Today is Holocaust Memorial Day. Usually I would have known it was coming up but this year I’m ashamed to say I had to see it trending of Twitter before I remembered. The pressures of working and looking after a young family especially in this period of economic uncertainty tends to distract us from these significant days, focussed as we are on more immediate issues.
The focus of this years Holocaust Memorial Day is ‘Speak Up, Speak Out’ and they are asking us to carefully consider the way we use language in person, online or when speaking about other people and to speak out when others don’t. The parallels between these awful tragedies and our society in the UK aren’t always apparent but I think it’s important to be aware of the increasing levels of intolerance that we can see being expressed towards certain groups by the media and some political parties which start to make it seem acceptable for people to behave that way too and economic problems are only going to make this worse.
Did you know that even in the 21st Century in the UK over 50% of British Muslims have experienced a direct verbal attack? And of course this isn’t just an issue for different ethnic groups. Did you know that according to Mencap 90% of people with a learning disability have endured verbal or physical harassment or that only 7% of teachers respond if they hear homophobic language? We’re being asked to remember that these words can be powerful but so can ours.
You can pledge to challenge the language of hatred here and if you would like to blog about Holocaust Memorial Day you will also find loads of resources for bloggers. Go check it out.
*Source: Challenge the language of hatred (http://www.speakupnow.org.uk/challenge_the_language.php?action=download&id=13)
- World marks Holocaust Memorial Day (guardian.co.uk)