Organisations from Preston will host two free Standing Together Against Racism (STAR) events in March to show their commitment to community cohesion and tackling racism.
The annual events will mark the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the Commonwealth celebrations, and both events are part of the Lancashire Commonwealth Celebrations 2018. This is the fifth year that they have been held in Preston.
Both events are organised by Preston & Western Lancashire Racial Equality & Diversity Council, Preston City Council, Lancashire County Council, the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and the Black and Minority Ethnic Forum. The events are also supported by a wide range of community groups.
The first event, a performance by the Standing Together Against Racism Choir, will take place on Friday 16 March at UCLan’s Venue 53 in Preston from 7pm to 9pm.
The choir is made up of pupils from Moor Park High School and Brownedge St. Mary’s Schools, who are lending their voices on a mission to celebrate diversity and oppose racism.
This performance will be attended by guests including the Lord-Lieutenant of Lancashire, The Rt Hon the Lord Shuttleworth KG, KCVO, County Councillor Susie Charles, Lancashire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Schools and Councillor Matthew Brown, Preston City Council’s Cabinet Member for Social Justice, Inclusion and Policy.
Veronica Afrin, Chair of Preston & Western Lancashire Racial Equality and Diversity Council, and Julie Ward MEP for the North West of England will also attend the event.
Young people from Preston will also be speaking about anti-racism at the concert.
Another event to mark the international day will be held on Saturday 24 March on Preston Flag Market. A range of community groups and organisations will come together to celebrate the city’s cultural life with live music and performances. This event is free to attend.
Mrs Veronica Afrin, Chair of Preston & Western Lancashire Racial Equality and Diversity Council, said: “We are extremely pleased to support and co-ordinate the STAR event to celebrate the UN International Day for the Elimination of Discrimination. In addition to this celebration we are privileged to support the Commonwealth event to mark the global family of nations coming to the UK in April 2018.
“Preston & Western Lancashire Racial Equality and Diversity Council continues to promote community cohesion and integration with its partners. Preston is a true multi ethnic and culturally harmonious city in which everyone is respected and treated fairly and justly. These celebrations are testimony to our achievements.”
Councillor Matthew Brown, Preston City Council’s cabinet member for social justice, inclusion and policy, said: “I am delighted we are again celebrating Preston’s rich diversity with this year’s STAR events. 2018 is the fifth year we have enjoyed these celebrations which involve many of our children and young people expressing themselves creatively about the kind of world they want to grow up in. With Brexit around the corner and continuing austerity it is essential we come together to ensure everyone, especially children and young people, feel included and safe.”
County Councillor Susie Charles, Lancashire County Council Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Schools, said: “This event will address a sensitive subject by promoting positive messages rather than focusing on negative prejudice.
“At the concert, the audience will hear a variety of songs which support the fight against racism and emphasise the importance of community cohesion.
“I’m proud that our young people are playing such a prominent role in various ways at both of the events. It is so important to recognise and support this International Day.
“Bringing all communities together to promote fairness, justice and equality for all our citizens is definitely to be celebrated.
“Preston is proud of its diverse society that is both harmonious and cohesive.
“I’m sure that our young people share this pride and will take an active role building on the achievements we have made by working together so far.”
For more information about the events, contact Faruk Desai at the Preston & Western Lancashire Racial Equality and Diversity Council by calling 01772 906422 (Monday to Friday between 9am and 12noon only) or email email@example.com
There’s no need to book tickets for these events, just turn up on the day.