Candlelit vigil promotes message of support for hate crime victims
PUBLISHED: 12:20 16 October 2019 | UPDATED: 13:14 16 October 2019
Dozens of people have come together in Norwich for a candlelit vigil to mark Hate Crime Awareness Week.
A crowd gathered on the steps of The Forum last night to show solidarity and support to victims of hate crime, prejudice or discrimination.
The vigil, which was held to mark Hate Crime Awareness Week, an annual event which aims to spread the message of love not hate, was attended by representatives from Norfolk Constabulary, Norfolk and Waveney Mind, St Peter Mancroft Church and Norfolk and Suffolk Victim Care, along with members of the public.
Gathering around candles laid out in the shape of a heart, the crowd heard speeches from representatives of each organisation, music and poetry readings.
There was also a two-minute silence.
Opening the event, Michelle Savage, LGBTQ+ project manager for Norfolk and Waveney Mind, said: "Organising a vigil in this way sends out a clear message that we will not tolerate hate in our communities - in football stadiums, schools, workplaces or streets.
"At Mind we believe no-one should experience a mental health issue alone. Tonight our message to anyone who has experienced hate crime is you are not alone."
Zelly Lisanework, the co-founder of the House of Guramayle, an Ethiopian LGBT rights organisation, said: "We all have a duty in the world to respect each other regardless of our differences and we must continue to demand our seats at the table of human rights.
"To all who have been affected by hate crimes, you are loved.
"Hate in any from is unacceptable and your pain is valid.
"By gathering here today, we are taking another step towards making our communities even stronger in the face of hate by being here in the name of love."
The vigil also saw performances from Ashley-Kate, Hayley Burwood, Karolina Reu and Poppy Rose.
Anyone who has been affected by hate crime and would like advice or support, contact Norfolk & Suffolk Victim Care on 0300 303 3706 or nsvictimcare.org
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