EAST Antrim Alliance MLA, Stewart Dickson, has attended an event in connection with National Hate Crime Awareness Week.
Three students from Lagan Collage presented a piece of drama which they wrote.
Mr Dickson said the piece was sadly a real depiction of hate crimes in Northern Ireland. It followed two female students acting as a couple under attack by a male student who acted as a homophobic harasser, concluding with a bystander stopping the harassment.
Mr Dickson said: “The event highlights the need for anyone who feels uncomfortable, because they are a migrant, LGBT, disabled or just a bystander, with hate crimes perpetrated against them or others, to come forward to report to the PSNI (in an emergency phone 999, in a non-emergency phone 101).
“All the speakers at the Mossley Mill event expressed their disgust against perpetrators of hate crime but also joy that victims of hate crime are now coming forward, a member of an Advocacy spoke about the vandalising of Translink bus stops with anti LGBT and anti-Migrant stickers, she was so appalled by the stickers she removed them.
Mr Dickson concluded: “The only way we can stop hate crimes is by banding together and standing up for the rights of all people no matter what their race, sexuality or disability, the more people that stand against hate crimes the more inviting our country will be to those seeking homes or simply to feel included in society.”
Mr Dickson said the PSNI’s website is a good way to report hate crimes as well as calling 999 in an emergency (call 101 in non-emergencies) and said reports can also be madeanonymously if requested.
He said Victim Support NI is also open to anyone seeking help.
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