Council staff and dozens of residents joined Mark Healey, founder of National Hate Crime Awareness Week, on 17 October for a ‘peace walk’ around the borough.
The walk began at Altab Ali Park, where a 25-year old textile worker was murdered by three British teenagers. Outrage at his death brought 7000 people from all ethnic backgrounds together, and “black and white, unite and fight” was a commonly-heard chant as they followed his coffin through the streets.
The walk continued past Brick Lane Mosque, originally built in 1743 as a French Huguenot church. It has been used since as a synagogue and then a mosque.
At Bethnal Green, the group reflected on the area’s history pre-World War I when it was famous for its links to gangs and the mafia, including the Kray twins.
Then, at Oxford House, a hub of resistance against the rise of Oswald Mosley’s ‘blackshirts’ in 1933, Mark Healey said:
“I have been a victim of hate crime. I have been bullied, beaten and knocked to the floor. I have been called names, left battered and bruised. But I was lucky, I survived whilst others died.
“National Hate Crime Awareness Week is a national week of action across the UK to encourage police and councils to work together to tackle hate crime issues.”
John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets said: “The peace walk demonstrated that Tower Hamlets has a solid history of people and places where diversity has been embraced and celebrated.
“That proud tradition continues today. National Hate Crime Awareness Week allows us to stand with those affected by hate crime, to remember those we have lost, and support those who need our ongoing support.
“Our pledge is to continue to work together to stamp out all forms of discrimination.”
Sarah Humphreys, Chair of East London Out Project (ELOP) added: “The peace walk is important to highlight National Hate Crime Awareness Week and also the prevalence ofhate crimes.
“It provides an opportunity for all those impacted by hate crime, people of faith, people of colour, LGBT people, disabled people, and everyone else to come together and say hate crime will not be tolerated and should be stamped out.”
A hate crime is any criminal offence where the victim or someone else believes the crime is targeted because of a victim’s race or ethnicity, religious beliefs, gender identity, disability, age, sexual orientation or any other actual or perceived difference.
Hate crimes can be reported by calling the police non-emergency 101 number. In an emergency, always dial 999.
Anonymous reports of hate can be made to Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.
Victims can call 020 8555 8254 for support.
To pledge against hate crime visit: www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/hatecrime