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Hate Crime Awareness Week launched at St Paul's

An act of remembrance has been held under the dome of St Paul's, remembering those who have been murdered and injured by hate crime.

The service, on Saturday 13 October, included speeches given by representatives from the Hate Crime Disability Network and 17-24-30, an organisation that works to remember the victims of hate crime and to show support to all those affected by it.

The name of the organisation relates to the dates in April that year on which the attacks took place:
17 April – Brixton, aimed at the black community
24 April – Brick Lane, aimed at the Asian community
30 April – Soho, aimed at the gay community

A special candle was lit by Peggy Moore, the mother of Nik Moore who was killed in the Soho bombing. The candle will burn throughout this week in the cathedral and will then be taken to the No To Hate Crime Vigil in Trafalgar Square on Saturday (20 October) at 7pm.

Canon Mark Oakley, who led the service, said in his welcome: "I try, with mixed results, to be a Christian and at the heart of Christian faith is a non-negotiable belief in the dignity and uniqueness of each and every human being, valued, full of potential for love and for a full part to live out in society. And I wish I could stand here and say that the Church has always stood for these things transparently and courageously but, as you know, it hasn’t and tonight those of us from the Church stand here asking for forgiveness for that - as well as for, alongside all of us here, renewal, and for strength for the future to challenge hate wherever and whenever it threatens a person, a minority, a friend, a stranger, a loveable person, a difficult person. Each and every human being - whatever their race, colour, nationality, sexuality, gender identity, disability, religion - being able to live without fear: that is what we together must stand up for, speak up for, and if our tradition, pray for.

"Lewis Carroll said, it is a poor sort of memory that only looks backward, so we also use this time together to renew ourselves and commit ourselves to standing alongside any who are vulnerable to attack (verbal or physical) because of who they are, who they love, what they look like, what they believe. Recently I saw an interview with a wheelchair user who told of how in his town at night he can be quite often tipped out of his chair by a pack of young men and women and told to stand up for himself. This horrific story captures so many truths: the way in which the hater tries to stop the human journey of another person, cowardly using a person’s weakness or fragility to bolster their own ego or hide their own fears. We can all do it. Our renewal of solidarity this evening begins with self-awareness and then challenges others to see what it might mean to be someone else.”

Messages of support for the St Paul’s event were received from many faith leaders and political leaders, including the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and the Mayor of London.