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The First Ever Festival of Manchester Celebrated The Diversity Of Our City

For the past few days we’ve been thinking about National Hate Crime Awareness Week. The annual event, which was started by the organisation Stop Hate...

For the past few days we’ve been thinking about National Hate Crime Awareness Week. The annual event, which was started by the organisation Stop Hate UK and runs from 13 to 20 October, raises awareness about hate crime in the UK.

A hate crime is a crime motivated by race, religion, gender or any other prejudice the perpetrator might hold. In a country as diverse as Britain hate crimes are, sadly, a reality. However, we tend to hear about them on the news because they are a rare exception, not an everyday occurrence. Most neighbourhoods in the UK, including ours in Manchester, are proudly diverse and enriched by the different cultures, traditions and views within them. We see it in our schools, on our streets and throughout all walks of life, and we’re proud that it’s celebrated with events for us all to enjoy.

If you happened to be in or around Platt Fields Park on Saturday 1 September, you would have witnessed an event that was doing just that.

The first ever Festival of Manchester took place that day, and all the festivities were put on to showcase the diverse cultures and communities that make our home so unique.

The line-up involved over 60 different community groups, and it was as entertaining as it was varied. There was the Manchester Samba band, the Manchester Gay and Lesbian Choir, a ska covers band called Baked a la Ska, the Manchester International Roots Orchestra, a Chinese classical dance troupe, the Great Britain BMX team and loads of stalls and food and other fun stuff.

The day was capped off with a display on the park’s lake featuring an enormous illuminated paper swan that glowed in the surrounding darkness. Here are a few images of the spectacle from Walk the Plank, the Salford based arts collective who created the swan:

In light of the serious message of National Hate Crime Awareness Week, it’s important to be reminded of the very values its fighting for; those of togetherness, understanding, community and, of course, fun.

The Festival of Manchester was a concentrated reflection of the people, hospitality and diversity that makes our city so special – and we cannot wait for next year.

If you want to find out more about Hate Crime Awareness Week click here.

If you have been a victim of a hate crime then please contact Tell MAMA, who will be able to offer you advice and support.

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