Last year, on 30 October 2009, 10,000 people gathered at Trafalgar Square in London to commemorate the first International Day against Hate Crime.
The event was organised by the 17-24-30 founder Mark Healey in the lead up to the 10th Anniversary of the 1999 London Nail Bomb attacks, in which nail bombs were left in Brixton (17th), Brick Lane (24th) and Soho (30th) targeting the black, Asian and gay communities of London.
This year’s vigil will be held on Saturday 23rd October from 7pm – 9pm in Trafalgar Square, with a 2 minute silence at 8pm, and will include notable speakers including Peter Tatchell, Sandi Toksvig and Harvey Milk’s nephew, Stuart Milk.
The vigil aims to unify and galvanise ALL individuals and communities who share a vision to eradicate bigoted behaviour and, through showing support for ALL victims of Hate Crime, publicly assert that together they will no longer be ineffective minorities but instead a powerful and united voice to affect change in London and the wider world.
In order for us to effectively tackle prejudice-based crimes we all must engage in actions which address discriminatory attitudes in every area of our society. Each and every one of us has an obligation to take responsibility for making our society safer, fairer and more inclusive and we should not rely on the good will and hard work of others to secure that just and equal society whilst complaining that we ourselves are powerless. Whatever your strengths, whatever your core character traits, there is something that you can do to influence change in the world, and by attending this vigil, the public can show solidarity and a commitment to embracing diversity, tackling bigotry and creating real social change.
Mark Healey, organiser of the vigil, is acutely aware that there are common causes which connect us all said: “We are remembering all victims of hate-crime. Harvey Milk said, ‘you have got to give them hope’ and I think that ‘hope’ is what this event is about. Hope that we can work together and put an end to all forms of hate-crime.”
Similar events will be taking place in Norwich and Brighton. In Vancouver on Oct 23rd there will also be a No to Hate Crime Vigil of “Hope and Remembrance” – borrowing from London’s terminology and deliberately recognising that they are a solidarity event with London.
“For those unable to attend, in the UK and throughout the world, we are asking that they light their own candles of hope, and observe the two minute silence at 8pm on Saturday 23rd October. People are invited to take part on-line, by posting photos of their candles on Facebook tagged with the names of those who gather with them. We want to make this a worldwide day of remembrance, hope and action.”
For more details go to: 17-24-30