Two thousand people attended the third annual hate-crime vigil
in London's Trafalgar Square, last weekend.
The event was organised by 17-24-30 in partnership with the Harvey
Milk Foundation and came just days after Stuart Walker was found
dead in Ayrshire, Scotland.
Sister vigils also took place around the country, with Brighton,
Kettering, Leicester, Norfolk, Norwich, Plymouth, Sussex, Suffolk,
and Stoke all hosting ceremonies.
Even the people in the 'Occupy the Stock Exchange' protest held a
vigil outside St Pauls to show their support.
Mark Healey, organiser of the event said: "We had a good turnout
again this year, although I did expect more people following three
high profile attacks in central London. The attack on Philip Salon
that left him hospitalised for several weeks, the attack on the
barman from Half-way 2 Heaven, and the brutal gang attack on the
gay couple holding hands on Charing Cross Road."
"However it's not just about the numbers is it? It is about making
as many people aware that there is a problem and that we all need
to be vigilant, to look out for each other and keep our communities
safe. At the same time we need to keep the pressure on local
authorities to ensure that they are doing everything within their
powers to prevent these attacks - especially in the current
The Trafalgar Square Vigil was opened by the Sisters of Perpetual
Indulgence who read a short poem and blessed the event, it also
included performances by the Gay Symphonic Winds Orchestra and a
choir consisting of members of the London Gay Men's Chorus, Pink
Singers and Diversity.
Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone, Beverley Smith from the
Disability Hate Crime Network and Rose Simpkins CEO Stop Hate UK
all gave key-note speeches.
Sue Sanders, Co-chair of School's Out, also talked about
translating caring into action.
At 8pm there was 2-minute silence to remember those who had been
victims of hate crime.
Elly Barnes, who topped this year's Pink List in The Independent,
said: "All schools have a duty to protect young people - so for
goodness sake head-teachers, you have no excuses, you have all the
legal back-up you need to bring equalities to the forefront of your
agenda, in fact you don't need that as it is just the right thing
to do! - do it tomorrow, you will be saving lives."
Speaking to DIVA, she said: "It was a beatiful peaceful evening
in Trafalgar Square with moving music, stirring speeches from
campaigners and activists performing to a warm hearted supportive
crowd all with a collective passion to put an end to hate