SPECTRUM Celebrates European Indepedent Living Day 5th May 2020 #ILDay2020

European Independent Living Day logo

Following a suggestion from our friend John Evans, SPECTRUM has put together a multi-media celebration to mark European Independent Living Day on 5th May 2020 organised by the European Network on Independent Living. #ILDay2020

This day co-ordinates the activities of the members of the European Network on Independent Living, who instigated the day originally.

Independent Living is about Disabled People enjoying the same choice and control about what they do with their lives as non-disabled people take for granted.

First, there is a collection of photos of Disabled People from SPECTRUM living independently, doing everyday things – and a few exceptional things! The collection is accompanied by a reading of Simon Brisenden’s famous poem ‘The Battle for the Elephant and Castle’ plus one of the Disability Movement’s favourite songs – ‘Choices and Rights’.

You can view the photos here.

Second, we have a video of personal reflections on Independent Living from John Evans, Jane Campbell and Gerry Zarb.

You can view the video here.

Third, a video compilation of photos of people and events throughout the history of the Independent Living Movement in Europe from 1989 to the present. This is accompanied by music from Johnny Crescendo.

You can view the photos here.

You can also join ENIL online on the 5th May for a webinar and movie screening

Southampton #SoLoveDontHate Campaign for National Hate Crime Awareness Week is an amazing success

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By Sam Waddington

We can’t believe just how successful our campaign has been so far:

This week we at SPECTRUM Centre for Independent Living CIC have been leading Southampton’s ‘Love Don’t Hate’ campaign to help tackle the problems surrounding hate crime, in the city and hopefully other parts of the country too.

To coincide with National Hate Crime Awareness Week 2018, from the 13th to the 20th of October, we have launched a network of 29 local organisations, to raise awareness of the severe impact hate crimes are having on individuals and their communities and encouraging more people to report incidents.

Hate Crimes are prejudicial verbal / physical attacks or threats based purely on someone being a Disabled Person, their race, religion, sexual or transgender identity.

The city had 600 cases of reported hate crime incidents in 2016-17, the second highest rate of hate crime out of any city in the United Kingdom and a 30% rise from the previous year.

With Southampton being such a diverse, multicultural place, with a mixture of individuals from 55 different countries these statistics are a concern and need to change.

The fact that so many incidents are taking place is the reason why we have decided to bring together a number of community groups in the city, that deal with all types of people in society irrespective of aspects like their race, sexual orientation or religion.

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Launch of the ‘Love Don’t Hate’ campaign outside the SPECTRUM CIL offices in Southampton

Rather than each community group dealing with hate crimes against a particular group of people, developing a campaign with all aspects of society involved, including statutory organisations like the Police and Council, we believe will have a bigger impact in preventing hate crime.

Getting the public talking about the campaign and realising that hate crimes are taking place more frequently than they think should enforce the message that what’s happening is unacceptable.

If more of the public understand that then hopefully it will change the mindsets of certain individuals and make them more tolerant to people who are different to them.

The end goal is to be one of the groups that helps change the societal norms, so our differences are seen in a positive light rather than as something negative.

With the presence the ‘Love Don’t Hate’ campaign has had in the local media this week we believe a good job has been done in reaching out to the public.

Case study pieces in the Daily Echo (see below), on those who have been directly targeted based on their identity, will have probably attracted the attention of those who knew of the word hate crime but not what it actually means for individuals.

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‘Disabled shopper’s hate crime ordeal’ published in the Daily Echo on Tuesday the 16th of October

The fact we had stories about hate crime incidents on BBC Radio Solent and our chief executive, Ian Loynes, speaking on the Julian Clegg Breakfast show during the week about the campaign was also positive publicity for the campaign.

Hopefully people in the area getting ready for or on their way to work might have stopped for a few minutes to think about the seriousness of hate crime.

Ian Loynes, Spectrum chief executive, preparing for his interview with BBC Radio Solent

To Listen to this interview, including with the Dorset Police & Crime Commissioner, click on this link:

Tackling people’s perceptions about different individuals in the first place is what really needs to be done to reduce the number of hate crimes, however the reality is that these incidents are still happening and those targeted need the right support.

Which is why alongside the campaign, we’ve launched a smart-phone app for anyone who is a victim of hate crime or witnessed an incident in Southampton to easily report what’s happened.

That way a better record of the incidents can be kept and people know that all they need to do is open up the app for the incidents to be dealt with.

It’s also designed to educate the public about hate crime, which is what needs to be done after National Hate Crime Awareness Week and beyond, as these incidents are sadly happening all the time.

We are confident this campaign is just the start of more individuals being accepting to others and hate crime being better understood by society.