Junior Minister Martina Anderson has vowed to challenge racism wherever it occurs in society.
The Foyle Sinn Féin MLA made the pledge at the launch of the Women’s Intercultural Network at Stormont’s Long Gallery at the weekend.
Speaking at the event, Ms Anderson said: “The Network will provide you with a voice and a mechanism to talk about your needs and concerns, not just amongst yourselves but also with policy makers and service providers.
“It is vital that we empower women to achieve their potential; provide support and protection from violence; offer facilities and advice on improving physical and mental health.”
Ms Anderson also said the Executive is planning additional legislation to tackle racism and promote equality. “In one area of my work, dealing with Racial Equality, I want to encourage you to become involved in the discussion and drafting of our new Racial Equality Strategy.
“We need you to be fully engaged in making this place a good place for everyone to live, work and enjoy an equal, peaceful and prosperous family and community life.
“We have to challenge the blight of racism and through campaigns such as Unite Against Hate we can, as a community, send out the message that we will never tolerate racism in any shape, form or fashion.
“I promise you that I will do all that I can to give you a platform and through the mechanism of the Network we can work together to challenge racism wherever it raises its ugly head,” he said.
The Junior Minister also said she will support to the Women’s Intercultural Network in the future.
“Our society is evolving – growing culturally richer, wiser and more outward looking and thinking but we still have a long way to go before we have true equality.
“The Women’s Intercultural Network is part of the challenge, change and moving our society forward.
“I will be fully supportive of your work and together I believe we can make a real difference,” she said.