Sandwell shines a light against the darkness of hate
Published 21st May 2021
You could see for miles that hate has no place in Sandwell, as the Smethwick sky burst into rainbows of light to mark International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia this week.
The spectacular display at Lightwoods House was arranged by Councillor Richard Jones. Cllr Jones and his partner Councillor Richard McVittie were joined by members of Sandwell’s LGBTQ+ community for a candle-lit vigil.
Councillor Jones said: “I thought a borough as diverse as Sandwell should shows its support for diversity and refusal to give in to hate. We kept numbers manageable and within government guidelines, so everyone stayed safe, but we made sure the message went out loud and clear. There’s no place for hate in Sandwell.
“Richard and I have both faced homophobia because of who we love, but we’re resolved to fight it and make sure that no-one growing up in Sandwell faces hate or discrimination because of what they are.”
Sandwell Council raised the rainbow flag at the Council House in Oldbury to mark the day.
Deputy council leader Councillor Maria Crompton said: “It’s a tragic and chilling fact that four in five anti-LGBT hate crimes and incidents go unreported, with younger LGBT people particularly reluctant to go to the police. That can’t continue, and that’s why Sandwell Council works with the police, partners and our borough’s wonderful LGBT community to fight fear wherever we find it.”
Sandwell also has a network of third-party reporting centres, for anyone who doesn’t want to report any hate crimes, including on grounds of sexual identity, to the police or a formal body such as the council. .