10 things you need to know about the Anthony Walker Foundation
3 years ago
The Anthony Walker Foundation has launched a new campaign, ‘Speak Out! Stop Hate.’, as part of its ongoing mission to eliminate racism, hate and discrimination.
It’s asking people to report a race or faith-based crime whether they have been a witness to an incident or been a victim themselves, driving home the need for everyone to get involved to make the change that’s needed.
The AWF has been working for 15 years to make our communities safe for everyone.
So here’s 10 things you should know about it…
1. The Anthony Walker Foundation was established in 2006 after the racially motivated murder of Anthony Walker. Anthony was halfway through college with dreams of visiting America and studying Law at university, but all that was stopped when, in July 2005, he was murdered in a racist attack near his home in Huyton. He was 18 years old.
2. The Foundation was set up because Anthony’s family and friends did not want his murder to be just another statistic. Instead, they wanted his name to live on with a positive, lasting legacy.
His mother Gee said: “What happened to my son should never have happened – but it did. I can give in or I can keep his memory alive and try to change the path for others; so that what happened to Anthony serves as a lesson for others and so that his death has not been for nothing.
“I am trying to keep my promise that, out of something dreadful, something positive can come. That gives me hope. That means Anthony didn’t die in vain.”
3. The Anthony Walker Foundation works to tackle racism, hate crime and discrimination by providing educational opportunities, victim support services and by promoting equity and inclusion for all.
4. The Foundation vision is one of a global society where race, religion and ethnicity do not label any person or put them at risk; where racial intolerance/violence is unacceptable and cultural diversity is embraced. Natalie Denny, programme co-ordinator for the AWF, says: “We want to promote racial harmony through sports, education and the arts.”
5. In the last five years alone, the Anthony Walker Foundation has worked with almost 40,000 young people through education and outreach programmes.
6. It has supported nearly 5,000 people through its Hate Crime Support service. That help comes in many forms, both practical and emotional. Some people simply need to talk about an incident, others need help re-integrating into work or school, others need guidance, says Natalie: “Any help or support is based on individual need.
“If we don’t feel we can help, we can signpost people to other organisations that can.”
7. The Foundation is community as well as individually based and has worked with schools and areas where hate crimes have been reported. With a school, for example, it takes a holistic and whole approach, offering individual support for a young person who has experienced a hate crime, professional training for staff, policy support, and, even, intervention with the perpetrator.
“That can include assemblies,” says Natalie, “so that whole schools understand the impact.” It has developed activities and presentations, raising awareness on issues of bullying, discrimination, racism and all forms of hate crime. The activities include whole year group assemblies, and smaller class group sessions, both of which can include specifically designed learning materials developed in partnership with the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), Liverpool Football Club and AWF.
The idea of all is to challenge prejudice and stereotypes and educate young people to value difference, welcome communities and cultures, practise equality and tackle discrimination through direct positive participation and engagement.
8. Whether an incident is reported to the police or not, the Foundation and all its partners are encouraging individuals affected by hate crime to tell someone. Merseyside has a range of support agencies that can offer assistance without sharing personal details, and local authorities can provide help along with housing offices, One Stop Shops and Citizens Advice Bureaus.
The Foundation stresses that unless an individual tells someone that a hate crime has taken place it is difficult to stop the offending behaviour. Natalie says: “If we get a spate of reports in a certain area, we can contact the schools or community centres in that area and do some work there. We can co-ordinate our response and be pro-active.”
9. The ‘Speak Out! Stop Hate.’ campaign is a new initiative launched in February to tackle and prevent racially and religiously motivated hate in the Liverpool City Region.
* A new hate crime reporting tool which helps victims or witnesses report an incident anonymously or otherwise.
* a youth-led digital marketing campaign – in partnership with Agent Academy – which targets 18-30 year olds because, says Natalie, hate crime is notoriously and chronically under-reported, and more so for young people.
* A host of opportunities to raise knowledge and confidence when tackling hate crime. “This includes training people so that they can deliver programmes to others and educating people, because this whole campaign is to get everyone involved in making safer and stronger communities.”
10. Since it began the Anthony Walker Foundation has made great strides in educating and supporting communities, challenging perceptions and helping people to re-think their behaviours and attitudes.
Says Natalie: “We have achieved a lot in a short space of time, but we still want to be a force for change and a force for good, and continue Anthony’s legacy.
“And we want to get everybody involved. Race-based and faith-based crime won’t be solved unless they are.
“It’s for everyone to get on board. It’s everyone’s responsibility. Together we can make a change.”