Challenging Sectarianism & Racism
Northern Ireland is commonly portrayed as a society dominated by tensions between a majority Protestant and a minority Catholic community. In fact, at least 60 ethnic minorities are present in Northern Ireland . High levels of racism, xenophobia, discrimination and intolerance are currently being directed at these communities.
Moreover, the legacy of 30 years of conflict in Northern Ireland has created patterns and attitudes that now adversely affect minority ethnic communities, for example, residential segregation and heightened territorial awareness. While sectarianism and racism are not necessarily equal there are parallels between them. Indeed, both sectarianism and racism can be said to emanate from the same politics of ‘difference.’
LILP launched a programme of activities on Challenging Sectarianism & Racism with a Policy Forum held on 28th June 2005. For notes of the forum click here
Diversity Conference - 29th September 2005
In September 2005, LILP organised a Diversity Conference in Derry/Londonderry which brought together more than 87 researchers, policymakers and minority ethnic community organisations to address some of the issues currently affecting minority ethnic communities, for example, exploitation and disadvantage of migrant workers, racial attitudes and prejudice, harassment and hate crime, implementation of the Race Equality Strategy and racial bullying in schools.
The keynote speaker, Stephen Wessler, Executive Director of the Center for the Prevention of Hate Violence (CPHV) in Portland, Maine in the US, made a presentation on racial bullying and its effects in Northern Ireland - drawing on a brief study of schools in the Derry/Londonderry area, as well as his own experience in developing and implementing programmes to prevent bias, prejudice, harassment and violence in the US, Canada and the Middle East.
Panels representing various ethnic minorities in Northern Ireland joined researchers from the Northern Ireland Social and Political Archive (ARK), the Institute for Conflict Research (ICR), Animate, the PSNI and the Office of the First Minister/Deputy First Minister (OFM/DFM). Additional speakers included representatives from the Derry Travellers Group, Pennyburn Youth Club, Strabane Ethnic Community Association, and the Polish Welfare Association. For the conference report click here
"The opening up of a debate on the need and desirability of Hate Crime Law was excellent...it was good to get this honest debate opened up." (Participant Evaluation)
Race and Ethnicity Training Course: 21st - 22nd February 2005 and 2nd - 3rd June 2005
In order to build local capacity to combat racism, LILP organised for Ulster People’s College to provide a Race & Ethnicity training course (accredited with OCN), for 10 selected representatives from established, local, community and voluntary sector organisations. Evaluations by participants highlighted the value of the training in raising their awareness about minority ethnic groups in Northern Ireland; and in providing them with an opportunity for community networking. For participant feedback click here
As a result of the success and popularity of this course, LILP organized another training course in June 2005.
Challenging Racism: Successful Strategies from the Republic of Ireland
This event provided an opportunity for minority ethnic groups and other interested parties to hear about a number of successful strategies adopted by the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism (NCCRI) to combat racism in the Republic of Ireland , some of which may be applicable to Northern Ireland. Click here
OSCE Conference on Tolerance: September 2004
LILP participated in this international conference in Brussels alongside two leaders from community-based groups working to address racism, xenophobia, discrimination and intolerance in Northern Ireland - Conor McCardle, Craigavon Traveller Support Committee and Karen Scrivens, Sai Pak Chinese Community Association. For more details on the conference click here
As a result of the Challenging Sectarianism & Racism policy/practice forum held in June 2004 which included representatives from government agencies, NGO’s, minority ethnic groups and community relations groups, INCORE carried out a study Community Capacity to Address Racism & Intolerance in Northern Ireland. From August–November 2004, project staff carried out a total of 15 interviews with relevant community organisations. Findings and recommendations from these interviews have been compiled in a report. For a copy of the report click here
Diversity Training - Western Forum of Community Relations Officer
In collaboration with the Center for the Prevention of Hate Violence, LILP provided a 2 day residential training for the Western Forum of Community Relations Officers covering the affect and impact of bias, racism and harassment, as well as a facilitated action planning session.
"I will become more active regarding these issues at work and within the community." (Participant Evaluation)