No hate crime is acceptable. We all have a right to live without fear, hostility and intimidation from others because of who we are.
Manchester has a proud tradition of inclusivity. It was a bastion of the LGBT movement in the 1980s leading the way in championing people’s rights to live free from intolerance.
And as an ever-expanding multicultural city celebrations are held every year to honour the religions and traditions of the communities which make Manchester special.
But the awful reality is, there are people in Manchester who still face hostility and prejudice.
Jamie Whittaker, a born and bred Mancunian who lives in Levenshulme shared his experience of a homophobic assault in Manchester City Centre which took place two weeks ago.
The 38-year-old said:
“I was making my way from Albert’s Schloss with some friends when some guy walked into me. I was walking ahead so it looked like I was alone, he walked into me and said ‘move out of my way you dirty f****t.’
“As I was about to reply he punched me in the face and it turned into a little scuffle.”
Mr Whittaker said he was able to fight off the assailant using his laptop bag, also nearby door staff were able to intervene.
Although he has been targeted with verbal abuse before, Mr Whittaker said he has never experienced an assault of this nature before.
A spokesman for Manchester City Council said:
“This is unacceptable and Manchester City Council is fully committed to rooting out the perpetrators of hate crime and ensuring the city is a one of acceptance.
“In spite of the tremendous progress which has been made over the past three decades, there is work still to be done. Hate crime cannot be tackled by the police alone, which is why this year we are calling on all Mancunians to pledge not to stand by if someone is attacked, simply for being who they are.
“We say support anyone who is abused, challenge their abuser, if it is safe, and report any crime you witness.”
Councillor Nigel Murphy, deputy leader of Manchester City Council, said:
“It fills me with pride to know that Manchester is a city which embraces people of all walks of life, no matter their religion, skin colour, where they are from or who they wish to love.
“The strength of Manchester has always stemmed from its people and I have faith they will get behind our message of support, challenge and report, and rid our city of the scourge of hate crime.”
Councillor Bev Craig, lead member for LGBT Women, said:
“Hate crime can take place any time anywhere and no one should have to face being abused as they go about their daily life. We have already achieved so much in becoming a more tolerant society, but as Hate Crime Awareness Week shows, we can always do more.
“As we have seen in the fight for LGBT equality, allies are crucial. Change does not come from one person or group but from all, and that is why I ask all Mancunians to throw their support behind this cause.”
Let’s End Hate Crime – the Greater Manchester Promise states:
“I’m proud that Greater Manchester is a place where everyone is free to be themselves; where no one should face violence, abuse or hatred just because of who they are, who they love, where they’re from, what they look like or what they believe.
“If I see someone abused like this I won’t stand by. I’ll take a stand and: support them, challenge their abuser if it’s safe and report it.
“I make this promise to stand up for a Greater Manchester where we all look out for each other, we all stick up for each other, and we all stand together.”
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