Senior politicians and anti-hate campaigners pledged to drive “hate crime of any form” out of Britain during the #No2H8 Crime Awards on Thursday evening.
The theme of this year’s ceremony was ‘Upstanders and Not Bystanders’, with numerous individuals and organisations praised for standing up to hatred.
Among the winners was Luciana Berger MP, who won the Jo Cox Memorial Award. Receiving her award she said: “It’s an enormous privilege to receive this award in honour of my dear friend and colleague Jo Cox, who paid the ultimate price for standing up for what she believed in.”
Berger added: “It’s been very humbling hearing all the incredible stories of so many people who do so much every single day to make sure that our country is a better place. I certainly don’t want to be described as a bystander, and together as upstanders we have a job to do to encourage people outside of this room to be upstanders as well.”
Over 350 people gathered at the InterContinental hotel on Park Lane for the third annual awards ceremony, which champions those who tackle hatred, prejudice and intolerance in all of its forms.
Fiyaz Mughal, creator of the No2H8 Awards and founder of the anti-Muslim-hate-crime monitoring project Tell MAMA, said: “Today is a celebration of all that is good in our country, because there are so many people committed to making a difference in their local communities by challenging hatred, intolerance and bigotry. We must tell politicians from all political parties that hatred cannot be allowed to fester within Britain.
“Our Jewish brothers and sisters feel a sense of alienation at this time. We stand with you in this moment of time,” he added. “You are not alone and we will continue to fight against intolerance, bringing with us many other communities. What makes Britain great is a sense of pluralism, tolerance, care and affection for one another.”
Attendees heard from Cressida Dick, Britain’s most senior police officer, who praised the efforts of “ordinary” people in standing up to hate, as well as two Government ministers.
Lord Bourne, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State and Minister for Faith, said: “This fantastic event is a moment to celebrate seemingly ordinary people who have taken extraordinary action. We need to make it clear as politicians that antisemitism and Islamophobia have no part in our society and I am determined we will do just that.
“Hate crime of any form is a direct challenge to the fabric of our society and will not go unchallenged. To persecute somebody because of their race, religion, sexual orientation or disability is utterly and totally unacceptable, and we condemn it is a Government and as a country,” he added.
In total 13 awards were handed out, including a Lifetime Achievement Award, Upstanding Organisation Award and Law Enforcement Upstander Award.
Richard Ferrer, editor of the Jewish News, which media partnered the awards, said: “This is the third year that the Jewish News has been involved in these awards. It is an ongoing pleasure and privilege hearing the inspiring and uplifting stories of ordinary heroes standing up to hate. I hope it goes from strength to strength.”
Richard Benson, former Chief Executive of the Community Security Trust and chair of the No2H8 Awards, said: “We are undoubtedly at a juncture where so many other communities are experiencing a rise in hate incidents and feel vulnerable, whether these atrocities are committed verbally or violently.
“We cannot and will not sit back and assume the struggle against racism, prejudice and intolerance has been won. It is only by taking responsibility and becoming ‘Upstanders’ that we can assure the safety and security of all communities,” he concluded