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Stand up against hate

I shouldn’t need to say this but like many NHS leaders who have already done so I want to say;

“EU employees you are most welcome in Community Links. We value you and the contributions you make to our organisation and society.”

I shouldn’t need to say this because the vote about whether to leave the EU or not wasn’t related to prejudice and discrimination towards people from the EU.

I shouldn’t need to say this but as hate crimes have risen by 57% following the EU referendum it feels like the right thing to do.

This is an unprecedented time in the history of British politics. I personally have never known such chaos and confusion with the Prime Minister stepping down, a challenge to the Labour leadership and the decision to leave the European Union after 40 years. All of this change is challenging but should be manageable, given time, as most change is.

What is difficult to deal with is the interpretation by a minority that somehow it means 52% of the population support racism and prejudice. It appears to have been interpreted by a minority of people as a mandate to tell anyone who is perceived not to be British that they will now have to leave the UK. In addition to this, the hate is already spreading to other marginalised groups such as the LGBT community.

It is a sad day indeed when Amnesty International has to launch a campaign in England to ask local councils to stand against hate to ensure that our communities feel safe and welcomed.

It has been sad personally for my family, who despite being British (not that it should matter where we are from) have already been on the receiving end of racism following the outcome of the referendum.

It is a sad day when a Twitter campaign has had to be established #safetypins as a symbol in the fight against racism in the wake of the Brexit vote. This is something we can all do to show we do not accept racism or hatred. The campaign proposes that people wear an empty safety pin to show that they are “a safe person to sit next to on a bus, walk next to on a street, even have a conversation with”.

So I will say it again to ALL our employees of whatever nationality, ethnicity, sexual orientation or any other status – you are all valued and supported by Community Links as here we value everyone equally and we will continue to challenge prejudice and discrimination whereever it arises.

If you have been the victim of a hate crime please report it via Stop Hate UK.

If employees would like to talk to someone don’t forget our confidential helpline Health Matters on 0800 0833375 and if anyone does experience any discrimination or abuse in the course of their work for whatever reason, please do speak out, inform your line managers and refer to our dignity at work policy for more guidance.