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”.
Writer & Photographer
My interest is in efforts to address ethnonational and other identity based conflicts, appreciating the power of belief and one’s adherence to particular world views. So, while it is useful to ascertain facts, realities are influenced by traditions and customs. I seek to learn and interpret this phenomenon, by making images and storytelling — documenting events and experiences of peacebuilding in Northern Ireland and beyond. There are many stories to tell.
Co-founder and editor of Shared Future News, which reports on peacebuilding in Northern Ireland. Co-founder and director of FactCheckNI, Northern Ireland’s first fact-checking service. Co-founder and secretary of FCT Belfast, a local member of the Forum for Cities in Transition, which is an international network of local government, business, and civil society representatives assisting each other with peacemaking. I also contribute to Northern Slant and Slugger O’Toole.