The GLA Squares Team estimate that over 2,000 people took part in this year’s 3rd Vigil against Hate Crime in Trafalgar Square, with many others taking part in similar events around the UK and abroad.
The event was organsied by 17-24-30 in partnership with the Harvey Milk Foundation.
Mark Healey, organiser of the event said “We had a good turnout again this year, although I did expect more people following three high-profile attacks in central London. The attack on Philip Salon that left him hospitalised for several weeks, the attack on the barman from Half-way 2 Heaven, and the brutal gang attack on the gay couple holding hands on Charing Cross Road.”
“However it’s not just about the numbers is it? It is about making as many people aware that there is a problem and that we all need to be vigilant, to look out for each other and keep our communities safe. At the same time we need to keep the pressure on local authorities to ensure that they are doing everything within their powers to prevent these attacks – especially in the current economic climate.”
“I am very pleased with how things went this year, we have a good team of trustees; Ryan Parkins, Martine Whittaker, Anthony Townsend, and Mark MacKenzie, and we have involved far more people leading up to the event during the various fund-raisers that we have held in the bars (especially the 2 Brewers which was amazing). I thank everyone who has been involved this year – all the volunteers who helped us make a difference. In particular I must mention the Harvey Milk Foundation, Southwark LGBT Network, and Appollo Construction for their generous support.”
There were many more vigils around the country this year, including Brighton, Kettering, Leicester, Norfolk, Norwich, Plymouth, Sussex, Suffolk, and Stoke. Even the people involved in the “Occupy the Stock Exchange” protest held a vigil outside St Pauls to show their support.
We have had some brilliant publicity with articles and listings appearing in Out in the City, Boyz Magazine, QX and Diva. We even made it onto the Crime Stoppers UK website!
Speakers and Performers
The Trafalgar Square Vigil was opened by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence who read a short poem and blessed the event, it also include performances by the Gay Symphonic Winds Orchestra and a choir consisting of members of the London Gay Men’s Chorus, Pink Singers and Diversity. They performed Hymn to the Hebrew Slaves, David of the White Rock, Make your own kind of Music and Somewhere over the rainbow. Mitchell Reece also performed two songs which really helped lift the spirits of the crowd.
Marcus Reeves did wonderful job as Master of Ceremonies, introducing Mark Healey founder 17-24-30 and Vigil organiser as the first speaker of the event.
Mark thanked everyone for their ongoing support. As well as remembering Ian Baynham, he asked talked about Stuart Walker pointing out that regardless of whether or not it is a hate crime “our communities can empathise with Stuarts family and friends, we know their pain because we know what it is like to lose someone loved in tragic circumstances, and we know that now is the time to show them our full support – our thoughts and prayers are with them right now”.
Richard Barnes Deputy Mayor of London sent his apologies as he is currently visiting Oslo, the scene of the horrific slaughter of so many young people earlier this year. Mark added “It is important that tonight, we remember the people of Oslo – how the acts of one person can do so much harm when influenced by extremist propoganda and how we must challenge these views. Ed Miliband Leader of the Labour Party sent a letter of support stating “The principles behind this gathering are a shining example of hope and defiance against the brutality of hate.”
Mark was followed by Lynne Featherstone MP Minister of Equalities, Beverley Smith Disability Hate Crime Network, and Rose Simpkins CEO Stop Hate UK.
At 8pm there was 2-minute silence to remember those we have lost, and those who need our ongoing support. Followed by Debbie Gold CEO Galop, who read out the roll call of names of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and disabled people whose lives have ended with violence over the past 10 years.
Debbie Gold said “We can’t hope to include everyone, therefore as we read these names, we also think about those whose names are not included, but whoses lives are just as important, including those who have taken their own lives.”
Stuart Milk , the Nephew of Harvey Milk and founder of the Harvey Milk Foundation. Elly Barnes Schools Out, recently listed as number one on the Independents Pink List 2011, Brian Paddick 2012 Liberal Democrats Party London Mayoral Candidate, Sue Sanders LGBT History Month, Vicki Barrs from the National Union of Students LGBT Liberation Campaign, Tessa Havers-Strong from Trans London, Ken Livingstone 2012 Labour Party London Mayoral Candidate, Lindsay River Age UK Opening Doors, Peter Tatchell Outrage and Peter Tatchell Foundation.
Beverley Smith talked about the daily need to educate people about hate crime and asked those gathered “Please raise your hand if you will pledge to let 2 other people know in the next 24 hours about hate crime.”
Rose Simpkins stressed the need for people to report what is happening to them and make use of the Stop Hate UK Helpline number 0800 138 1625.
Lindsay River talked passionately “Let’s end it now, all hate crime, and make a strong community of people of all sexualities, all genders, all ethnicities and faiths working together against it. And right in there, always included, let us make sure that disabled and old people, and the youngest people too are part of that work.”
Elly Barnes talking about tackling bullying in our schools said “All schools have a duty to protect young people – so for goodness sake head-teachers, you have no excuses, you have all the legal back-up you need to bring equalities to the forefront of your agenda, in fact you don’t need that as it is just the right thing to do! – do it tomorrow, you will be saving lives.”
Vicki Baars summarised what people need to do after the vigil “Championing strong work in equality and diversity, educating people about the impact of prejudice and ensuring robust reporting and supporting. Together we can make a difference.”
Sue Sanders talked about translating caring into action, that people can make a difference “Well it is one person who was holding a knife or a gun than ends a life And it is one person who can inspire a life in more ways than one!”
Stuart Milk, was one of the key speakers at the Vigil. He talked about his experience as the Nephew of Harvey Milk and losing someone he loved. He talked about the need for positive role models in our communities, the need to support them in their work. The progress that is being made around the world, how far we have come and how much further we have to go. He highlighted the good work that is being done by President Obama. Now is not the time to call for tolerance, now is the time to demand equality. He also also expressed his dissappointment with the lack of attendance by the main-stream media as it is vital that they attend these events and communicate the message of what is happening to a wider audience.
Brian Paddick highlighted how far we have come as a nation in recent years and that although we have not arrived at the destination that we are aiming for yet, we are well on our way.
We would like to express our thanks to everyone who has helped us so far this year, as the Vigil approaches we applaud all those who have given their time and energy to making this event happen – we simply could not do it without their ongoing support.
In particular we would like to thank
- Harvey Milk Foundation
- Southwark LGBT Network
- Apollo Construction
- Vauxhall Bars including: Royal Vauxhall Tavern, Tonker and The Eagle.
- Soho Venues including: Halfway2Heaven, 79CXR, Ku Bars Lisle St & Frith St, Duke of Wellington, Admiral Duncan, Comptons and Molly Moggs.
- Clapham Venue: 2 Brewers
- Lewisham Venue: Two8Six
- Gaydar Radio and Resonance 104.4fm
- Out in the City, Boyz Magazine, QX Magazine, Pink News.
And those who have donated prizes to support our fund-raising efforts
- Full list to added shortly.
We continue to recruit volunteers to help us with our work. If you are interested in getting involved please get in contact by messaging us at email@example.com
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