Schoolchildren in Tower Hamlets are taking action to fight Islamophobia and make the borough a kinder area
The Agents of Change project is the first of its kind to take place in schools and had local children from seven schools produce and star in two short films, where they shared their experience of discrimination.
John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “As Mayor I am committed to tackling all forms of discrimination including Islamophobia. We want Tower Hamlets to be a place where everyone feels welcome and can live in peace, without facing discrimination.
“The Agents for Change Project plays a vital part in raising awareness of the impact of hate crime, and how to tackle it.”
The 37 students involved with the project were recently given awards as Agents of Change at an event at Rich Mix, Shoreditch.
Samia and Tanaaz, Agents for Change from Swanlea School, said: “When you judge someone by their religion it doesn’t define them, but it does define you. Blowing out someone else’s candle doesn’t make yours shine any brighter. We all need to work to end Islamophobia.”
In the first film produced the children, primary school pupils get the community to work together to overcome discrimination. The second film involves secondary school students encouraging people to report discrimination, support those being attacked and educate and communicate with others to help stop the spreading of hate.
Since Tower Hamlets Council launched its No Place for Hate campaign in 2008, there has been a dedicated team to support victims and help to hold perpetrators accountable. The Agents of Change project was set up as a way to further support and help communities under attack in the borough.
Councillor Asma Begum, Deputy Mayor for Community Safety and Equalities, said: “It’s commendable to see young people taking action to help end Islamophobia. Hate crime and discrimination is unacceptable and we will not tolerate it in our borough.”
Tower Hamlets has seen a rise in hate crimes over the past few years, which highlights the need for more to be done to help those being discriminated against.
You can find out more about Tower Hamlets hate crime services here.