To mark National Hate Crime Awareness week (8 – 15 October), I along with Angela Rayner MP, Jim McMahon MP and Oldham Council Leader Cllr Jean Stretton have united to speak about our role in building relationships between diverse communities. Please read our joint statement below.
As community leaders, we believe we have an important role to play in supporting our communities and building positive relationships within and between different groups of people, and different areas.
However, following the EU referendum in June, we are aware of national tensions including across Greater Manchester, which may also affect Oldham & Saddleworth.
We are proud of our diverse community; we believe we are richer in many ways because of it. To protect our values of tolerance and respect of all people, regardless of colour, race, ethnicity, religion, sex, sexual orientation, disability or age, we need to pull together and respond quickly to incidents which threaten these values.
We will encourage people to report hate incidents so that they can be properly addressed, and the behaviour of those who seek to divide our communities can be challenged.
But we also need to empower individuals and communities, building understanding, confidence, and trust. One way we are trying to do this is by supporting community action, including various sports projects and other activities, as well as promoting political processes which enable people to take control and be part of the decision making processes in our Borough.
We will continue to build on these ambitions, be part of our communities, and build the trust that grows from this, reflecting, representing and championing the people we serve.
Oldham stands together, united in our belief, as our good friend Jo Cox said, that we have far more in common than that which divides us, and united against hate, and hate crime, in all its forms.
Debbie Abrahams MP, Angela Rayner MP, Jim McMahon MP and Leader of Oldham Council – Cllr Jean Stretton