Episode 5: Live from the Phoenix Leicester (Transcript)

To listen to the episode, please visit the episode page here. What follows is a transcript of the episode, lightly edited for clarity.

Alison  00:00

This is the first year that the Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition, both of them refused to endorse national hate crime Awareness Week. And hate crime is actually being somehow conflated with being woke. And it’s being seen as political. It is a political issue these days. And what we’re talking about is a criminal act.

Neil  00:19

Hello, and welcome back to Hidden Hate, a podcast series from the Centre for Hate Studies at the University of Leicester. I’m Neil Chakraborti.

Amy  00:27

And I’m Amy Clarke.

Neil  00:28

In the summer of 2022. We launched this podcast series with the aim of bringing together a diverse range of voices, which includes practitioners, activists and academics to share their expertise and experiences of hate.

Amy  00:40

We’re delighted that so many of you have reached out to tell us about the ways in which the discussions we held on hate in a digital world, hating immigrants, hating disability and hating women have really made you think differently about experiences of hate, how they’ve encouraged you to have difficult conversations with your children, or that they’ve given you the tools to become a more proactive bystander.

Neil  01:03

Recently, we held a remarkable event in the city of Leicester to premiere on new film revisiting the harms of hate, which you can access for free on our Hidden Hate website. Alongside the film screening, we wanted to try something a little different. So we recorded a special live episode of Hidden hate with two new fabulous guests who share their experiences as CEOs of two national organisations, the Sophie Lancaster Foundation and Stop Hate UK. Their insights are frank, emotional and incredibly powerful and we’d like to share them with you now. We are honoured and delighted to be joined by the wonderful Rose and Alison, thank you both so much for being here. Rose. I know you were so excited. You came a day early. Which is true. We’re excited to be able to host two CEOs of wonderful organisations like Stop Hate UK and the Sophie Lancaster foundation. It is just such a privilege for me and I know it’s a privilege for many people in the room as well. So thank you so much for being here. Before we get into our conversation, should we just offer a brief introduction. So our first guest, Alison Vincent, has a background in the arts and education sectors and in social justice. The Sophie Lancaster Foundation was set up by Silvia Lancaster in 2008. Following the murder of her daughter Sophie, who was targeted because of her alternative appearance. Alison became involved in the charity. After hearing the performance of Simon Armitage’s Black Roses: The Killing of Sophie Lancaster on the radio back in 2010. Her job as Chief Executive is to drive the development of the foundation and to continue Sylvia’s legacy.

Amy  02:56

Our second guest this evening Rose Simkins joined stop hate UK in January of 2006 as Chief Executive and has led the charity through significant periods of growth and change, developing it from originally a racial harassment orientated organisation into one that now covers every aspect of hate crime through its pioneering 24 hour reporting services. Her drive for eradicating social injustice has always been at the forefront of her work, where equality and diversity are key to making this happen. Thank you so much for joining us. I’m going to start with asking a few questions to Alison. So, obviously Neil’s introduction, summarised a little bit about what you do. But there are of course, some in this room and those listening on the podcast that won’t know much about the Sophie Lancaster Foundation. So could you tell us a little bit more about why the organisation was set up and why it was so important?

Alison  03:59

Yes, of course. Thanks, Amy. Hi, everyone. Really nice to be here. This is a really tough story to tell. And I’m here really representing two women, Sophie Lancaster, who was killed at the age of 20 for no more than being who she was. And her mum, Sylvia, who spent the next 16 years of her life, fighting to try and make sure it didn’t happen to anybody else. Sophie and her boyfriend were out in Bacup, Lancashire in 2007. They’d been at a party and they were on their way home. They went into a park where five young boys, really, were there. And they saw Sophie and Rob were very distinctive. You might describe Sophie as a goth. She wouldn’t have used that term herself. She was very clearly alternative. Dreadlocks. She was pierced. She used to wear Doc Martins and fishnets. You would notice her is how Silvia used to describe it. Robert was very similar. Back-combed hair, used to wear makeup, very tall, wore nail polish. And these five young boys in the park saw Sophie and Rob and, and said, let’s bang the moshas, derogatory term if you’re alternative and it started off with Robert and there was one punch landed. And after that one punch, it then got even worse and they punched him and they kicked him until he was unconscious. They’d done nothing, there’d been no argument. There’d been no conversation or any premeditation. It was simply because of what they look like. When Robert was unconscious on the floor, Sophie got down on her hands and knees, and cradled his head in her lap. And that’s when they started on Sophie. They kicked her, they stamped on her, they jumped on her head from the skateboard ramp until she was unconscious, and bleeding. There were about 40 young people in the park on that night. And when paramedics arrived, they obviously rang the services, they couldn’t work out who was the male and who was the female because of the damage to their faces. They were both taken to different hospitals. And it was a very difficult time for the families from that point on. They were both put in induced comas. And they tried a number of times to get them out of the comas. But every time they tried, they had to put them back under again. For Silvia walking in and seeing Sophie, she saw a child that she didn’t recognise, her face was swollen, she had black eyes. She had trainer marks on both sides of her face. And she had little stars on her cheeks. And the stars were the little plastic bits on the end of your laces. That had made such an impression because they’d stamped so hard on her face. Three times they tried to take Sophie out of the coma. And unfortunately, it kept just getting worse. Robert thankfully survived the attack. Although I think it’s fair to say there’ll be physical and psychological damage he will carry with him. But he is well, and he’s carried on with his life, which is great news. For Sophie, after that third time they had taken her out, they realised there was absolutely nothing else they could do. They did tests and they said there’s basically no brain left. And Sylvia said she really died that night in the park. So Silvia and the family talked about it and agreed with the doctors. And after 13 days in hospital, they agreed to turn life support off. And it took her 20 minutes to die in Sylvia’s arms. Sylvia was a remarkable woman. And while she was sat at the hospital, going through all of this, she thought when Sophie is better, we’re going to take her into schools. And we’re going to show them what actually being alternative is all about. Because she’s lovely. She’s quiet. She’s funny, she can be feisty. She likes reading Harry Potter. She likes to stay in and rather than going out, she’s not a party animal. She’s just lovely. And if they see what being alternative is, and they see this really lovely young woman, then maybe they’ll understand maybe what they see in the park on that night isn’t who she is. So that was the plan. And one of Sylvia’s friends came up with a strapline using the name Sophie to stamp out prejudice, hatred and intolerance everywhere. So actually, while Sophie was still in hospital, we had a strapline, and we had to plan. And then when Sophie died, it made Silvia more determined than ever to do it. So that’s what’s happened. Straight after Sophie died, the foundation really was created. They decided to get together they’d put a night on, they do a gig, people would buy wristbands, and we’d start talking about prejudice and intolerance. And so the foundation really has three main aims. It’s to educate particularly young people about mindset, and about how those attitudes to difference often are based on fear, their assumptions is not reality. We also advocate for the alternative community who know Sophie story because they live it. And they know it could be them at any point. And we also lobby and campaign to have alternative subcultures added to the monitor strands of hate crime, because that is another issue for us. Because how can you really support people when a crime against them isn’t even recognised? So that’s the three pillars of what we do.

Amy  09:34

Thank you, Alison. And we as a centre have been working with the Sophie Lancaster foundation for the last 10 years or so. And Neil and I’ve heard Sophie’s story countless times from you, from Dana, from Sylvia. And I think Neil would agree it never gets any easier to hear. It’s an incredibly moving story. Thank you very much for sharing it with us. We’ve deliberately named this podcast Hidden Hate because we know that so many of these hostile experiences go under the radar. This feels especially true for those from alternative subcultures. Would you agree?

Alison  10:11

Absolutely. Neil just mentioned very briefly about the dreadful time. I think it’s in a mess, I think was the description you said, and I think we can talk about that in a minute. And I think for all people suffering with hate, it’s a dreadful time. I think when you are in a strand that isn’t monitored and isn’t part of the justice system training and isn’t recognised, that’s really difficult, it makes it harder. After the Law Commission recent review into hate crime, we actually started our own survey, because one of the things they said is there is no evidence that alternative communities are being targeted for hate. Now, we’ve got 15, 16 years of experience of going to events where you can tell me honestly, we know, that’s not the case. On a daily basis, people are getting harassed and abused simply because of what they look like. It’s a demonised group. And people decide they’re bad people, they’re alcoholic, they’re not responsible, all sorts of things. And it means not only do they attack them, it means when they do it, maybe the rest of the society doesn’t actually look at that in the same way. And they think those people if they didn’t look like that, that wouldn’t happen. Because they see, again, another lifestyle choice. I use that phrase quite determined at the moment, we heard quite a lot about lifestyle choices. So we did our own survey to find out what is going on. And we thought we can actually get some empirical data, we’ve we’ve worked with the University of Leicester, with the Hate Crime Studies Unit, and also other universities to find out what’s going on. And our data showed us that 73% of alternative people who suffer from hate crime did not report it. So you don’t get much more hidden than that. The other thing I would say is because actually, it’s not a monitored strand, even when they do report it, there is no data. So that adds to the problem. And also, if you’re actually trying to report something that isn’t a monitored strand, you do get police and the justice system saying it can’t be a hate crime. It’s not a monitored strand. So time and time again, we get thwarted. We’re telling people to report we’re trying to support them in it. But even when they try to, it doesn’t always work. The one thing I would say is the attack was carried out in the park by five boys. Two of those boys were convicted of Sophie’s murder. And the other three, were also charged for the attack on Robert but not on Sophie. But the judge at Sophie’s murder trial did actually recognise that as a hate crime. And he said, I’m perfectly convinced those two innocent young people were attacked simply because they look differently to you and your friends. And him recognising that was enormous, because that sends out signals to the entire community that we see this, and we’re doing something about it. So the fact that Judge Russell recognised that was absolutely huge. And it shows you when the justice system gets it, right, it makes a difference to a community. Yeah.

Amy  13:03

And you touched upon some of the research that your foundation are doing. And you are sort of one of the only hubs that really focus on alternative communities. So you must be a lifeline to a lot of these people, which I think is really wonderful. Do you get a sense from the research that things are getting worse or becoming more normalised in any way?

Alison  13:27

I think the the point about the research is we’ve never had any data before that really tells us what’s going on. So this is huge, because it just backs up what we thought we knew. In terms of trends, I think everything seems to be happening at the same time. There seems to be in some way, so much more acceptance. And yet we know at the moment, everything is escalating in every direction. And hate is just prolific. And we can’t hear opinions without people sometimes thinking it’s hate, and sometimes it is hate and sometimes it isn’t. And there are so many issues, we have to sort out as far as being able to listen to opposing views, but at the same time recognising hate and not putting up with it. I think for the community, I think there is a sense of acceptance, sometimes this is what it’s like to be alternative, this is what you get. So the research shows that something like 80% of the people who actually responded had experienced at least one or two forms of that hate. 5% experienced them all on a regular basis. I mean, the statistics are astounding. And things like harrassment and verbal abuse is absolutely, you know, happening across the board. And the other thing we get is in the verbatim comments, so many comments that we see again and again. And it can start in schools when that expression of difference can be really different. And people are saying things like you know, the deputy had said to me, I know they shouldn’t have hit you. But let’s be honest, if your look like that, you’re bringing it on yourself. You know and we know that To the case, and that’s the difficulty we’re conflating what we see is people choosing to look like it. And this is another issue with some of the strands that actually sometimes it seems there is a hierarchy. And there’s also a moral judgement maybe as to whether some things are your fault or not. Whereas if your alternative you could choose not to be, and then you wouldn’t be assaulted. But actually, we’re not talking about somebody just choosing fashion. Being alternative is actually part of who they are an alternative person looks like an alternative person, you go to a festival, and the descriptions from those people about how they’ve never belonged, how they’ve never been part of the mainstream, how they’ve been bullied from when they’re at school, you hear the same things time and time again, it is part of a core identity. And so it’s not that easy. You know, we know the thing about hate is it has deep psychological effects, because people try and avoid the hate, so they change who they are. And again, that comes through in the statistics, avoiding areas, changing how they dress, you know, wanting to be somebody else, because then they won’t be targeted, somehow, they’re almost in the end, maybe believing they are complicit because you do everything you can to avoid the violence or to avoid the harassment. So there is a lot of work to do.

Amy  16:15

Thank you very much, Alison. I’m gonna hand over to Neil now.

Neil  16:18

Thank you. So Rose, can we broaden this out a moment. So Stop Hate UK have supported 1000s of hate crime victims over the years, and you continue to do so. You offer vital services to so many different groups and communities. Are the problems that Alison refers to problems that you recognise across other strands as well?

Rose  16:41

Yeah, absolutely. It’s always very cruel to put me on after people telling the story of Sophie and Sylvia and some of us here are friends of Silvia. So it’s very, very hard to hear. So thank you for that. And for letting everyone know that I came a day early. Yeah, Stop Hate UK, we support people who are targeted because of any aspect of their identity. And, obviously, what we find is that people who have have more than one identity that might be targeted, experience more, because we’re not all just one thing. We’re many things in terms of who we are. So we know that our reporting around various aspects of your identities is three times higher than that’s recorded by the police. So it shows if you ask the right questions, you will get the information. All sorts of people will say, if I didn’t dress like this, if I didn’t act like this, you know, if I, if I wasn’t gay, if I you know, if I wasn’t trans, if I didn’t follow my faith, or visibly follow my faith, then I wouldn’t be targeted. So it is a it is a very, very common common thing. And people of all sorts of identities, try and sometimes try to hide that and some people can. And some people are then traumatised by doing that, and others just can’t. So it’s very, very often that people think it’s my fault. It’s because of what I am. And, and the damage and the harm caused by that is that you’re always that person. So wherever you are, you feel that, that that fear or that in some cases, self loathing. So the trauma is there, and the worry of what’s going to happen and “is it my fault?” can’t change because we are who we are. So when people you know, one of the things that we talk about at Stop Hate UK is that people always talk about the reporting experience for people who experience hate crime, I get invited to talk about the reporting. Tell tell us about the victims reporting experience. And I’d rather talk about the people’s experience of not reporting because actually, that’s the majority of people. The majority of people, as Neil’s already said, suffer in silence. So at Stop Hate UK, what we’re trying to do is draw out those people try to give reasons why they should talk to us. And, and trying to undo some of the damage that’s been caused in the past by it’s your fault, stop dressing like that, stop making a fuss, you know, get over it. Just a bit of name calling. So we’re trying to undo, undo all that damage and have those conversations with people so that they come forward. So it is a very tough job to do. Because there are far more reasons why people don’t report their hate crime than in the end, why they do. And so we can liken it to things, obviously around domestic abuse, or, you know, sexual violence that people don’t report. So I absolutely agree with everything that that Allison said, The only thing I can add to that is that it goes across other forms of identity as well. And there are people who experience incidents every single day. And still don’t report it. But the interesting thing is people tell someone, they tell their friends, their family, they’re telling. And that just increases sometimes the fear, increases people’s separation from society. And actually, we’re not trying to find solutions. So I think what we’re what we’re all trying to do is reduce the harm by talking to those individuals, but also reduce, reduce the opportunity for the hate to thrive. And so yeah, so it is all forms of identity, I think that that experiences? Well, I’ll just say one thing, I tell stories of people, their experience is having a learning disability, and then being effectively groomed or forced, befriended by people who are exploiting them. And people can’t believe it, they say this can’t go on, you know, people don’t believe it. People still say to me, racism isn’t a problem in this country anymore. You know. So there is this kind of belief out there that it’s not as bad as it is. And I think the survey, and the words of Alison and the experiences stop pay UK show that it is it is bad out there. And we all have to do what we can to try to reduce that harm.

Neil  22:10

Thank you Rose. Both you and Alison have referred to challenges around reporting, or more specifically under reporting, can you tell us about some of the specific initiatives that you’ve led at Stop Hate UK to encourage higher levels of reporting and improved awareness?

Rose  22:27

Well, one of the first things we did was launched our 24 hour helpline, which was actually the idea the idea behind it was from Baroness Doreen Lawrence. And obviously, when I met her in 2006, before she became Baroness, but this is what she wanted, she wanted someone who would be there in real time, who could have a conversation with you, who you could trust, you know, complete confidence, independent. And you could talk, however, whatever you wanted to talk about, the impact, the evidence, no one will believe me, you know, all the things that you might want to talk about. So the, the philosophy, I suppose, or the values behind the helpline is that we will be there 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. So, if you need someone to talk to you can just talk to us, and we have a conversation, which is very much about what the person needs. And so, how to break down those barriers is to make it accessible, is there, you don’t have to think, Oh, is it open? Oh, sorry, I missed that, it’s open on Wednesday, three to five. Missed that one. So, so how to get people to report, build trust and confidence, make it accessible, so there’s lots of ways into into the helpline and have a very diverse group of people who will have that conversation with you. So that’s been running since 2006. One of our newer initiatives is a street harassment app that we’ve now launched in three parts of the country. And its strapline really is start safe, stay safe. And that’s attracting a different type of reporting. And it’s actually proving sort of, probably a little bit more successful because most people don’t really know what a hate crime is. Most people don’t really know where to go. And most people think, who cares anyway. So, you know, so I think there are so many things there that we’re that we’re trying to unpick with people. So the street harassment, more of us will understand what being harassed on the street looks like. So although it came originally from the violence against women and girls agenda, when we started in the London borough Waltham Forest, it actually has meant that people are reporting racism and homophobia and, you know, disability hate crime as well as faith hate crime, and, and any aspect of their identity but they’re the ones, because they are the monitor strands are coming through more. And then the other thing that we’re, we’re now running is pro community ambassador programmes. So we’re doing this in Buckinghamshire and the London Borough of Sutton, where we’re getting, you know, people from out there in the community to be trained by us as volunteers. To be having more of these conversations, I think the the only way to get people to think about reporting is for them to know about it and to hear about it from someone they trust. So it’s about building the network of people really who are willing to have those conversations. People often talk about hate crime reporting centres, I don’t know if anyone’s ever been to a either a third party reporting centre hate crime reporting centre, an incident reporting centre, wherever it’s called… You wouldn’t know if you’re 50 yards around the corner from one. So what I am trying to do with with stop hate UK, is to speak to people more often like yourselves, who basically can end up being a hate crime reporting centre. I’m one. If you come to me and say, I’ve experienced a hate crime, or words to that effect, because most people don’t say I’ve experienced a hate crime. They say something horrible has happened to me. So I’m a hate crime reporting centre. Because if you come and talk to me, I will tell you and be able to advise you as to where you might get more support, what you need to what you need to do next, what would you like to do next, we can have that conversation. So it’s really trying to get more and more people to be part of that movement, really, but it’s not, we can’t leave it to other people. So that wasn’t really in a nutshell. But there’s three initiatives that we’ve done to try and improve reporting. Because it’s actually a quote from a police officer, this from someone in the Met, which is, for every time somebody tells you about how they’ve been targeted, their words are gold, because most people are not reporting. So if most people are not reporting, every word that person says to was so valuable, we should be hanging on to it, and respecting it and listening and dealing with it. And so I applaud that officer for saying that.

Neil  27:24

Thank you, Rose. I have one more question that’s for both of you. And then I want us to move to our quickfire round. Regular listeners to our podcast series will know I get really excited about the quickfire round. So we’re going to move on to that very shortly. This is a kind of semi quickfire. You both work for wonderful organisations that do wonderful work, during difficult times. But these are ridiculously difficult times. There’ll be many people in this room and many of our listeners who work in organisations that face incredible challenges, particularly in terms of resources. Can you very briefly, and I’ll turn to you, Alison, first, if I can, just very briefly outline. It will give people a sense of what those key challenges are right now in this particular climate.

Alison  28:12

Okay. I’ll be very brief. I’ll do that I’ll do the bigger picture first. I think the first challenge or the huge challenge that I see every day is the political void around us. Maybe void is the wrong word, because void suggests emptiness, whereas actually, sometimes I think it’s worse than empty. I think the stuffs in there I don’t like. I think it’s the this is the first year that the Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition, both of them refused to endorse National Hate Crime Awareness Week. And hate crime is actually being somehow conflated with being woke. And it’s being seen as political. It is a political issue these days. And what we’re talking about is a criminal act. So I would really like to see the criminality taken away from somebody using this as a political tool for policy, which I think is really dangerous, really dangerous. And we know when there are hate crime incidents, they escalate, it doesn’t go away. And we know murders, like Sophia are examples of that. So I would really like to see some endorsement, that hate crime is a bad thing. And we need a strategy and we need to take that back up the agenda again. So that’s the big picture. In terms of the smaller picture, being very partisan. The Sophie Lancaster Foundation is a tiny organisation, we have four members of staff and our post bag is full. We have a really high awareness level, we have lots of followers, we could do so much more. We have the skills and expertise and we have the absolute support of the community, which is wonderful. They are our beating heart and at a festival recently someone came over to the stall and said, You are the alternative community. And that means so much because we actually are, we really get it and we really feel for them. And we would like to be able to do more so so our issue and my issue I guess is how we move on, how do I help us grow so we can tackle that need, and we can do what we do better, more of it help more people. That’s what I would really like to be able to do. Thank you. Rose?

Rose  30:12

Yeah, obviously, as we often say, we’re swimming in very murky waters at the moment in terms of how the different groups are, are, are being demonised. So that’s, that is a very big challenge, because then it affects how organisations like ours, or charities like ours are funded. And so funding is getting more, it’s very, very difficult. It’s very, very difficult to keep something going that has has really, very little central government, we have no central government money in that respect to provide this service. So I the woke thing. Someone said, What do you mean by that when someone? Oh, you know what, it’s all those people who believe in rights and be nice to each other. So I think the challenge is that it’s actually stopped being acceptable to be respectful,

Neil  31:12

I was referred to as professor of woke recently on taught TV quite liked that…

Amy  31:17

Claim to fame!

Rose  31:17

That’s really good. So I’m generally either the thought police or a raving lefty. Yeah, people think that what we’re doing is just is about their values. This is about people’s safety, this is about their rights. This is not a we’re not, we’re not just saying oh, let’s all be nice to each other, we’re just trying to protect people from serious harm. You know, people lose their lives because of it. You know, and there are whole groups of people who feel completely let down by the agencies that are supposed to protect them. And they’re all I mean, in a longer conversation, I would tell you some more about some of those, those people, but there are, you know, whole communities who will not trust because of the way they’ve been, you know, people in there have lost their lives, but it’s not been recognised for what it is, and it really makes a difference. And as I just I will record I will mention Johnny Delaney and I met the Delaney family at St. Paul’s Cathedral at the National Hate Crime Awareness Week event, the gratitude and emotion in that room for the murder of a child being recognised as a hate crime and being recognised in this in this service. was just incredible. The emotion was absolutely beyond, you know, it was so it was so difficult to to experience it. And that was because they were denied the fact that it was a hate crime. And even though words were said during his murder, which would clearly showed that he was targeted because he was a gypsy. That’s that’s the problem. We’re up against that we’re not considered important. The work we’re doing is not recognised as important. Every day, we speak to people who’ve got nowhere else to go, no one has believed them, no one’s listened to them. No one’s supported them. And we know that has led to loss of life in the past, and we don’t want it to happen in the future. So that’s the case. So so that’s the problem we’re up against, which then influences our our income, and you know, charities are struggling, lots of charities are struggling. And it has been suggested someone did suggest recently that I set up a sideline as having a Donkey Sanctuary. And I might get more income to then be able to fight hate. And so if anyone would like to work with us on, on on ways to bring in the support we need for more people to recognise the reality of people’s daily lives. That would be great. Thank you.

Neil  34:25

Thank you rose. Amy, its the best bit!

Amy  34:28

It is Neil’s favourite bit and he gets really excited. It is our quickfire round of questions. So as the name suggests, we challenge our guests to answer in a word if they can, or at least one sentence. It’s a tough one. We have yet to find the perfect quickfire round. So I’ll be brief. It’s three questions. So the first question is if you could introduce one change to government policy or the law or to society as a whole? What would it be. Alison, I’m coming to you first.

Alison  35:04

It isgoing to be a one sentence answer. Alternative subculture be seen as equivalent to other forms of hate that would transform the playing field.

Amy  35:13

Brilliant. And Rose?

Rose  35:15

That we have a duty to report hate crime in the same way as we have a duty to report safeguarding issues.

Amy  35:22

Brilliant. Very good. Second question, then. And this is for everybody in the room and all the listeners on the podcast, what can our audience do to have a positive impact on the issues that you’ve raised this evening?

Alison  35:37

We first I think, I think what we’ll need to do is remember, we need to have all of these conversations about very difficult topics these days without the hate. And everything we can do in our own lives to help that happen, I think is a great thing. There are lots of difficult conversations right now. So let’s encourage everybody to take the hate out of it and have the conversations, but without the hate. And I think the other thing that’s really important is about us being upstanders. When somebody suffers from hate crime, they want to feel that they’re listened to, they’re believed. And actually, the fact that somebody else is on their side makes such a difference. So I think if we are upstanders against hate, that transforms people’s lives, even if they don’t get politically or legally, or whatever else, whatever they want. The fact you’re on their side, makes a world of difference. And actually, that can save a life. So that is so important.

Rose  36:30

Everyone can do all this, we can all do different things. And we can do all things at different levels. So when people say to me, What can I do as and their lives are full, and they’re busy doing other things I said, Well, it is… You know… Intervene if you see, you know, join in a positive conversation, make somebody feel safer. But if it means just putting a poster up or sharing something on social media, it’s something that sends out a message that there is somebody who cares, we all need to know about a support service when we need it. So we need to keep the conversation going. So I would say get support for yourselves if you need it, encourage others to get support. But do that, spread the word and do it to do whatever you can to make sure that people know where to go, if they need in, asked questions. If there isn’t a local if you don’t feel there’s a local support group that’s right for you. You know, ask that your politicians, ask them what what am I, or ask the local authority… What am I supposed to do in these circumstances? Make a noise about it.

Alison  37:44

A phrase from making noise.

Rose  37:46

Yeah, that’s why the two organisations have worked together for so long, because we fundamentally believe the same thing. We need to have conversations, we need to make a noise. And we need to all work out what we can do to make everyone safer.

Amy  38:03

Brilliant, wonderful. And the final question of the quick fire round. If you could recommend a podcast or website or book to anyone wanting to find out more about these issues, what would it be Alison?

Alison  38:21

Okay, again, really, really partisan, I’m afraid. I would recommend Black Roses by Simon Armitage now poet laureate, who wrote this beautiful book started off as a docu drama, actually using Sylvia’s words about her daughter and weaving it with Sophie’s voice, which he made in poetry, it breaks your heart, it also is life affirming. And it’s, it gives you an insight into the reality of what hate does. It’s fabulous.

Amy  38:45

It is, thank you.

Rose  38:47

Well, other than the podcast produced by these fabulous people, I’m would recommend the Stop Hate UK website. There are lots of resources on there that you know, people can access. And we have a really hard hitting video on there about the impact of online hate. And I think that could be really, really useful to show to other people, especially those who’ve got access to young people around around how damaging it can be. It’s pretty hard. But then there’s just lots of resources. And just it might point you in the right direction of finding other support that you that you need as well.

Neil  39:30

Thank you, Rose. Thank you, Alison. There’s one final question to round off the podcast. Again, it’s quick fire. And I wanted to end on a positive we always do on this series. We’re looking for reasons to feel optimistic during increasingly grim hostile times. What gives you a sense of optimism going forward? Alison?

Alison  39:57

I would say the alternative community they are amazing, they are vibrant, they are creative. They are fun. They believe in celebrating their life and their individuality. And they take it on the chin. They’re grateful to us for what we do more than ever, we’re humbled that they put their trust in us. They’re just an amazing bunch of resilient people. And I think working with the community, and having that that vibe, and that energy around us is just a complete privilege every day. My job is a privilege. So yeah, thank you to them.

Rose  40:30

It is the thank you at the end of the helpline conversation, thank you for listening, thank you for believing me. It’s heartbreaking when you hear that, when people say I’ve never, I’ve never been, never, no one’s ever listened to me before. And then the opportunities to go out and talk to people, you know, I’ve I talked to all sorts of audiences in and some of the ones that are most worried before I go in ended up being the most exhilarating, and the one that I quote for this year is that I went to a children’s home and I spoke to six teenage boys on early Friday evening, because that was their slot for visitors to talk to them. And it was, it was incredible, you know, and that we I actually played them part of Harms of Hate, and they were really moved by it. And, and it’s, it’s when you can see the difference you can make. And and we see that a lot. And and when we talk to people, we get more supportive. So we know there’s more of us who are trying to fight this in an ever increasingly difficult situation.

Neil  41:44

Thank you, Rose. Thank you, Alison. You’ve been absolutely wonderful. Can we show some appreciation for Alison and Rose please.

Amy  42:01

And that was our live podcast episode. A big thank you to you our listeners for joining us today. If you enjoy our series, please subscribe wherever you get your podcasts, and be sure to follow the Centre for Hate Studies on X so you can keep up to date with our work and future events.

Neil  42:33 This podcast was created and hosted by Professor Neil Chakraborti and Dr. Amy Clarke from the Centre for Hate Studies at the University of Leicester. It was produced and edited by Chaos Created.