Two charities have teamed up to stress that bigotry is not hereditary
“Bigotry’s Not in Your Blood”: that’s the message from a hard-hitting new campaign launched by two peace building charities in Glasgow this week.
Nil By Mouth and Global Acts of Unity joined students from City of Glasgow College to unveil the campaign which will feature on bus shelters across the city over the next fortnight as well as appearing across a range of social media platforms during October.
The campaign was designed by Georgina Alvarado, Julija Juodzeviciute, Iqra Tariq and Aida Vallespi students from City of Glasgow College through Nil by Mouth’s Pitch Perfect competition. This sees marketing students devise a campaign aimed at challenging prejudice in society, judged by an independent panel of experts. The students wanted to create a campaign that reminded people that no-one is born to hate and to think about the impact our choices, words and actions have on other people.
Both charities were founded in response to brutal murders of innocent people. Nil by Mouth was set up by Glasgow teenager Cara Henderson following the sectarian killing of her schoolfriend Mark Scott in 1995 and has worked with more than 100,000 people in schools, workplaces, colleges, prisons and communities across Scotland. Mike Haines OBE founded Global Acts of Unity after his aid worker brother David was murdered by ISIS in 2014. Since then Haines has dedicated his life to encouraging tolerance between different religions bringing his message of hope to more than 10,000 school pupils across the UK.
The campaign comes after weeks of tension in the city around parades which has seen, on occasions, riot police deployed to keep rival groups apart and hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxpayers money being spent on security measures. The charities hope that the campaign, which will run across many of the streets where disorder has taken place, will encourage people to rethink their attitudes and highlight the fact that Glasgow is a multi cultural welcoming city.
Student Julija Juodzeviciute said: “We are all proud to live, work and study in a multi-cultural city like Glasgow and wanted to create a campaign that reminded people that no one is born to hate.
“Our group comes from a diverse backgrounds and know diversity is a positive thing for society but we are not naïve enough to think everyone shares these views. We felt the image of blood cells highlights universality and we hope our campaign reminds people that we should respond to difference not with anger or violence but with questions and a will to find common ground between people of different faiths and cultures.
“There is so much more which unites, rather than divides us, and its often just a question of taking the time and effort to focus on the positives. Our city and its people are bigger, better and bolder than bigotry and we hope that when people see our campaign they’ll take a moment to remember that.”
Nil by Mouth director Dave Scott said: “This is a very imaginative and timely campaign with a powerful visual image that seeks to remind people that regardless of our colour or creed the same blood flows through all our veins.
“There’s clearly been serious issues across Glasgow in recent months with sectarianism and other forms of hate crime and we want to use this campaign to hammer home the message that things don’t have to be this way. Tens of thousands of people will see these ads over the next few weeks and we hope it will encourage them to think about their own attitudes.”
Mike Haines OBE said: “My work is all about encouraging young people to create positive change in society and the students are certainly doing this with their campaign.
“Glasgow is a wonderful city and people from all walks of life have made their home and lives here. I have felt the very real consequences of hatred in my own life and believe that we have to use every available outlet from the classroom, internet to ad campaigns to remind people of our common humanity.
“I hope anyone seeing this campaign who has ever been prejudiced toward others will be encouraged to take a moment and reflect on their attitudes and consider how much smaller such actions make our world.”