Regardless of race, religious belief, sexual orientation, political opinion, gender identity or disability, all of us living and working in Derry and Strabane belong here.
That was the message as Councillor John Boyle, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, was joined by Councillor Caoimhe McKnight and representatives from the Foyle Race Equality Forum (FREF) and other groups to launch the ‘WE ALL BELONG’ campaign.
The campaign, which is funded through the SEUPB’s PEACE IV initiative, will run for the next two years and is dedicated to tacking prejudice and hate crime in all its forms. The PEACE IV Programme is supported by the European Union, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). Match-funding has been provided by the Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department of Rural and Community Development in Ireland.
The WE ALL BELONG campaign will work with groups from across the council area, including members of the Foyle Racial Equality Forum and groups working with those with disabilities, victims and survivors, ex-prisoners and the LGBTQ community to organise events, workshops and direct advertising and social media campaigns to tackle prejudice, racism and all forms of hatred.
Speaking at the launch, Councillor John Boyle said: “The message from all of us in Derry and Strabane is clear - prejudice in any form, be that based on race, religion, politics sexual orientation, disability or any other form - has no place in our society. The WE ALL BELONG campaign is an exciting two year initiative which will engage with people from across the city and district and ensure that prejudice or hatred has no place in our homes, workplaces or anywhere we gather.”
Chair of the Peace IV Partnership, Councillor Caoimhe McKnight said: “WE ALL BELONG is an exciting and innovative campaign which will tackle prejudice and hatred in all its forms and I am delighted to be here at today’s launch. Ensuring that Derry and Strabane is a welcoming place for everyone is a vital part of the work of the council, but, more importantly, is something that everyone one of us has an important role to play in. I look forward to working with the WE ALL BELONG campaign in the months ahead.”
Rekha Dromgoole, FREF Treasurer and member of the Kerala Association, who was also at the launch said: “I am delighted that people from all over the globe who have made Derry and Strabane their home are among those who have joined us here today for the launch of the WE ALL BELONG campaign. To belong somewhere and to be part of a community or a country shouldn’t be an option, it’s a basic human right. The next two years will see the campaign work directly to tackle prejudice and racism in all its forms in Derry and Strabane and I hope that people from across the city and district become involved.” Those wishing to get involved can contact campaign organiser, Carl Whyte, at MW Advocate on firstname.lastname@example.org