To mark National Hate Crime Awareness Week 2019 (12th -19th October), Warwickshire's Hate Crime Partnership hosted the 'Cake Not Hate Get-Together' on Saturday 19th October in Leamington Spa.
Community members and professionals gathered to mark the week for the second event of its kind, following last year's 'Love Instead of Hate' in Bedworth. The event was opened with an African drumming performance from local arts group In2Cultures, before Community Safety Portfolio Holder, Councillor Andy Crump welcomed attendees to the day.
The main speaker was the inspirational Figen Murray, who lost her son, Martyn Hett, in the 2017 Manchester Arena Attack. Figen delivered a powerful talk about her son's love for life, how and why she forgave the attacker, and how one random act of kindness from everyone each day can go a long way.
As part of the 'Cake Not Hate' element to the day, attendees bought cakes and bakes along to share with everyone on the day, whilst talking to Safe In Warwickshire, Warwickshire Police, Victim Support and EQuIP who manned stalls to engage with guests during the break. We were also pleased to welcome local singer songwriter Naomi Beth who performed for guests during the 'Cake Not Hate' break.
Leftover cakes were donated to a local charity which supports those who are homeless in Leamington.
The second half of the event saw attendees get to ask Warwickshire's Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe; Warwickshire Police's Deputy Chief Constable, Richard Moore; and Nathan Miebai from the Crown Prosecution Service how they are tackling and dealing with hate from their organisations.
Questions included if anyone locally has been successfully prosecuted for hate crime; how we can support young people in our communities; and when does free speech become hate speech?
In addition to this event, Hate Crime Awareness Week 2019 was also marked locally with:
- Warwickshire's Hate Crime Annual Report 2019 being published
- The Warwickshire Hate Crime Partnership delivering a hate crime training session for County Councillors in Warwick
- Warwickshire Police hosting multiple hate crime training days for its' officers
The aim of Hate Crime Awareness Week is to increase awareness that hate exists in our society, and encourage reporting of this, so we can truly understand the scale of this issue.