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Biggs asks residents to lead war on hate crime

TOWER HAMLETS COUNCIL has been running courses to train local residents to become champions who will tackle hate crime in the borough.

A lucky 13 residents have just begun the latest course, which has been completed by 71 residents to date. The Council has confirmed that the 71 graduates have used their training to “bring thousands of people together in community projects” and to “improve relationships in their neighbourhoods”. It has not explained exactly how the champions do this – not least in the current climate of cuts, which have reduced the ability of many community groups to keep up their levels of cross-community support.

Shalina Akhtar, who completed the last round of training, gave an insight into what the champions do. She explained, “As a Hate Crime Champion I know anyone can be a victim. I understand how life changing these experiences can be and how important it is to be believed and supported. I am also a strong believer in obtaining justice and holding perpetrators to account. Therefore, I will use my role to be a voice for the silenced and work tirelessly to empower victims to become survivors!”

Anna Williams, a fellow graduate of the last round of training, echoed her words, saying, “I jumped at the chance of becoming a champion. I am hoping to draw on assistance from my fellow champions to represent the No Place for Hate Campaign at some of our resident events and get as many colleagues and residents as possible to sign the No Place for Hate Pledge!”

Mayor John Biggs explained that he was very pleased by the initiative, saying, “I am pleased this training is so well received by local people. I will continue to work closely with the police to keep the streets safe and I am committed to supporting our communities through other initiatives like this. All our No Place for Hate Champions are dedicated to celebrating differences and diversity across the borough. They help us deliver a key message – there is no room for hate in Tower Hamlets.”

Cllr Asma Begum, the new Cabinet Member for Community Safety who took on the brief after the shock departure of Cllr Shiria Khatun, added, “This award winning training brings so much positivity to local communities. I am looking forward to hearing about the projects these champions will deliver. I would also urge local residents to take up the next opportunity to get trained as a No Place for Hate Champion.”

The Council has reported that 1,800 residents and 130 businesses already supporting the borough’s No Place for Hate pledge, which was developed to demonstrate that Tower Hamlets condemns all types of hate crime. With the population of Tower Hamlets now having topped 300,000, that’s 298,200 residents to go before hate crime is eradicated. At the current rate of progress, that’s just under 23,000 training courses to go. If a new course is started every day of the year, hate crime will have been trained out of the borough in just over 63 years.

To help Tower Hamlets reach its target in less than 63 years, sign the pledge now. Go to:
www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/npfh 

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