SUKI SANGHA
scotland

“Everything is about that radical transformation in society.”

Q: What word would you use to describe yourself? – A revolutionary

Q: What bought you here? – I work with young people on a day to day basis and I see the sort of hate speech people use. It’s about how do we give people the confidence and tools to challenge hate speech more effectively. I find it’s an area I find comfortable with, but I find a lot of my colleagues aren’t, so I’m here to pick up as much knowledge and as many tools as possible that I can then take back and give to other people. So they are much more knowledgeable and confident to tackle it.

Q: what are things are you facing back home? – Islamophobia, there is a lot in the mainstream around islamophobia in terms of hate towards Muslims. And in terms of the work I do in the trade union and a lot of the anti racism work I do, there is a lot of work being done to try and address this hate speech against Muslims.

Because you do see if in the Scottish education system and in certain public spaces, the way in which the government policy PREVENT programme is being used to discriminate against a particular religious group.

Q: when you hear the word hate speech what comes to mind? – When I think racism, I think all the different forms of discrimination whether it be racism, sexism, homophobia, something based on someone’s disability. But when I think of hate speech its very much linked to my political activism. For me in tends to be anti-racism work that one thinks about the most, and its most visible in terms of my own understanding. For me it’s about treating someone unfairly or discriminately based on a particular characteristic that they may have.

Q: Has there been a moment where you have felt confident to tackled hate speech? – I find don’t it quite difficult to identify because for me it happens so often that we are constantly challenging some of the behaviours that we see in our own work group settings on a day to day basis.

I work with young people that come from pretty working class backgrounds, pretty poor backgrounds and they come into our group settings with their own values and views and their own particular views on people from different backgrounds in the society. So for me there have been many incidents where we have had to challenge young people on their views on migration, what they think about migrants and the fact they think that they are taking our jobs, our housing, you know using our services, and it’s that kind of day to day challenge that I see all the time.

Q: What are you ambitions for the next 10 months (in Decebmber 2017), what do you think you can do to help transform hate speech? Taking the training on the road, certainly starting with the youth workers that we work with. Lots of us are tapped into lots of different networks. Firstly we want to see how we can pilot the training we are designing, but also role it out into different sectors. Not just youth work, but voluntary sector the public sector as well. And see what people need in order to challenge hate speech properly, and also see if it has any implication on the wider political context as well in Scotland.

The training like that also has a way of creating activists and there’s a lot of lobbying power that comes with it in terms of transforming people’s views, not only in terms of the classrooms or young people that we work with but also in wider society.

Q: What skills and knowledge have you gained from being part of this training course? – Knowledge from all the different national contexts that other people are dealing with. I would say confidence too in my own ability to be able to deliver training, confidence in understanding the issues, but I also can feel that I’ve picked up lots of useful tools really in a practical way which I can implement in my day to day work. The resources have been one of the biggest benefit for me, things that we have learnt from the trainers the experts, things that we can put into practice quite quickly.

Q: Why is this project important to you? ­- Partly because of the stuff I do on a day to day basis but also about my own values and how I see the world. I want to see a better world where people treat each other with respect with fairness and justice, justice is a big part of that.

For me this training is about how do we transform people’s views and ideas for the better how do we get rid of all those things that have been put in place to divide us, to set people apart, that are there to create distinctions between people, that don’t have to be there.

For me that’s what the training is about and that’s why it’s important people fundamentally. It’s about transforming and everything is about that radical transformation in society, where we start to see things in a much more critical and transformative way, whereby we can actually change the systems and structures which we live in.

Q: Have you learnt from other participants? – I knew a lot about come of the issues but I think There’s a lot of things in the LGBTI+ community that I need to do more learning on, there’s certainly been stuff that I’ve learnt from induvial participants that have been really helpful in my own understanding.

Sometimes you come along to training and think you know everything or you do have ideas about everything about aspects of what will be delivered.

The training has developed and challenged my own thinking. I don’t know everything and there’s learning to be done. Which has been a big thing for me. It’s been some of the activities that the trainers have used to bring out your own personal stories and experiences and for me a lot of that was quite new.

Q: What does equality mean for you? – Centrally imbedded in the idea of justice and fairness, treating people with respect and fundamentally about justice and ensuring people aren’t discriminated in any way and we start to build a society where people are treated as equals and recognising that there are differences between us but see that there’s more that unites us than divides us.

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