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HOPE not hate

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Day of Solidarity

posted by: Solutions Not Sides | on: Monday, 10 July 2017, 15:17


Following the attack on Finsbury Park Mosque on the 18th June, here at Solutions Not Sides we wanted to show our solidarity with the Muslim Community. During our recent Berlin tour, SNS Assistant Director, Jess, and our Israeli peace activist, Michal, decided to join our Palestinian peace activist, Yasser, and hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world, in fasting for a day during Ramadan.

We aimed to raise £400 for HOPE not Hate, to support the extremely valuable work that they do challenging and defeating the politics of hate and extremism within local communities, building resilience against the politics of hate and extremism within local communities, and fighting extremism of all types. We believe in their ability to fight the kind of hate that was involved in the attack.

During our Day of Solidarity in Berlin, we wanted to show that no person, nor group of people, nor community should have to fear for their lives or fear for their dignity, and certainly not during such an important time. The Muslim community’s generosity and empathy stands directly in contrast to the hate, racism and fear that the attacker chose to embrace.

Whilst in Berlin, we were also extremely privileged to visit Wald-Gymnasium School, where we got to work with several Syrian and Palestinian Refugee students, alongside their German counterparts. These students brought fascinating insights on the Israel-Palestine conflict and future prospects for peace in the region. This visit coincided with World Refugee Day, which for us, further highlighted the importance of standing in solidarity with people from all over the world, and the tremendous amount we can gain from listening to, and engaging with, those whose experiences have been so different from our own.

We are incredibly grateful to the students and staff that made us feel so welcome and engaged so enthusiastically on World Refugee Day, and to HOPE not Hate for the admirable work they continue to do.

 Posted: 10 Jul 2017 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Ramadan and coming out against extremism in Sutton

posted by: Vic Paulino | on: Tuesday, 4 July 2017, 20:44


Following the recent spate of terrorism attacks across London and Manchester our local mosque, Sutton Islamic Mosque, suffered from a serious graffiti incident.

Instead of closing up, the mosque opened its doors to the public to share in an iftar (Ramadan fast-breaking meal) and asked that people come with any questions about Islam and the Muslim faith. We felt that this was an opportunity for our local More In Common group to engage and help to dispel some of the misconceptions around Islam.

The imam spoke at length and made us all incredibly welcome, explaining that this was the end of Ramadan, and talked to us about the reasoning behind their fasting month. Once he had spoken, I was invited me to speak about the work we do to help build unity within communities.

By encouraging questions between all parties we felt that some issues were laid open and we found common ground to start building a better understanding between our different groups. We agreed to work together more closely to build a stronger local community and to help people understand that we have far more in common than most people realise.

As a further result of the issues that have dominated our news of late, on Saturday we supported a 'United against Extremism’ march, which included many local Muslims. Again, the More in Common group not only supported the march, but engaged with the various groups that took part in the demonstration and spoke out against the divisions that are highlighted by, in particular, the far right.

Speakers at the event included the local imams, key figures from the Buddhist and Christian faith, the leader of the local council, and representatives of the main political parties, who all addressed the 100+ attendees. As a sign of respect and remembrance flowers were laid.

More events are planned in conjunction with local faith groups and the More in Common team, as our community extends this partnership against extremism.

 Posted: 4 Jul 2017 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Merthyr weekend of action – insider’s review

posted by: Harriet Protheroe Davies | on: Monday, 3 July 2017, 16:57


Last weekend Movement for Mental Health Merthyr held its first 'Weekend of Action', with events across the community including a free fitness boot-camp, free landscape drawing session, a session with occupational therapists and a free poetry night.

Vivian Protheroe attended our poetry night with Merthyr's famed 'Red Poets' and tells us why he thinks events like this are important to the local community...

"Saturday’s ‘Open Mic Night’ at Merthyr’s Imperial Hotel, held as part of HOPE not hate’s weekend programme dedicated to mental health issues, proved to be a great success, bringing together professional practitioners, voluntary organisers, the Red Poets, and most importantly those directly affected by mental health problems.

The readings proved to be very moving, both cathartic and creatively stimulating for the participants.

As a lover of poetry who has suffered from deep depression myself, I could readily appreciate their courage in openly communicating their stories in their own terms. What was really inspiring was the positive response of the audience and the tangible empowerment that it demonstrably gave to the stature of the readers.

Not all the readings were directly related to mental health issues, but all were relevant to the undeniable links between poverty, deprivation and mental health, which have for many years been a blight on the people of towns like Merthyr and its neighbouring valley communities.

Inevitably the recent horrific scandalous events of the Grenfell Tower fire in London were also the subject of several readers.

All-in-all the evening proved a valuable forum for informed discussion and with musical interludes was by no means all ‘doom-and-gloom’!

Why not set up your own open mic night wherever you are? Having been to this one as part of the Movement for Mental Health Merthyr, I can certainly say this was a much needed event for people like me who suffer (and have spent many years suffering) from mental health and have few places or outlets to discuss it."

(For anyone in Merthyr or the surrounding area, open mic nights are a regular feature at The Imp – anyone interested in poetry, listening, discussing, or better still expressing theirown story in their own voice should contact Meic Jenkins: [email protected])

Click here to sign up to Movement for Mental Health Merthyr

Tackling mental health in Merthyr

 Posted: 3 Jul 2017 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments