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Racism placed under the spotlight by women

18th August 2014

Women shared how they would curb the shockingly high levels of racism in NI at a focus group staged by WRDA last week.

The focus group was held on 13th August in relation to the recently launched consultation on OFMDFM’s new racial equality strategy, which was unveiled after a series of racially motivated attacks hit the headlines.

After splitting into small groups, the women discussed the various forms of racism people may encounter in NI and the effects such incidents may have on their lives. Most of women’s time, however, was spent coming up with practical solutions that could help NI become a truly welcoming society to ethnic minorities.

Suggestions included:
• Free, easily accessible English classes, which take place at times that will suit immigrants working long hours.
• A pot of funding being made available to organisations that wish to partake in equality training.
• New booklets on racial equality being published for smaller organisations, including small businesses, which may not have the time available to put their staff through full equality training.
• An integration programme being developed for local communities with high levels of immigrants to help new arrivals and their neighbours adjust to one another and create an environment free of fear on either side.
• Mandatory teaching in schools on equality and ethnic minority culture, as well as an increase in the provision of integrated education.
• Ensuring people who work with ethnic minorities have the tools they need to help and, where appropriate, refer them on to other useful services.
• A campaign to tackle the negative portrayal of immigrants in the right wing press through countering the misinformation with advertising, positive cross-community events, etc.
• Harsh penalties for those who abuse ethnic minorities.

Feedback from the focus group will be passed to our partners in the Women's Regional Consortium and inform our joint response to the racial equality strategy. To learn how to contribute your own views on the strategy, visit the OFMDFM website.
 

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