When a few Portsmouth residents – including Sue Mullan – met in July to share their concerns about the increase in post-Brexit hate crimes, they didn’t expect to become one of 80 groups across the country taking part in Hope not Hate‘s national launch of the More in Common programme.
Portsmouth’s contribution to the Hope not Hate launch was a community picnic which took place in Victoria Park on Sunday 4th September outside the Arts Lodge. The picnic attracted around 70 people who brought food to share, chatted and listened to local folk group The Polite Mechanicals.
More in Common was established after the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox last June. Jo was a strong supporter of Hope not Hate and believed passionately in its promotion of cultural and social unity. Jo in fact coined the phrase ‘More in Common’ but was sadly killed because of her commitment to this cause. The local group is very proud that Portsmouth joined in with the national launch of Jo’s programme and continues to celebrate the diversity of Portsmouth’s communities.
Speaking on behalf of the local Hope not Hate group, I said, ‘We are delighted that so many people have turned up to our community picnic. The aim of the weekend is to get together and have fun but there is a serious purpose behind it. Just as Jo Cox said, we have more in common than that which divides us and it is wonderful that so many Portsmouth people share this view. While nothing we can do will bring Jo back, we have been able to get together to celebrate our community and remember what Jo stood for. We very much hope that this launch will be the start of a programme of events taking place in Portsmouth over the coming year.’
About Hope not Hate
Initially established to counter the electoral rise of the far-right British National Party, Hope not Hate works to provide an alternative to the politics of hate. It is a non-political organisation and seeks to encourage voters to support alternatives to far-right extremist movements, as well as to Islamist extremism. The organisation receives sponsorship for its community campaigning activities from the Daily Mirror.
Find out more and get involved
For further information about the Portsmouth chapter of Hope not Hate, please contact Sue Mullan on firstname.lastname@example.org / 07814 449020 or visit the organisation’s website here
For a personal account of one man’s involvement with the British far right, read Matthew Collins ‘Hate: My life in the British far right’ available from the Hope not Hate online shop
To support The Polite Mechanicals, keep up with their forthcoming events through their Facebook page
Photography by Moshe Tasky.