The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Anti Racism Network Rally

Rally: 2pm, Art College Gardens, Belfast
Saturday 30th October
Supported by the Chinese Welfare Association

ARN Steering Committee • 11 October 2004

We are writing to you on behalf of the Anti Racism Network in connection with an event that the Anti Racism Network is organising for the end of this month.

As you know, the number of racist attacks in Northern Ireland has been on the increase recently. According to PSNI statistics, between April 2002 and 2003 there were 226 racial incidents, resulting in just five prosecutions - and it is not known yet if any of these have been or even will result in any convictions. The ARN believes this is just the tip of the iceberg, with many - if not most - racial incidents going unreported.

While the focus of the attacks has been on Belfast, there have been attacks in Armagh, Ballymena, Dungannon, Lisburn, and many other parts of Northern Ireland. As a result of the widespread nature and increasing violence used in these attacks, the ARN plans to hold a rally in Belfast city centre on October 30 in order for ordinary people from across Northern Ireland to express their abhorrence and opposition to this festering sore in our community. You may well have participated or taken part in our previous rally at the start of this year, and if so, we want to thank you for your support. But sadly, the attacks and incidents, verbal abuse and lack of PSNI success at catching those responsible for racial attacks have continued, and we feel that it is time to take a stand again.

The emphasis in our next event will be on the positive effect that ethnic minorities are having here. Our culture and society is being enriched by the involvement of ethnic minorities, and the work they do brings benefits to our economy - yet there are still those who believe in the myths of 'immigrants taking our jobs' and 'threatening our culture', and this is feeding racism in its more violent forms. Most recently, plans for a centre in Donegall Pass were frustrated by threats from a racist element in the community - and then justified and excused by an elected representative.

We don't want to hear politicians minimising the impact or seriousness of this hostility. We want them to challenge racism, not justify it. That's why our message for the rally is: "No more excuses!" It is important that we all communicate that we are 'Against Racism and For Diversity'.

The event we are planning, which is being supported and endorsed by the Chinese Welfare Association, will be slightly different from the last time. It will involve a march from the University of Ulster's Art College at 2pm through Royal Avenue to City Hall. We want to try and capture the flavour of a carnival, and make everyone feel welcome. We want people to bring drums as well as banners. Costumes, whistles, instruments - anything that adds to the carnival feel!

However, such an event will not succeed without your help. We believe that involvement of the trades unions, churches, ethnic minority groups, and political organisations is critical to changing attitudes in Northern Ireland. When ordinary people from different backgrounds speak out with one voice, there is more chance of it being heard and listened to. We urgently need commitments of:
· financial assistance
· reproduction/displaying of leaflets and posters for the rally
· enthusing and mobilising your members/branches
· lend equipment & provide marshals
· public endorsement of the rally

If you feel you can help in another way, please let us know ASAP. Given the relatively short time frame we would appreciate your response within one working week. Please do not hesitate to contact us should you require any further information.

ARN Steering Committee
Steven Alexander - 07768 151 972
Barbara Muldoon - 07719 632 264
Davy Carlin - 07974 632 485

Anti Racism Network (website will be updated Monday with more information)

Also, take the time to see:

Human without rights: asylum seekers in the 21st century

An exhibition of photographs by David Levene, Guardian Newspaper
Brought to Belfast by Law Centre (NI) and Refugee Action Group as part of Belfast Festival at Queens

At: Law Centre (NI), 124 Donegall Street, Belfast
From: Saturday 23 October to Saturday 6 November, 10 am to 4 pm

Closed: Tuesdays and Sundays
Full disabled access




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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
- George Bernard Shaw

Index: Current Articles

15 October 2004

Other Articles From This Issue:

Intimidation Continues in Rathenraw
Anthony McIntyre

Mick Hall

Choosing the Green
Liam O Ruairc

Anti-Racism Network Rally
ARN Steering Committee

A Coversation with Gerry Adams
Paul de Rooij

12 October 2004

George Harrison: An Appreciation
Sandy Boyer

Derrida, doctrinaires, debate
Seaghán Ó Murchú

That Hammering Sound
Michael Youlton

Truth Hurts
Mick Hall

Left Nationalism In Euskal Herria
Anthony McIntyre


The Letters page has been updated.



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