Hello, and welcome to my #Lambethhcc WordPress blog!
As Lambeth‘s relatively new Hate Crime Coordinator I’ve set up this blog to help share and promote some of the work that I and others are doing to tackle hate crime in the borough of Lambeth and beyond…
I hope you like what you find here and welcome you to let me know what you think!
- mhealey1 @Lambeth.gov.uk
- Work 020 7926 2766
- Twitter @Lambethhcc
In April 2014 I was nominated as Lambeth Star by my line manager Nicole which resulted in the following article being posted on Lambeth Council’s intranet site…
Ours is a borough that truly believes in diversity. When we speak to our citizens about what they like about the place, time and again they cite the mix of people who call Lambeth home, and the energy and vibrancy they create.
We work in one of the most diverse places in the world, one in which people from different backgrounds and with different identities successfully co-exist, and it’s perhaps easy to get complacent about how well this works.
The liberal society we enjoy today is founded on the hard-won freedoms of the past. From votes for women to same-sex marriage, these changes haven’t happened by accident, nor have they been achieved overnight – they are the product of years of campaigning by people who saw injustice or prejudice and wanted to make society fairer.
One person who isn’t complacent about the work still remaining is our latest Lambeth Star, Mark Healey, the council’s Hate Crime Co-ordinator. His life was changed by a series of events 15 years ago that showed him first-hand the destructive power of hatred and fear and made him determined to take action.
17 April 2014 is the 15th anniversary of the nail bomb attack on Brixton market that left 47 people injured. It was the first of three terrorist attacks, which also saw Brick Lane and the Admiral Duncan pub in Soho targeted in an attempt to stir up hatred in the capital and beyond. The lone bomber, David Copeland, was arrested before he could carry out any further attacks, but not before he had killed three people and devastated the lives of many more.
Mark was already an active campaigner, with years of experience as the first Chair of Westminster LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Trans) Forum, when in 2009 he founded the 17-24-30 No To Hate Crime Campaign to mark the 10th anniversary of the London nail bomb attacks.
The charity has since its formation campaigned tirelessly to challenge all forms of prejudice, build better community relations and remember the victims and those affected by the attacks. The acts of remembrance it organises each year in Brixton, Brick Lane and Soho show a real determination to stand up to hatred – 15 years on, it’s clear there’s still much to oppose.
Mark has been all too active both in our communities and beyond. In 2009 he organised the first London Vigil Against Hate Crime in response to a homophobic attack in Trafalgar Square which left its victim, Ian Baynham, with injuries from which he died days later in hospital. The vigil in the square was attended by more than 10,000 people. With many more participating online around the world, it was at the time the largest anti-hate crime gathering of its kind.
Mark said, “The first Vigil Against Hate Crime was a very humbling experience – it gave me hope that people like Ian Baynham did not die in vain and that most Londoners want this to be a safe city where hate has no place.”
More recently, Mark was instrumental in responding to a homophobic attack in Vauxhall in which two men were verbally abused, threatened with a weapon and chased. The resulting ‘Reclaim Vauxhall’ march that Mark worked with others to swiftly organise was attended by more than 150 people and served as a hugely important demonstration of Lambeth’s intolerance towards hatred and determination to protect the rights of our citizens.
Mark’s passionate activism has brought him a prominence that’s helped take his message even further. He’s been invited to 10 Downing Street on three occasions, has received letters of support from across the political spectrum and in 2012 was selected as an Olympic torch bearer. In the same year Mark became one of ten Hope Not Hate community champions in the country. He also featured on the Independent’s Pink List and has been nominated for the Diversity Awards two years running.
On the 15th anniversary of the nail bomb attack in Brixton, we’d like to thank Mark for his tireless campaigning and show our support for his work to tackle hatred and intolerance – you’re definitely a Lambeth Star, Mark.
You can find out more about Mark and his work by reading his National Diversity Awards biography.