Local charity partners up with public figures to tackle hate crime in the UK

A Yorkshire-based charity, dedicated to tackling the deeply set prejudices and intolerances that are prevalent across our local communities, is about to launch a series of ‘Changing Perspectives’ events aimed at highlighting how historical atrocities, such as The Holocaust are relevant to societal issues we face today. 

Aimed at both individuals and people working within education, the events will explore issues such as far-right extremism, racism, radicalisation, discrimination and hate crime. To discuss how we as individuals and particularly those in education sectors, can help to accomplish change at social and political levels. 

The organisation running the events, The Holocaust Exhibition and Learning Centre in Huddersfield, was set up in 2018 by Leeds based charity, Holocaust Survivors’ Friendship Association (HSFA) in partnership with the University of Huddersfield. 

Their mission is to tell global history, through local stories, to emphasise how harmful preconceived personal opinions can have horrifying consequences on society. The charity highlights this with the example of The Holocaust which is a monumental example of prejudice and intolerance in modern history.

Launching the series with an event on hate crime in the north, the centre will be joined by well-known public figures including, Dr Sylvia Lancaster OBE, mother of murdered Sophie Lancaster and advisor for the Government’s Independent Advisory Group for Hate Crime. The event will explore how Sophie’s murder led to political and social change.

Dr Sylvia Lancaster OBE, commented: “Confronting our own prejudices is a vital step to effecting real societal change. The Sophie Lancaster Foundation was set up to raise awareness of the nature of intolerance and hate we have in society against individuals just for being different from us and the devastating impact this can have. Events like this are so important to raise awareness and educate how we can start to stamp out prejudice, hatred and intolerance”. 

The ‘Changing Perspectives’ events are the idea of Hannah Randall, Producer of Learning and Events at The Holocaust Exhibition and Learning Centre, who will be running the events alongside Dr Alesssandro Bucci, Director of HSFA.

Hannah, who is a qualified teacher and recently completed a Masters in Education (Extremism and Cohesion) alongside her work at the centre added: “A lot of the education surrounding The Holocaust doesn’t highlight the build-up to how it happened or link to how it relates to ongoing issues today – so people still don’t grasp the impact intolerances have until something awful happens, but better education could help combat certain issues and behaviours in our society”

Also joining the event is Nazir Afzal OBE, who was the Chief Crown Prosecutor for the North West of England who has prosecuted and advised on some of the most high-profile and ground-breaking cases in the UK, including the ‘Rochdale Grooming Gang’. His work has changed the landscape of child protection in the UK and led legislative change on several topics including, violence against women and girls, child sexual abuse and honour-based violence. 

The events, which will run over the next year are free to book onto and will be held via Zoom to remain covid-secure and enable people interested, to attend with ease from wherever they are based. The first event focusing on hate crime in the north and Sophie Lancaster’s legacy will run on the 13th of October at 5pm BST. 

To book onto this free event, please visit: holocaustlearning.org.uk/events/hate-crime-in-the-north-sophies-legacy 

Huddersfield Times

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