Politicians, celebrities, sports stars and community leaders vowed to stand “shoulder to shoulder” in the fight against hate at the fourth No2H8 Crime Awards last week.
Nearly 300 people gathered at the InterContinental hotel on Park Lane for the fourth annual ceremony, which champions the ‘upstanders’ who tackle hatred, prejudice and intolerance.
Fiyaz Mughal, creator of the awards and founder of the anti-Muslim-hate-crime monitoring project Tell MAMA, said: “This is about celebrating those people who have been upstanders against hate, who have stood up and done the right thing for other people in an increasingly difficult and fractious environment.
“It is that strong moral compass which forms the bedrock of this country and collectively our pluralist society will always overcome challenges,” he added.
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis issued a powerful warning around the ease in which “hate speech can be translated to hate crime”, cautioning that “so many of our leaders are legitimising hateful actions and attacks on those who disagree with them.”
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He added: “We shouldn’t be interested in uniformity, but should uphold the values of unity.”
Thirteen awards were issued throughout the evening hosted by comedian Sanjeev Bhasker, who argued that “selective compassion doesn’t exist” and that “compassion for all was the key”. Attendees included Olympic Gold Medal javelin thrower Tessa Sanderson and London’s Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Sophie Linden.
Highlights included the Jo Cox Memorial Award, which was won by David Linsey who spoke movingly of the need to “seek justice but not to be angry… to show terrorists we value our life.” David’s siblings Amelie and Daniel were killed in the Easter bombings earlier this year in Sri Lanka.
The 22-year-old has since raised over £320,000 for the Amelie & Daniel Linsey Foundation to provide access to shelter, education and therapy for local people affected.
Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Helen Ball, movingly spoke of her determination to “prevent anyone going through the trauma” she experienced witnessing her younger adopted sister attempt to “scrub off her black skin” after a spate of viscous bullying.
The Tell MAMA Special Award for Championing Hate Crime Work was won by Lord Nick Bourne, who as faith minister spearheaded the Government’s fight against hate crime. The Media Upstander Award, presented by Jewish News editor Richard Ferrer, was won by the Guardian’s Amelia Gentleman in recognition of her investigation into the Windrush scandal.
Other awards included Business Upstander Award, won by Chelsea FC for raising awareness of hate through their ‘Say No To Antisemitism’ campaign. Club chairman Bruce Buck said: “We have used our social media to spread the message that antisemitism and any form of discrimination has no place in football or in our communities.”
The Lifetime Achievement Upstander Award was won by Mark Healy, founder of 17-24-30 National Hate Crime Awareness Week in remembrance of three nail bombings in London targeting black, Asian and gay communities in 1999.