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We are reaching out across Scotland to find people who would be 'guest bloggers' on the new Action on Sectarianism website.

We want to hear from those who want to encourage discussion on research, projects, events, toolkits and any other resource that you think will help others to take action on sectarianism. The AoS Blog will be the platform for you to create conversation around tackling sectarianism. You can provide insight into a project, laws - new and old, discuss research statistics, news articles, academic papers or local projects... it is your choice. The readers of this blog will be those who are working to tackle sectarianism in their communities, and beyond. If you would like to be an AoS Blogger or would like to find out more, please get in touch.

Opinions expressed by bloggers are their own and don't represent those of Action on Sectarianism or YouthLink Scotland.

By Sarah Robinson Galloway

 

‘You think the only people who are people

Are the people who look and think like you

But if you walk the footsteps of a stranger

You’ll learn things you never knew, you never knew.’

(Colours of the Wind, By Stephen Schwartz and composer Alan Menken for Walt Disney Pictures)

 

For Hate Crime Awareness Week this year the Scottish Alliance Against Prejudice and Hate Crime is running a social media campaign called ‘Prejudice Leads 2 Hate’. With the support of YouthLink Scotland and our new project ‘Action on Prejudice’ the aim is to highlight what we as individuals have in common rather than focussing on our differences.

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By Emily Beever, YouthLink Scotland

For National Hate Crime Awareness Week, No Knives, Better Lives and Action on Sectarianism have written special crossover blog posts to share learning between the projects.

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By Sarah Robinson Galloway, YouthLink Scotland

“But if you only have love for your own race;

Then you only leave space to discriminate;

And to discriminate only generates hate;

And when you hate then you’re bound to get irate.”

 

“Yo’ whatever happened to the values of humanity;

Whatever happened to the fairness and equality;

Instead of spreading love we’re spreading animosity;

Lack of understanding, leading us away from unity.”

Black Eyed Peas

 

As I watched the One Love Concert on Sunday night, for the first time I listened properly to the lyrics of ‘Where is the Love’ by the Black Eyed Peas. It struck me how relevant those words were in relation to the language and hate I had witnessed on social media in the previous 24 hours.

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By a Participant of a SRtRC workshop

A Few weeks ago I was asked if I was interested in attending a workshop “a couple of ex pros are coming in” I was told. Given football is a big passion of mine I was immediately interested. The rumour mill started soon after and we were drip fed some further information, it’s to do with show racism the red card I found out, something that I have known has been growing over the years and is a great cause. Then the bombshell came, it was 2 ex-rangers players! Here we go, I thought, that’s all I need to be sit and lectured to by a couple of 'ex-h*ns'.

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By Sarah Robinson Galloway, YouthLink Scotland

In light of the suspected terrorist attack in Berlin this week, and indeed all of the attacks of the past year, it is important to remember that they are conducted by individuals who subscribe to an extreme viewpoint. Following the events in Paris, Ankara and Brussels, to name a few, we run the risk of fearing and hating whole communities, faiths, cultures and nationalities because of the actions of a small number of individuals.

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By Sarah Robinson Galloway, YouthLink Scotland

Big Topic!

What are your immediate thoughts upon hearing the words extremism and radicalisation? Are you thinking of Islamic extremism and terrorism? What about far-right extremist parties and organisations? Neo-Nazis, fascism, ISIS? They all seem such big complicated topics to consider in isolation, let alone as a whole. For many of us they are far from our everyday lives.

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‘Looking Forward Not Back’, based at YouthLink Scotland, was funded through the Scottish Government’s ‘Tackling Sectarianism’ programme. The project worked with five youth work organisations across Scotland, examining the nature of the contribution youth work can make in tackling sectarianism. As part of this, young people in each of their communities were supported to conduct their own research on sectarianism.

 

16 year old Adele Martin from South Lanarkshire tells us why her experience of anti-sectarian project, Looking Forward Not Back, was a personal turning point for her.

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Sacro has extended its previous sectarian service (SASS) to tackle first time and/or low to moderate level hate crime offending in Glasgow and Lanarkshire. In 2014-2015 almost 30% (approximately 1,500 offences) of all hate crimes in Scotland were committed in either Glasgow or Lanarkshire. (Scotland’s official hate crime statistics 2014-2015).

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Positive Community Relationship Programme

The Spark’s Positive Community Relationships target group is young parents and prospective young parents.  The Children and Young People team delivers a 6 week group work programme which is underpinned by relationship education enabling the participants to gain skills which will help in all areas of their lives.

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20 years ago a young man was murdered in a sectarian attack. Mark Scott was killed because of the religious and cultural association another person made with the scarf he was wearing. This devastating act shone a light on the sectarian attitudes and behaviours that had existed in Scotland for some time. The first significant work to tackle this was led by Mark’s friend Cara Henderson who began a media campaign and to raise awareness amongst politicians. She went on to found anti-sectarian charity ‘Nil By Mouth’ who work across Scotland addressing sectarian attitudes.

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By putting ‘tackling sectarianism’ under the banner of Community Safety the Scottish Government changed how we go about dealing with sectarianism. Of course, the initial funding to tackle sectarianism in the community arrived at the same time as the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications Act – but it was the first time money was set aside on a Scotland-wide basis to challenge the issue in our towns and cities.

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By Rachel Thain-Gray 

Our Mixing The Colours Conference on Friday 20th March was the culmination of 18 months of research, workshops and discussions.

I thought I’d share my presentation/speech from the day to further share the thinking behind and importance and impact of the project.

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By John DC Gow

When it comes to helping end sectarianism in Scotland we need more tolerance. This may seem an obvious and banal point, but the tolerance I am asking for is different from what often happens in practice. Too many who say they are against sectarianism are simply preaching their own ideology from an ivory tower. For some, anti-sectarianism has become a way to differentiate themselves or their group from ‘the other’ so that they are seen to be morally superior, and those they berate as inferior. This, I suggest, is only another form of ‘them and us’ bigotry. You cannot end stereotypes with more stereotypes.

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The views of a Community Development Officer

How can we tackle sectarianism if we aren’t allowed to talk about it? When it is a taboo subject that so often makes people, even professional teachers and community workers, uncomfortable?

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By Christopher Main, North Ayrshire Table Tennis Club

My name is Christopher Main and I am head coach of North Ayrshire Table Tennis Club which is one of the biggest and most successful table tennis clubs in Scotland. Ten years ago, no young people played table tennis in North Ayrshire until my dad, Billy Main, took the initiative to set up his own club.

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By Dave Scott, Campaign Director, Nil by Mouth

The original version of this article appeared in the Daily Record on Monday 22nd September

On the 18th September we took part in the biggest democratic exercise in Scottish history.  We read the leaflets, listened to the debates, spoke with activists and then went into polling booths to make our choice. Regardless of which way you voted in an uncertain world where many people are denied the right to a free and fair vote the fact we had this opportunity is to be celebrated.

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Hear from two of the young people who have participated in Sacro's Anti-Sectarianism Service, a Diversion from Prosecution Programme, suitability for which is decided by the Procurator Fiscal and/or Early Effective Intervention Team.

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By Michael Rosie, member of the Scottish Government’s Advisory Group on Tackling Sectarianism.

Three recent official reports on Hate Crime will be of interest to anyone interested in sectarianism in Scotland. Hate Crime in Scotland 2013-14 published by the Crown Office, and Scottish Government reports into Religiously Aggravated Offending and Offensive Behaviour at Football allow us glimpses into criminal behaviour motivated by prejudice. There is good news and there is bad news, since the reports are disappointing, encouraging, and illuminating in equal measure.

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By Matt at Gie's Peace

The Gie’s Peace project is and Anti-sectarian initiative, housed within Trust Volunteering Inverclyde, part of Inverclyde Community Development Trust (The Trust for short). The Voluntary Action Fund was commissioned by the community Safety Unit of Scottish Government to support the development of projects like this to take a community-led approach to tackling Sectarianism.

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By Paul Johnston -Director for Safer Communities, Scottish Government

I'm writing this update immediately after the June meeting of the Building Safer Communities programme board.  We're focussed as a Board on working to reduce crime and victimisation.  This is already being done by the organisations round the Board table - including Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Violence Reduction Unit, and local government and third sector representatives.  Our community safety team is joined by colleagues from health, housing and regeneration and the improvement team from within the SG.   Our expectation is that we can achieve more by working together than we could do alone.

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Eolene Boyd-MacMillan
Thanks so much, Sarah, downloaded and reading. Terrific!

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