By Allan Leonard for Northern Ireland Foundation
At the Long Gallery at Parliament Buildings this afternoon, the anti-discrimination campaign group, Unite against Hate, formally launched their Northern Ireland wide billboard campaign
The billboard features several UAH Ambassadors paired up, with the message “Hate. We say no. So should you.”
At the event ceremony, Nuala McKeever was emcee and welcomed guests with some humour.
Junior deputy First Minister, Gerry Kelly MLA, gave official support to the campaign, concluding by saying we nees to throw expressions of hate “into the bonfires of history”.
The crowd then enjoyed a music performance by Joe Echo, who sang two songs with guitar, “Imagine” by John Lennon and “The One” by U2.
Evelyn Collins (Chief Executive, Equality Commission) stated her belief that Unite against Hate’s campaigns have helped “create an environment of zero tolerance of hate crimes”.
Awards were given to the representatives of the following organisations:
- Willie Hay (Speaker, Northern Ireland Assembly)
- Jerome Mullen (Honorary Consul of Poland)
- Paul Doherty (Belfast Metropolitan College)
- Keeli McGrogan (Southeastern Regional College)
- Chris Ledger (Disability and Arts Forum)
- Justina McCabe (Challenge of Change)
- John O’Doherty (Rainbow)
- Shantell (Oyster)
- Queens Film Theatre
- Nisha Tandon (ArtsEkta)
- Aiden Logan (Beyond Skin)
- Eileen Chan Hu (Chinese Welfare Association)
- Mohamed al Quarooti (Belfast Islamic Centre)
- Afaff Aly (Egyptian Society)
Finally, the three MLAs who sponsored today’s event were thanked — Basil McCrea, Conall McDevitt and Chris Lyttle — as were Unite against Hate organisers — Jeremy Adams and Eva Grossman.
In summary, as Nuala McKeever said during the awards presentations, “Only by working together do we make a difference”.