Liverpool Against Racism shines a spotlight on the subject of prejudice in society

“You’ve got to want to have to have these conversations.”

A new festival sees musicians, athletes, historians, media personalities, activists, and more unite in Liverpool for a week-long series of events in the city.

Liverpool Against Racism shines a spotlight on the subject of prejudice in today's society.

It kicked-off on Saturday with Music Day and continues with live talks and debates as well as cultural events.

The festival is championed by the Mayor of Liverpool Joanne Anderson, who says it is ‘heartwarming’ to see people coming together in the city.

Mayor of Liverpool Joanne Anderson at Liverpool Against Racism. Image: LTV

Mayor Anderson told LiverpoolWorld: "We are extremely good at festivals in Liverpool. I never would've come up with the idea of putting it together.

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“We've also, at times, got some great points in history where we really stood out against racism, so the culture team and Yaw Owusu, who curated this project, have come up with this fantastic programme of music day and conference day.

“What I think is pretty genius about it is the callout to organisations; they've all stood up to participate and put on their own programme - it's got a life of its own; it's gone beyond us. It's absolutely wonderful and heartwarming."

Worrying rise in reports of hate crimes in Liverpool

The ambition for Liverpool Against Racism is to set Liverpool apart as a city that doesn’t shy away from addressing the issue of racism and to celebrate diversity in all of its forms.

The festival comes as the latest figures show a concerning increase in the number of recorded hate crimes In Liverpool.

Between October 2020 and September 2021, 2,333 were reported, compared to 1,898 in the same period the year before – a 23% increase.

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‘You’ve got to want to have to have these conversations’

Yaw Owusu, Liverpool Against Racism festival curator. Image: LTV

Yaw Owusu, festival curator, told LiverpoolWorld: "You've got to want to have to have these conversations. You've got to have these informal and formal education opportunities, and I think what we've tried to do with Liverpool Against Racism is give a lot of touchpoints where that could happen.

“A very big part of race conversation is a level of vulnerability. Whether it's vulnerability because you may not know as much as you think you should know or vulnerability because you have your own personal story that you want to share.

“You can only do that in a place where you have a sense of trust, and I think that's critical in the success of Liverpool Against Racism."

Liverpool Against Racism is the latest in a series of campaigns which have seen the city stand up to hate crimes.