting was immediately productive as people were committed to discussing how to diffuse the heightened tension in Hull since the referendum result. The residents proudly believe that there are only positive things at the core of Hull, it being the home to William Wilberforce, the Freedom Festival and the next City of Culture.

Hull

On that note they agreed to shape the Hull MoreInCommon event to highlight the city as being the “City of Cultures”. This would involve all the migrant and faith community groups to take part in a “shared recipe and food day”. The group assigned tasks to get the ball rolling immediately, created an online space to discuss and promote further, organised a second meeting to bring it all together and settled on the event being held on Sunday 4th of September.

top | Click here to be in touch with the organiser and find out more


Norwich

posted by: Lee | on: Monday, 1 August 2016, 22:30

For the Norwich meeting we had a good turnout of 25 people. After introducing ourselves, talking about what we like about Norwich best and talking about the implications of Brexit we came up with several ideas for community action. We discussed the possibility of working with the International Club; a club where people from all over the world meet (such as students and tourists). We also had the idea of a world food event with food from all different nationalities.

An event outside a Romanian shop that was burnt down was also suggested, however it is down a narrow road so the nature of the event is still to be decided.

We also talked about the various different groups we can work with in the future such as Trade Unions and the inter-faith network

A really productive meeting!

top | Click here to be in touch with the organiser and find out more


Lewisham

posted by: Dawn | on: Monday, 1 August 2016, 13:20

The Lewisham MIC group has already held three meetings! The initial meeting on 11/7 @ The Albany Theatre in Deptford. This was well attended and everyone contributed to the discussions and activities. People were still talking even after our time had elapsed! Immediate plans were made to continue discussions and planning in a second meeting a week later 18/7! Prior to the next meeting, a Lewisham Facebook page had been set up. This second meeting took place and draft aims and objectives for the group and the agenda for the third meeting at Lewisham Town Hall 28/7 came out of this meeting.

Councillor James Walsh who had organised the booking for the group in the Council Chambers at Lewisham Town Hall was exceptionally keen to facilitate the meeting and was successful in getting other Lewisham councillors to the meeting in support of HOPE not hate MIC Lewisham. Councillor Janet Daby who is involved in many areas of the council’s services including community safety and taking the lead on reducing hate crime was an enthusiastic, encouraging and informative contributor to the discussion. Also providing supportive input were council officers responsible for crime enforcement and regulation with strategies to deal with hate crime. Community cohesion is a priority for Lewisham and there is funding available for local activities that Lewisham MIC group could apply for. Information about other groups in Lewisham that could support, contribute to and even join in with MIC events or include the MIC group in their activities was to be provided by the council officers. Plans to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Race Relations Act 76 in November this year were shared. The civic mayor plans that the centrepiece will be Black History month and then other events throughout the year all of which MIC Lewisham can be a part of. This was a good example of the content of the discussion that indicated the long term aspect of the networking that was a hugely important part of the meeting.

There were some new faces who joined the Lewisham MIC group and the established members of the group were well organised for the meeting and effective in including the new people. The date for the next meeting was decided 08/08 and for the future, monthly meetings on the 2nd Monday every month.

Finally there was an impromptu TV interview; Cllr Janet Daby and I were asked a few questions on camera for London Live about racist attacks, hate crimes and the impact of the EU Referendum on these. I felt we were united on the issues and hope this came over when this was televised.

A really productive meeting!

top | Click here to be in touch with the organiser and find out more


Brighton

posted by: Nick | on: Monday, 1 August 2016, 13:20

HOPE not hate facilitated a More In Common meeting in Brighton on 25th July. Despite it being a beautiful summer’s evening down by the seaside, around 60 attendees filled the meeting space to discuss the challenges facing Brighton, and how they could show solidarity with communities coming under attack in the wake of the referendum result.

The meeting began with a structured discussion on how the attendees were feeling, in the sense of what emotions the turbulence of the last few weeks had brought up. As well as the expected ‘frustration’ and ‘anger’, there were voices of ‘HOPE’ and ‘optimism’ in the room from the outset. It must be stressed that whilst the former emotions are certainly understandable, the sight of so many people, not just in Brighton but around the country, coming together to plan what happens next are signs of HOPE in themselves. Following this, we entered into a discussion about why HOPE not hate was running the ‘More In Common’ project, and how, despite the change in fortunes for the British far right, the mainstreaming of racism and xenophobia means that those of those of us determined to create a positive and united Britain must work harder to make this a reality in what are clearly difficult times.

The group was quick to analyse the need for a two-pronged approach in Brighton; a short term project to engage as many of the town’s liberal support as possible, and a long term community organising strategy in other areas. Brighton is a town which, despite its progressive image, will face many serious challenges over the years to come, as communities removed from the town centre possess many of the same feelings of disenfranchisement, anger and resentment as can be found in post-industrial communities. How Brighton can unite its progressive communities on the one hand, and the aforementioned communities on the other, will require great thought and hard work.

Finally, the group began structured discussions on the ‘More In Common’ event for the town; with a potential date and some fantastic ideas already making their way into the mix early on which is great to see. There’s a huge amount of potential in this group, and we at HOPE not hate are looking forward to seeing what they can achieve over the coming weeks and months.

top | Click here to be in touch with the organiser and find out more


Leicester

posted by: Jemma Levene | on: Saturday, 30 July 2016, 18:00

The city of Leicester is famed for being a multicultural melting pot. It is one of the most diverse places in Europe, and one of the most peaceful. However, it has not always been that way. It has taken many people lots of very hard work to move it away from the National Front demos of the 1970s to the open and welcoming city it is today. This is why just under a 100 people, from all sorts of backgrounds, came together in Highfields to talk about what can be done with the recent spike in hate crime seen since the referendum.

The meeting opened with two local police officers answering questions and offering advice on what can be done to report a hate crime. This was then followed by group discussions on what action can we take to ensure Leicester remains the welcome place where so many people choose to bring up their families.

Leicester

Actions were split into two fields, one for actions an individual can do and another for group action. The action for individuals were things such as wearing a safety pin to show you are against hate crime and a safe person to be around, sharing good news stories on social media or just having open conversations at the school gate or water cooler.

The group action work centred on building networks around multi-faith groups that already exist in Leicester. These can bring people together around a common campaign, like Fairtrade, or activity, such as football or cricket. One campaign that the group supported was the touring of Leicester’s “hope tree” around faith centres, schools and high streets.

There is a lot planned for Leicester, so watch this space for details.

top | Click here to be in touch with the organiser and find out more


Northampton

posted by: Jemma Levene | on: Saturday, 30 July 2016, 18:00

The Northampton meeting was hosted by long term friends of HOPE not hate, Northampton Rights and Equalities Council. Alongside their AGM, they invited Pragna Patel from Southall Black Sisters who gave a fantastic speech about her view on the current state in the UK and the current challenges facing the BME community today. Topics ranged from the struggles facing new migrants and their fears of deportation to the lingering effects of colonialism; truly food for thought. Discussion then followed around the politics landscape for the Black community and what can be done to improve things?

Northampton

It was decided that we would encourage everyone to lobby their local councillor for the county’s local authorities to do more to tackle hate crime. Details to be announce shortly.

A big thank you to everyone at NREC for arranging the meeting.

top | Click here to be in touch with the organiser and find out more


Beccles

posted by: Jemma Levene | on: Saturday, 30 July 2016, 18:00

The community of Beccles have decided that they want to establish themselves as a 'Welcome' town, in spirit if not in name. There is a lot of goodwill in the town and this is being channelled into ensuring that newcomers to the community, wherever they hail from, receive a warm and timely welcome, with a view to setting up a local support group to help this happen.

They have lots of ideas about how to draw on the ‘more in common’ theme and will be hosting a range of regular events, with the first being a ‘Communi-tea’ event very soon in the hope that it will help to encourage the positive conversations. They are intent on ensuring that all people feel comfortable in their community; the resounding message is one of welcome and friendliness.

top | Click here to be in touch with the organiser and find out more


Vauxhall

posted by: Jemma Levene | on: Friday, 29 July 2016, 17:00

HOPE not hate were invited to join the Prisoners’ Education Trust, one of the tenants in Vauxhall’s award winning Foundry building. The Trust put on The Foundry Inclusion Event for all the other tenants in the building, presenting information and running activities on raising awareness of and providing learning opportunities to facilitate understanding of different cultures.

The building houses several other charities whose staff participated in the event enthusiastically. There were ‘bite-sized’ activities and games to sample food and drinks from other countries/cultures. A few people including a HOPE not hate representative spoke briefly about each of their individual organisations and current campaigns.

The common themes were the ‘fall out’ from the EU Referendum and the celebration of cultural diversity.

top | Click here to be in touch with the organiser and find out more


Brighton

posted by: Jemma Levene | on: Friday, 29 July 2016, 17:00

HOPE not hate facilitated a More In Common meeting in Brighton on 25th July. Despite it being a beautiful summer’s evening down by the seaside, around 60 attendees filled the meeting space to discuss the challenges facing Brighton, and how they could show solidarity with communities coming under attack in the wake of the referendum result.

The meeting began with a structured discussion on how the attendees were feeling, in the sense of what emotions the turbulence of the last few weeks had brought up. As well as the expected ‘frustration’ and ‘anger’, there were voices of ‘HOPE’ and ‘optimism’ in the room from the outset.

The group was quick to analyse the need for a two-pronged approach in Brighton; a short term project to engage as many of the town’s liberal support as possible, and a long term community organising strategy in other areas. Brighton is a town which, despite its progressive image, will face many serious challenges over the years to come, as communities removed from the town centre possess many of the same feelings of disenfranchisement, anger and resentment as can be found in post-industrial communities. How Brighton can unite its progressive communities on the one hand, and the aforementioned communities on the other, will require great thought and hard work.

Finally, the group began structured discussions on the ‘More In Common’ event for the town; with a potential date and some fantastic ideas already making their way into the mix early on which is great to see. There’s a huge amount of potential in this group, and we at HOPE not hate are looking forward to seeing what they can achieve over the coming weeks and months.

top | Click here to be in touch with the organiser and find out more


Croydon

posted by: Jemma Levene | on: Friday, 29 July 2016, 17:00

This meeting was held in a church hall at St Pauls URC Church in a really leafy part of Croydon. A treat for me to breathe some fresher air than usual! It was also a breath of fresh air to watch as more and more people turned up, willing and eager to participate; between 25 & 30 people attended. There was a good range people of all age, including those active in the Muslim community in Croydon, who between them are involved in their local refugee association, Muslim association and volunteering in a local soup kitchen.

Discussions were lively and relevant. People quickly arrived at ideas for action, suggested possible venues for future events/meetings, signed up to provide contact details and be included in a Facebook group. One person volunteered to set up the Facebook group; this has now been done! Time went quickly and everyone agreed a second meeting was necessary as soon as possible to consolidate their plans including plans to have an event sharing/tasting of foods from different cultures.

A successful meeting which has initiated a group with potential to work together in their communities on a long term basis.

top | Click here to be in touch with the organiser and find out more


Sutton

posted by: Jemma Levene | on: Thursday, 28 July 2016, 16:00

Small but exceedingly productive meeting. Introductions provided information on everyone’s really useful skills including teaching, performance arts, online learning & NHS campaigning. Two volunteers to set up a Facebook group. Discussion was lively and lots of ideas were shared and considered including connecting with other local community groups and charities, organising a flash mob, getting a granddaughter who is media champion for the Young Greens involved and planning for community organising in 2017.

Sutton

The group decided to work to organise in the community to ‘grow’ the group and to plan the next meeting in early September to consolidate their ideas into events. We ended with the group picture. Thoroughly enjoyable meeting with realistic, relevant and imaginative outcomes.

top | Click here to be in touch with the organiser and find out more


Edgware

posted by: Jemma Levene | on: Thursday, 28 July 2016, 16:00

The Edgware More In Common meeting brought together a small group of people who are all committed to celebrating the harmony and tolerance found in the local area, while drawing together people from very diverse communities. Plans were drawn up for a More In Common community picnic on 4 September in Stonegrove Park, with a specific target of inviting every different local group.

Edgware

Further ideas being discussed were community gardening groups, as well as a Barnet wide festival, and further engagement in some of the areas harder to reach communities.

top | Click here to be in touch with the organiser and find out more


Portsmouth

posted by: Jemma Levene | on: Wednesday, 27 July 2016, 10:15

The Portsmouth meeting was shaped by everyone’s desire to see an inclusive meeting that appealed to and used the input of the wider community. It was great to see people acknowledge that the success of a community event, whatever it may be, would rest on their ability to include everyone in the community i.e. faith groups, migrant communities, sporting associations, university groups, youth clubs. With that in mind, it was agreed that a second meeting would take place next week to conclude on what type of event to conduct and where to hold it.

top | Click here to be in touch with the organiser and find out more


Southampton

posted by: Jemma Levene | on: Wednesday, 27 July 2016, 9:15

Southampton’s More In Common meeting saw a healthy input from participants of all ages, and we were able to come away with a nice foundation for a community event. There was a strong desire to make the most of any public showing of diversity and openness.

Southampton

The groups discussed holding a series of small food-based events both in and outdoors around Southampton. The group also came up with a strategic plan for which organisations and people to contact in order to promote events and reach out to interested parties.

top | Click here to be in touch with the organiser and find out more


Swindon

posted by: Jemma Levene | on: Wednesday, 27 July 2016, 9:15

Around 30 people attended the meeting at the Harbour Project in Swindon, a drop-in centre for refugees and asylum seekers, described as a ‘hidden jewel’ by one participant.

Swindon

A HOPE not hate group was set up just over a year ago in the town and the meeting renewed enthusiasm to get the group active and increase its presence within the town and local communities.

top | Click here to be in touch with the organiser and find out more


Aberystwyth

posted by: Jemma Levene | on: Wednesday, 27 July 2016, 9:15

Aberystwyth has been a constant source of good news in Wales, being the first town to resettle Syrian refugees who have recently been handing out flowers in the town by way of thanks. As well as this HOPE not Hate Campaigns already has a strong network of activists in the area who worked to campaign against UKIP in the recent Welsh Assembly elections.

Aberystwyth

More positive news came from the More in Common meeting, which set a goal to organise activities for the first week of September, showing a clear determination to promote social cohesion in a town that has already been successfully working against hate.

top | Click here to be in touch with the organiser and find out more


Newport

posted by: Jemma Levene | on: Wednesday, 27 July 2016, 9:15

The meeting in Newport was highly productive with discussion centring around what Newport looks like at its best: a town with a proud industrial heritage and a history of Chartism as well as a strong sense of community. It is likely that further More in Common meetings will centre around reflecting this community-centred view of Newport.

Newport

Other actions that came from the meeting include setting up a HOPE not Hate group within the town and seeking to break the Guinness World Record for the world’s most multicultural litter pick. The meeting was facilitated by Ellyse, the coordinator of a fantastic local volunteer project ‘Humans of Maindee’ which is run by young people from the local area.

top | Click here to be in touch with the organiser and find out more


Cardiff

posted by: Jemma Levene | on: Wednesday, 27 July 2016, 9:15

Over 60 people attend the More in Common meeting held at the Oasis Refugee Centre in Splott, a fantastic turnout. Not only was the turnout promising, there was also a great atmosphere throughout the meeting as everyone got to know each other and discussed how communities can be brought back together in one of the UK’s most multicultural cities.

Cardiff

The meeting also successfully produced two working groups following on from the meeting’s discussions; one focusing on organising a series of local events across the city and the second seeking to identify spaces in the city where discussion about immigration can take place with the general public. This reflects not only the enthusiasm for the More in Common campaign in Cardiff but a desire to encourage positive community relations in the city.

top | Click here to be in touch with the organiser and find out more


Gloucester

posted by: Jemma Levene | on: Wednesday, 27 July 2016, 9:15

The meeting in Gloucester included a series of conversations which resulted in several strategies for actions in both Gloucester and Cheltenham. Specifically, participants spoke about how a system could be developed to provide information and support for those reporting hate crime. The second plan was for events to be identified where HOPE not Hate stalls could be set up to start conversations within their communities as well as to identify opportunities to get positive stories covered in local media.

top | Click here to be in touch with the organiser and find out more


Haringey

posted by: Jemma Levene | on: Friday, 22 July 2016, 16:20

The #MoreInCommon Haringey meeting was a productive success. It had a great balance between understanding the need for top-down reassurance from community leaders and the bottom-up community desire to do something conspicuous about social cohesion. Key to this was the fact that there were two Labour councillors present with one holding the cabinet portfolio responsible for communities and community events. Another high-profile attendee was MP Catherine West who was keen to attend and make it known that the community needed to respond loudly to racism and the threat of division.

Haringey

The outcome of the meeting was a commitment to have several “litter-pick” days in the different wards in the lead up to a main event on the #MoreInCommon Weekend at the start of September. The event itself would possibly piggyback on a larger council event that would in-turn use the #MoreInCommon theme. This event would draw upon everyone in the community: faith, youth and migrant groups, history societies, comedy, music, arts and acting groups, friends of green spaces, sporting clubs, gyms, pubs, the huge array of Haringey restaurants, environmental groups, choirs, language societies, libraries and cinema clubs.

It was excellent to see the enthusiasm, the local knowledge and the unperturbed willingness to see a large and ambitious event take place.

top | Click here to be in touch with the organiser and find out more


Caerphilly

posted by: Jemma Levene | on: Thursday, 21 July 2016, 16:20

Caerphilly’s meeting on 14 July was very productive, resulting in, among other things, exciting plans for a cultural welcome night to be held at the Old Library. Those who attended are very keen to see awareness of HOPE not hate and the More In Common campaign grown in the local area, and are looking forward to seeing the new leaflets, posters and merchandise currently being produced for groups to use. The possibility of booking a stall at the Big Cheese Festival was also raised.

top | Click here to be in touch with the organiser and find out more


Exeter

posted by: Jemma Levene | on: Thursday, 21 July 2016, 16:20

Our Exeter meeting on 14 July was facilitated by our fantastic organiser, Tom Godwin. Having now got to know each other, the group are arranging their next meeting, with a view to finalising details of specific actions that were suggested, including an event in the town centre to raise awareness of the More In Common campaign.

Exeter

top | Click here to be in touch with the organiser and find out more


Carmarthen

posted by: Jemma Levene | on: Thursday, 21 July 2016, 16:20

Nearly 30 people attended the first More In Common meeting in Carmarthen, with some really exciting ideas raised, including the possibility of a ‘speed dating’ style event in the town centre around the theme “do you have an opinion on migration?”. Also discussed was a training day on how to have conversations around immigration, as well as planning for a family fun day or festival.

Carmarthen

top | Click here to be in touch with the organiser and find out more


Derby

posted by: Jemma Levene | on: Thursday, 21 July 2016, 16:20

On 16 July, we were thrilled to be part of a wide programme of events, at which 25 attended a More In Common workshop. We received a really warm welcome from a fantastic group of people. Most excitingly of all, Sonya, one of our participants from last year’s residential HOPE Camp, has now taken charge of setting up a local HOPE not hate group, and will be working with our organizer Keith.

Derby

top | Click here to be in touch with the organiser and find out more


Telford

posted by: Jemma Levene | on: Thursday, 21 July 2016, 16:20

Telford is a town that describes itself as ‘the birthplace of Industry’. It is now a town with severe deprivation. It is predominantly White British with a small Asian community. At the More In Common meeting, ideas that were brought up were hosting a ‘cup-of-tea’ event in Hadley and Wellington to help bring people together. The aim will be to involve all faiths in this. There is also a Stand up to Racism event on the 22nd July to get the ball rolling.

top | Click here to be in touch with the organiser and find out more


Hereford

posted by: Jemma Levene | on: Thursday, 21 July 2016, 16:20

Hereford is currently going through some regeneration but still suffers from deprivation since the fall in industry. Our More In Common meeting, hosted by the local church, had a large turnout of over 30 people. Several different ideas were discussed, including a multi-cultural food event, filming stories of local people, using singing or even starting a choir to include immigrants, and possibly holding a vigil in solidarity with those affected by post-Brexit racism. The city is also making a culture bid so the group will see if this co8ld prove a platform for organising a specific event or series of events showing that we have more in common than that which divides us.

top | Click here to be in touch with the organiser and find out more


Ely

posted by: Jemma Levene | on: Thursday, 21 July 2016, 16:20

Ely is a small city in North Cambridgeshire. The city itself was almost 50/50 split on the Brexit result. The group here have built connections with the local rotary club, who will see if we can have a stall at their local community fun-day. Also discussed was the possibility of having a ‘more in common’ theme for the local art competition for students.

top | Click here to be in touch with the organiser and find out more


Framlingham

posted by: Jemma Levene | on: Thursday, 21 July 2016, 16:20

One of the best aspects of having a huge wave of new activists to HOPE not hate is that we get to reach out to new communities that previously would have been challenging due to numbers. One such place is the historic market town of Framlingham in rural Suffolk. Famed for the castle where Mary Tudor was proclaimed to be Queen and for Framlingham College, it might seem an odd place for HOPE not hate to hold a meeting.

Although HOPE not hate has previously focused its work in communities that have been hit hardest by major economic shocks, such as collapse in mining and manufacturing industries, the new Middle England project shows that community tension and xenophobia can be spread throughout the country, not just in working class communities.

The local residents at the meeting believed that despite there being no obvious signs of tension in the town, there was an undercurrent of division following Brexit that was not previously there. Locals seemed more willing to announce their political views and at the same time, unwilling to let others do so when they conflicted with their own. An unhealthy duality.

It was poignant that we met in the local Unitarian Church, a stature to Framlingham’s welcoming past. Travel back a few hundred years and town was host to “foreign” visitors buying and selling goods at the market, unusual for East Anglia at the time, and a place non conformists came to practise their religion, free from the oppression they would have received elsewhere. Which is why the venue we sat in is stood proudly on a main room, rather than tucked away down a back street.

HOPE not hate will be a part of the town’s heritage day, as the local group are keen to remind current residents of this welcoming past, and for it to continue in the Framlingham of today. Hopefully, this soft launch can be a stepping stone to honest discussion around the real issues that are affect people today.

top | Click here to be in touch with the organiser and find out more


Rotherham

At the meeting on 18th July, the group discussed the way the vote to leave the EU has impacted upon ethnic minority communities in Rotherham, and the fact that those people who already held racist views now feel emboldened to act upon them. Both Muslim women and children of ethnic minorities have been feeling the negative effects of the result.

The group looked at ways in which we might rebuild a sense of pride in Rotherham, turn the tide on the racism and xenophobia as well as encourage a setting whereby people from different communities in Rotherham can come together in celebration. Plans are afoot for a More In Common event later this summer.

top | Click here to be in touch with the organiser and find out more


Barking

posted by: Jemma Levene | on: Thursday, 21 July 2016, 16:20

The #MoreInCommon Barking meeting was small and very, very good. Everyone attending had a deep understanding of their community and the problems that it faces. They were also proud of the stance that Barking took against the BNP in the past.

Barking

The meeting itself led us to conclude that perhaps catharsis is what is required in Barking. To that end the group decided that the appropriate event would be a type of “listening/conversation” exercise held in a public place with high footfall. This exercise would involve asking people to write down or express their feelings about the referendum and what we have in common. We agreed to a location, date, and which community/volunteer/migrant/faith groups would be interested in assisting.

Everyone has taken on some type of responsibility and the connections made with these supporters will be vital for future campaigns in the area.

top | Click here to be in touch with the organiser and find out more


Newcastle

posted by: Paul Meszaros | on: Friday, 15 July 2016, 18:32

A meeting was held in Newcastle last night to discuss the rise in racism following the often divisive and negative campaign for the European Referendum. This well attended and positive meeting heard from many local people, several of whom were new to campaigning, about their hopes and fears for the future.

The meeting resolved to:

It was a real pleasure to be part of such a positive meeting and we will have more news about activity in Newcastle soon.

top | Click here to be in touch with the organiser and find out more


Sheffield

posted by: Andy Burrows | on: Wednesday, 13 July 2016, 11:09

It's always awkward walking into an unknown group isn't it? Generally my mind whizzes through every permutation possible. Will they be friendly? Will it be stern and serious? Will I fidget to the point that people think I have a medical condition?

Well I needn't have worried, those fears turned out to be as real as Donald Trump's hair. The first meeting of the Sheffield HOPE not hate group on Thursday 7 July turned out to be a success.

The first thing that struck me as I entered the room was the number of people present. Now I know that suggests a dim view of humanity on my part, but given how we as a nation have been portrayed in the media lately, who can blame me? The room was packed! It restored some faith to see so many people, giving up their time for the benefit of the community at large.

We took our seats in a circle. No-one looked too intimidating, there were a lot of smiling faces, a grown-up mother and daughter duo, a young couple with their children, some people looking as uncertain as myself. So far so good.

First off came “Creeping Death”: I mean going around the circle introducing yourself to the group at large. I spluttered out my name and quickly hit a verbal dead end. I was interested to note the diversity within the group. Local counsellors, community development professionals, teachers, lecturers, small business owners, students and first timers like myself. All motivated to come and stand up to the upsurge in racism our recent Brexit vote had engendered.

Once the introductions were over, Paul [the group leader] explained our objectives. A natural speaker, confident with an easy humour, he drew us in with an ease that I thought most politicians would envy.

‘We have more in common’

HOPE not hate is organising a series of events across the UK on 3 September, on the theme of "We Have More In Common". For those unfamiliar with the quote, it was lifted from the maiden Parliamentary speech given by the murdered MP Jo Cox. She was a fine woman who represented her constituency in Batley with courage and conviction.

First came our shared stories. There was no shortage of tales to be told, then suggestions on how to achieve our goals. We could provide training within schools or other venues to empower individuals to safely challenge racism. Others suggested linking with local festivals to get our messages across. or creating literature with striking imagery to disseminate across the city, or even theatrical pieces to explore given scenarios. There was no shortage of good ideas, but that was for future meetings.

Looking back on the hour-and-a-half that flew by, I realised a couple of things. I'd been thinking of Christopher Isherwood lately, wondering how it felt to be in his shoes as he observed the country around him - Germany in the 1930s - become gripped by terrible antisemitism and racism? Did it feel the same then as it does now? Disenfranchised people driven by austerity and a hate-filled media to target groups of people who were not to blame? Was history repeating itself to some extent?

Yes and no. He was a passive observer, and there were few such groups as the people before me now, who were willing to stand up to such hate with a better message.

Oh: and I also realised that I'd sat there engrossed for 90 minutes. Not fidgeting at all.

top | Click here to be in touch with the organiser and find out more


Nottingham

posted by: Jemma Levene | on: Wednesday, 13 July 2016, 00:20

Held in a packed room in Nottingham, it was clear from the meeting that post referendum social rifts had shocked Nottinghamshire residents.

Stories of members of the migrants’ communities - European and non-European, first generation and fourth - all suffering from a dramatic rise in hate directed at them in the street abounded. Families feeling unwelcome in their homes and community asked what could we do to support them.

On top of this was a desire to repair the social damage following Brexit, to put the vote behind us and to rebuild relationships. HOPE not hate (Hnh) listened and will now be putting on a community training event on 21 July in Nottingham city centre.

The training addresses two main issues that people wanted help with. Firstly, how to challenge racism in the street and, secondly, how to develop some basic community organising skills. The sessions will be focusing around a technique called the "Story of Us", a tool used in many civil rights campaigns. We will be aiming to train 60 new volunteers.

top | Click here to be in touch with the organiser and find out more


Thurrock

posted by: Jemma Levene | on: Wednesday, 13 July 2016, 00:19

Thurrock has, for many years, been at the forefront of Hnh’s campaigning work. With UKIP now the official opposition on the local council and the social fallout following the EU referendum, it is ever more important to offer the local residents alternative messages to fear and xenophobic finger- pointing.

At a #MoreInCommon meeting in Grays on 7 July,it was clear from those attending that Thurrock felt distant from the mainstream course of events.

For many residents, the lack of good job prospects and cuts in vital local services have left growing anger and resentment. It is clear that people feel politicians are not listening to their concerns, leaving a vacuum filled by UKIP, mixing up people's genuine concerns and issues with messages of anti-immigration racism that distract from discussion of real solutions.

At the meeting, it was decided that a local campaign needs to be launched to get people talking about their concerns and to provide understanding that can take them past rhetoric picked up from the right-wing media and get to the heart of their problems.

Therefore, HOPE not hate will be launching friendly community events to get people talking. The plan is to holding welcoming community-rooted events away from offices and meeting rooms and go into the heart of neighbourhoods. Informal BBQs and chats over a cuppa on the very streets that need Hnh’s message more than ever before will help get things moving. These conversations will then shape the future of the Thurrock campaign.

top | Click here to be in touch with the organiser and find out more


Swansea

posted by: Jemma Levene | on: Wednesday, 13 July 2016, 00:19

Thirty-five people from a variety of different backgrounds met in Swansea to discuss the aftermath of the referendum. Pleasingly, people who had voted Leave and Remain were united by a desire to challenge hatred.

The common theme was to explore how to build on the amazing success of Wales’ run in the European Football Championships and combine efforts across the town for a major event.

There was interest in the need to campaign among disaffected people in the community, particularly the young, and the local Hnh group will be meeting again soon to thrash out details of its planned events and actions.

top | Click here to be in touch with the organiser and find out more


Merthyr Tydfil

posted by: Jemma Levene | on: Wednesday, 13 July 2016, 00:18

Our first meeting in Merthyr led to some exciting developments and the beginning of a local Hnh presence. Led by our Merthyr organiser, we will be working hard over the next few months in the South Wales Valleys.

Merthyr is a town built through migration and those present discussed ways of celebrating and articulating this tradition and, in particular, how to turn the tide against UKIP.

top | Click here to be in touch with the organiser and find out more


Manchester

posted by: Jemma Levene | on: Wednesday, 13 July 2016, 00:18

Almost 40 people attended a lively meeting in Manchester. All but two of those attending were new to Hnh and most voiced a determination that they could no longer sit by and watch our social problems grow.

The meeting broke into four groups, each discussing local actions plans for their communities.

A six-person committee has been set up to drive activities forward and more localised Hnh meetings will now take place in Stockport, Rochdale and Salford. An activist from Blackburn also volunteered to help set up a group there.

top | Click here to be in touch with the organiser and find out more


Southend

posted by: Jemma Levene | on: Wednesday, 13 July 2016, 00:17

Over 60 Southend residents gave up their Monday evening to make their way to the Westcliffe URC to discuss what can be done in the wake of the social divisions that have arisen post-Brexit.

The first half of the meeting was open to people to talk about their feelings and concern in the “new normal” of British politics.

Stories were shared of local European residents packing their bags and heading back to their country of origin, leaving behind their jobs and uprooting their children who probably only know of life in Essex.

However, it was not all doom and gloom. A great desire was reflected from the minority population in Southend to pull together and establish community action plans. A gardening group called “Blooming Foreigners” is just one of a number of initiatives that have already been set up.

Those at the meeting seemed keen to organise fora to share experiences and rebuild community links, with a local clergyman keen to stress the need to not just speak to like-minded people but also to those with concerns about immigration. A massive thank you to friends at CAST for hosting the meeting!

top | Click here to be in touch with the organiser and find out more


Colchester

posted by: Jemma Levene | on: Monday, 11 July 2016, 23:23

One of our biggest More In Common meetings so far, Colchester saw a turnout of 50 people, so even our first meeting felt like a celebration of the great community we live in! Plans have now begun to run a community picnic in the near future, as well as a music event and working with local Citizens group on a large fun day in October, as well as an exciting idea to film local people’s lives in what may be a long term project.

top | Click here to be in touch with the organiser and find out more


Ipswich

posted by: Jemma Levene | on: Monday, 11 July 2016, 23:20

Photo:  John Fielding

Photo: John Fielding

Our initial More In Common meeting in Ipswich was an opportunity to come together and share ideas for bringing communities together in the local area.

Plans for the next few months include running a food event on Norwich Road, involving all communities in fun days organised by councils, contacting the Student Union of Suffolk College to run projects in the next academic year, and working with a new BAME business network in Ipswich.

Loads of energy and excitement about the future in Ipswich!

top | Click here to be in touch with the organiser and find out more


York

posted by: Paul Meszaros | on: Friday, 8 July 2016, 14:51

Photo Jimmy Guano

Photo Jimmy Guano

A vibrant meeting of over 30 people came together in York last night as part of the national HOPE not hate #More In Common initiative.

A really broad mix of people, from varied backgrounds, both young and older, resolved to set up a HOPE not hate group in York. Everyone was concerned about the rising levels of racism and racist assaults and all were determined to make sure that a voice of hope was raised in York, to show solidarity with the victims of racism, but also to work with those who may be vulnerable to racist ideologies.

A particular feature of the meeting was the number of people in attendance who in the past have followed HOPE not hate on line but who now want to do more.

As a result of this HOPE not hate can report that a #More In Common event will be held in York on September 3rd as well as leafleting and other activities leading up to it.

Many different ideas about possible future work in the city were suggested and discussed and the group resolved to meet again in the near future to start planning.

top | Click here to be in touch with the organiser and find out more


Cambridge

posted by: Elisabeth Pop | on: Friday, 8 July 2016, 13:06

Cambridge is one of the most diverse cities in UK, so it was a perfect place to hold a #MoreInCommon meeting.

Meeting together for the first time, people were able to share their dismay at some of the racism that has been stirred up since the Referendum result. Breaking into small groups, people brainstormed on finding ways to share the HOPE and togetherness that are synonymous with Cambridge. Exciting plans ensued, including planning a family fun day in Arbury, one of the most deprived wards in Cambridge. Due to take place in September, the event will focus around 5-a-side football, sharing food and bringing together white working class members of the community with their ethnic minority and migrant neighbours.

The group also agreed to reach out to the wider community in Huntingdon and work out how best to organise a solidarity event after members of the Polish community were targeted with “No more Polish vermin” hate messages.

The time to celebrate the fact that we have #MoreInCommon and to heal divisions is now! There is no sitting on the fence, each and every one of us has a role to play!

top | Click here to be in touch with the organiser and find out more


Share |
| top | back | home |