The mother of a woman murdered for dressing as a goth will launch a series of anti-hate crime events in Manchester today as part of the city’s fourth Hate Crime Awareness Week.
Sophie Lancaster, 20, was kicked and stamped to death as she tried to stop her boyfriend from being attacked in a park in Lancashire, in 2007.
Her mother, Sylvia Lancaster, will be speaking alongside former BBC Apprentice contestant Sanjay Sood-Smith, who experienced homophobic taunts as a student in Manchester, in a bid to tackle issues such as homophobia, anti-semitism and racism in the region.
Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd said: “Hate crime devastates lives. Tackling anti-Semitism and Islamophobia is rightly high on the agenda right now, but all types of hate crime are equally despicable and destructive.
“Celebrating diversity is a sign of a decent, tolerant society; hatred of people’s differences is ignorant and perverse.
“Such attitudes are highly damaging to individuals and our communities as a whole. Let’s keep talking about it, keep reporting it, and together we can send a message that such attitudes have no place in our cities and towns.”
The Mancunian Way, a charity committed to tackling anti-social behavior across Greater Manchester have created a video for today’s launch called ‘I am just like you’ with the Gorton Young Ambassadors.
Nick Buckley, the CEO of Mancunian Way, told MM: “The filmmaking is a great way for young people to explore a topic, educate themselves, learn new skills, build confidence and enjoy.
“The films are then used to educate other young people and the community at large. Young people relate better to films designed by young people, made by young people, especially for young people.
“We make them fun and short, so the message is easily understood and fun to watch.”
Greater Manchester Police was the first force in the country to recognise hate crime against alternative subcultures and there are now many ways to report incidents.
Councillor Bernard Priest, Manchester City Council’s executive member for neighbourhood services, said:”It’s vital that we continue working closely with residents by increasing the number of third party reporting centres, where people can report incidents in a safe and neutral setting, as well as ensuring the service provided at these centres is the best it can be.
“We also need to know the full picture of what’s going on, so we’re continuing to work with a larger number of communities across the city to make sure people report any hate crimes.”
Image courtesy of KEY 103, via Youtube, with thanks.