George the Poet releases film with Equality and Human Rights Commission ahead of Great Get Together
Spoken-word artist and rapper George the Poet has released a new film, in partnership with the Equality and Human Rights Commission, in an attempt to help fight hate crime ahead of The Great Get Together – a weekend of community celebrations inspired by Jo Cox who was killed in June last year.
The launch of the film comes at a time when police forces in Manchester and London have both reported spikes in incidents of hate crime following the recent terror attacks.
The film, which is available to view on the Commission’s website, as well as their Facebook and Twitter channels, sees George perform a two minute poem about what hate crime means to him and encourages the public to report any incidents.
Speaking about the piece, George said: "During times like these it's important to hold on to the values of fairness and respect that distinguish us as humans.”
The release comes as Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, David Isaac, warns of the danger of heading back to a “them and us” society that could damage community cohesion and asks people to come together to challenge acts of harassment, hostility and hatred and uphold the strong British values of tolerance and respect.
Mr Isaac said: “The recent attacks have shocked and saddened us all. We need to stand together and show the people who want to divide us that we are united. We will not go back to a ‘them and us’ culture where distrust and hate exist and the best way to help end prejudice is by talking to each other and understanding our various communities. The Commission is calling for a zero tolerance approach to hostility and hatred and I would urge anyone who experiences or witnesses hate crime to report it.”
He continued: “As George says in his poem, this really is ‘a time that defines us’ and that is why I have been asking what kind of country do we want Britain to be? We will be pushing the government to implement an effective system of hate crime legislation and show leadership in coordinating how public bodies such as the police, local authorities and education providers work together to tackle this problem.”
Although the recent focus has been on hate crime towards immigrants and ethnic minorities, it is also often directed at disabled people and the LGB&T community. George’s film is just one element of a wider programme of hate crime work being carried out by the Commission.
The vast majority of hate incidents went unreported last year. The Commission is calling on the government to further improve the criminal justice response to hate crime, calling for an end to the two-tier justice system which has created a hierarchy of hate crime, and better support for victims and witnesses. The Commission asks for:
- the laws and systems for regulating and monitoring hate crime to be more robust, coherent and better coordinated;
- the effectiveness and evaluation of data to inform progress; and
- appropriate support for victims and witnesses of hate crime.
To find out more about the Commission, hate crime and how to report it, visit www.equalityhumanrights.com/hatecrime