Activists are holding a Love Music Hate Racism (LMHR) festival in Kent on Saturday 11 September.
Renowned musician Lowkey will be performing at the festival alongside some of Kent’s finest talent.
We decided to launch Thanet LMHR after meeting Hasan, a Kurdish asylum seeker, and hearing about the racism he and his family suffer.
Hasan’s daughter is 13. She has suffered months of racist bullying on her school bus.
This is sadly not an isolated incident. There is a worrying level of racism towards Muslims, and eastern European and Roma families.
Our campaign was met with a fantastic response. We began by talking to teachers and approaching music producers in Thanet.
The Thanet branch of the teachers’ NUT union was enthusiastic about the idea of an anti-racist festival and is now our main partner.
Other unions, including Canterbury Association NUT, CWU Invicta Branch, Dover Unison, the south east region of Unite and Thanet NASUWT all now back the event.
PCS members at Canterbury job centre raised £42 during a workplace collection. LGBT members of the Fire Brigades Union branch hope to bring their fire engine to the event.
Thanet Pride is also onboard as are Theatre Royal Margate and the Dreamland Project, which is pushing to reopen a local amusement park.
The library wants to hold an anti-racist book event leading up to the festival.
The NUT has organised workshops. Local schools have made banners. Teachers have also encouraged school students to perform at the event.
We have run a number of LMHR workshops against racism, including one at Hasan’s daughter’s school.
This has given a real feeling of the local community working together to fight racism.
Our team has been working tirelessly for weeks to put on this event. We are proud at having involved so many local people in organising the event.
Stacey Morgan, a Margate student, has put together a number of “teaser videos” and is going to make a documentary for Thanet LMHR.
Stacey said, “Events like our LMHR festival matter because racism is still a very real issue in today’s world. To ignore it is to ignore those that suffer unjustly in the face of it.”
Sue Wilson, a teaching assistant and Unison member, said, “I grew up feeling helpless to do anything about racism in and around Thanet. That is why being involved in the festival is so important to me.
“Communicating through music is a brilliant way to get the message across.”
There will be ska, world music, indie, MCs, DJs, rock, reggae and a fantastic 40 strong samba band. There will also be an acoustic/folk stage, magic shows for kids, campaign stalls and much more.
For more information on the campaign go to www.thanetlovemusichateracism.com
Luton Love Music Hate Racism festival
Luton LMHR held an all-day concert last Sunday in the town square. The day closed with hundreds of people rapturously applauding reggae legends Clint Eastwood and General Saint.
Alongside the music the crowd heard speakers from UAF, the local Labour MP, the Jewish Socialist League, Hope Not Hate and many local unions.