Unite against Hate billboard launch

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.”

20110215 UAH 01 – Nuala McKeever

At the event ceremony, Nuala McKeever was emcee and welcomed guests with some humour.

20110215 UAH 02 – Gerry Kelly

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)
  • SEEDS
  • John O’Doherty (Rainbow)
  • Outburst
  • 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”.

Allan LEONARD is a peacebuilder. I do this through my personal and professional vocations, with learning, exploring, and reporting. My specialism is the politics of Northern Ireland, whose people and land I love and where I have made my home. I believe in the power of the arts for conflict transformation, through vision, sound, and performance. I work for a shared society and a #sharedfuture Views expressed here may not represent those of current or previous employers or associations.