The staff at JUST Lincolnshire organised another wonderful Ambassador and Volunteer training day to encourage volunteers to share their passions for equality and human rights further afield. There were representatives from Bishop Grosseteste University, the University of Lincoln, IRC Morton Hall, Hill Holt Wood, Boston Borough Council, Linkage and Total Voice amongst other independent organisations. People from all ages, abilities and walk of life attended the training day. The day sped by due to the activities and discussions that we found ourselves having, reminding us that whilst there were serious undertones to the day, our connections with one another through our fight for equality across Lincolnshire and beyond brought us together. We shared personal stories of hardship and of much more joyous times such as The Freedom Trail and JUST Lincolnshire’s work with young people in primary schools.
As a small organisation, the work of volunteers is highly valued as without their help the work would be much harder to achieve. The diversity within the group showed just how vital this work is as inequality impacts each of us in one respect or another. We became aware of our own individual unconscious bias towards people and how this can lead to a lifetime of anguish for those who are affected. We were shown stories told by people who have been directly affected by hate crimes which may not have been perceived as a hate crime by the offenders, but left devastating consequences with the victims. It is very clear in the world around us that numbers are often shown, but statistics do not evoke emotion like genuine stories. We learnt that because of this there are social and political barriers created between people.
The strong reminders throughout the day of how important equality is has driven all of the participants to go forward and encourage others within the community to partake in stopping hate crime and raising awareness.