Politicians, Journalists, Young People, Employers and Statutory Agencies Are All Agreed – “Racism is Wrong”

Racism is Wrong Launch

Showing their support at the launch of the ‘Racism is Wrong’ campaign and Race Equality Month are campaign model, Jerald Belmonte along with his brother and sister, Jayson and Jaira Belmonte.

A wide spectrum of society was represented at yesterday’s cross-border launch of the PEACE III Southern Partnership’s Racism is Wrong campaign, which also marked the start of the Equality Commission’s Race Equality Month.

Chaired by campaign champion and journalist Pamela Ballantine, the “Let’s Talk” style event featured a panel of eight which included Newry and Armagh MP, Conor Murphy, Deputy Chief Commissioner of the Equality Commission, Jane Morrice and Kasia Garbal, Migrant Worker Coordinator with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.

The Racism is Wrong campaign, funded by the European Union’s PEACE III Programme, aims to raise awareness of the fact that racism still exists in our society and includes bill-boards, ad-shels, newspaper and radio advertising, and a website and facebook campaign which can be accessed at www.racismiswrong.org.

Supported by the Equality Commission and the Unite Against Hate Campaign Racism is Wrong used local people from the BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) communities as the “faces” of the campaign – some of whom attended the event in Newry on Monday. The campaign will run across the PEACE III Southern Partnership area from November through to March taking in the council areas of Armagh, Banbridge, Craigavon, Newry and Mourne, Louth and Monaghan.

In what was at times a lively debate between the panellists – in response to searching questions from the 70-strong audience – attendees heard that there is a general commitment across the parties in the Executive to protect the most vulnerable.

Conor Murphy, MP, was asked in light of the budget cuts, how would this affect services which support the BME communities and he responded saying: “There is the impact of the capital budget, but we do want to protect our budgets as best as we can”. Concerned about anticipated funding cuts Jane Morrice from the Equality Commission commented: “Often at times like this equality is seen as a soft target. In times of recession protection for the most vulnerable is needed”.