The organisation Stand Up To Racism held a rally in Cardiff last week. The panel spoke about different types of racism including structural and institutional, and discussed ways in which racism and discrimination can be tackled. Anti-Racism Cardiff has put together some of the points speakers addressed at the event.
Zak Cochrane (Stand Up To Racism)
Mr Cochrane said “Racism is a useful tool to divide the community.
He spoke about several incidents of racism, mentioning the Muslim woman who was kicked in the stomach in Milton Keynes, who then lost her baby. Mr Cochrane said the people of Milton Keynes held a vigil following this.
He said “we need to build an anti-racist climate in this country. We don’t accept racism lying down.”
Alice Hooker-Stroud (Leader Wales Green Party)
The leader of the Wales Green Party spoke about the problems of structural and institutional racism. She highlighted the importance of “love, respect, security and autonomy” and said, “we don’t build walls, we build communities.”
Abdi Ali (History Student & President of Cardiff University BME Association)
Mr Ali said “there are fewer opportunities and job prospects for people who may have a funny name. We have to challenge this. We can’t take minority rights for granted. In this post-truth world ignorance is so great the facts don’t matter. Knowledge is what we value and how we move forward.
“There’s not enough middle ground between the right and left wing. We need to acknowledge the other side and understand where both sides are coming from.
“Black and ethnic minority students in Cardiff haven’t had much of a voice. We need leadership in student committees.”
Mr Ali emphasised the importance of discussion and debate around these topics.
Sahar Al-Faifi (MEND – Muslim Engagement & Development)
The Muslim Engagement & Development officer from the charity MEND said she choses to wear the face veil because of her faith. She has suffered Islamaphobic abuses in the city centre, the streets, and the hospital where she works. People have shouted at her “go back to your city” and “you’re a terrorist.”
Ms Al-Faifi also commented on some negative experiences she’s had that have turned into positives. She said that her colleagues James and Sarah demonstrated acts of kindness when they stood up for her and supported her after she faced racist remarks.
Ms Al-Faifi is a Cardiff graduate and “proud of it.” She said she wants to feel safe in her city.
Saleem Kidwai (Muslim Council of Wales)
Mr Kidwai said “we need to celebrate our differences. They make us more beautiful. We can succeed by standing together. We are all human beings. We must defeat racism by showing solidarity with each other.”
Ruth Brown (Asylum Justice)
Asylum Justice is a charity that’s been running for 10 years. It provides free legal representation for asylum seekers. Ms Brown said “few choose to leave their country lightly. We are facing the biggest humanitarian crisis since WWII. There is an unstoppable wave of racism.”
Amarjite Singh (Unite Against Fascism)
The rally was held on Thursday 17th November in the Glamorgan Building of Cardiff University.
At Anti-Racism Cardiff we are open to debate and discussion. If you would like to join the conversation, or disagree with anything we’ve said or reported, please comment. We would like to include a variety of voices and views.