On 17th October, Pride in Plymouth hosted an an open meeting, at the Plymouth Arts Centre, to address two important topics. The first to deal with the reporting of Hate Crime, as part of the national 17-24-30 No to Hate Crime Campaign aiming to commemorate those affected by hate crime and to:
- Bring people together and build relationships with them.
- Support those attacked and those affected by hate crime.
- Develop our communities and strengthen the support services provided.
- Raise awareness about hate crime, encourage reporting and ways to tackle it.
Robin Loveridge from Devon and Cornwall Police Diversity team attended and spoke with those in attendance about barriers to reporting and what could be done to combat these barriers in terms of dedicated reporting centres, telephone numbers and even smartphone apps.
Many of the audience commented that they had not been aware the police would be interested in such reports but would certainly be more aware of the need to report now. A majority of the group would like to see a dedicated 3rd Party LGBT reporting system in Plymouth. Some debate was held on how / where this could be achieved and it became clear that this would require further discussion and investigation.
The second half of the meeting featured a presentation from Mark Ayres regarding 2012′s “Pride in the Park” event explaining the costs incurred and money made. This then led onto a discussion for next year’s event where a number of local businesses, organisations and individual’s pledged their support for the event. A return to Devonport Park was agreed with the understanding that sound levels and content must be considered for local residents. There was also interest in a parade which will be explored.
A further organising meeting will be arranged shortly to begin the process for the 2013 Plymouth Pride Celebration.
On Saturday 20th October 2012 Plymouth united with London and many other cities across the UK with a vigil against Hate Crime held at the Sundail in Plymouth City Centre.
When we arrived to set up we were surprised that the winter ice rink was open and full swing. ‘It’s Raining Men’ was blasting from their speakers a great song but not the best circumstances for a two minute silence – the joys of living in a vibrant city. However we approached the Ice Rink staff and asked them to join us with the silence and were pleasantly surprised that they agreed. At 8pm Plymouth City Centre became silent apart from a little whoop from our megaphone (who would expect the off position to be in the middle?).
Leading up to the silence Mark Ayres gave some background information about the 17-24-30 No to Hate campaign remembering those affected by the 1999 bombing campaign in London.
17th June 1999 a bomb exploded in Brixton – a direct attack on the Black Community - Forty-eight people were injured, many of them seriously because of the four-inch nails Copeland had packed around the bomb
24th June 1999 a bomb exploded in Brick Lane – a direct attack on the Asian Community - Thirteen people were injured, but there were no fatalities.
30th June 1999 a bomb exploded in the Admiral Duncan pub in Soho – a direct attack on the Gay Community - Seventy-nine people were injured, many of them seriously. Four of the survivors had to have limbs amputated. Andrea Dykes, 27, four months pregnant with her first child, died along with her friends and hosts for the evening, Nick Moore, 31, and John Light, 32, who was to be the baby’s godfather. Andrea’s husband, Julian, was seriously injured.
Plymouth’s senior police officer Acting Superintendent Brendan Bradshaw attended the Vigil and said a few words in support of the event, reiterating the point that we need strengthen links and work together across all communities to increase reporting. He confirmed Devon and Cornwall’s Police commitment to deal with Hate Crime.
We were also joined by Cllr. Nicky Williams who is to date the only female candidate standing for the Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner role that will be elected on November 15th 2012. Nicky also said a few words in support and reassured us that the council is working with the police and community groups to combat hate crime in the city. Both Nicky and Brendan spent time talking to people that attended the vigil, the evening was warm enough that many people stayed long after the silence chatting and networking.
We would like to thank everyone that came along to support this act of remembrance, helping to share awareness.