Speech given by Laila El-Metoui on 27.01.2020 at the launch of the Equality Pledge for Redbridge Council as part of Holocaust Memorial day
Thank you for coming and thank you for inviting me. It is an honour and privilege to support the launch of Redbridge equality pledge.
Why is equality important might one ask?
Rudolf Brazda died in 2011 at the age of 98. He was a gay man born in what is now eastern Germany. He was the last known LGBT+ survivor of the Nazi concentration camps.
Pink triangles were originally used in concentration camps to identify gay prisoners. Between 1933 and 1945, an estimated 100,000 men were arrested as homosexuals. Homosexuals in the camps suffered an unusual degree of cruelty by their captors, including being used as target practice on shooting ranges. They were additionally used as the subjects for Nazi medical experiments as scientists tried to find a “cure” to homosexuality.
Today it is still illegal to be gay , lesbian bisexual or transgender in over 73 countries around the world and punishable by death in 12.
Children today , right now are being held in concentration camps away from their parents and carers.
We are all well aware of past atrocities committed in concentration camps in Nazi Germany , in Darfour and of the current atrocities still being committed today all around the world.
Maya Angelou, said History, despite its wrenching pain cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.
Everyone has the right to live a life free from abuse and violence.
We all have multiple identities with differing needs and barriers. We all have a race and ethnicity , a gender , a religion or belief, we all grow old and get sick. If we get cut, we all bleed. Our differences complete us rather than divide.
Diversity makes us better, Inclusion makes us more compassionate , equality makes us greater.
by focusing on our commonalities rather than developing animosity towards differences…. we can become a more compassionate and caring society
It is everyone’s responsibility to stand up to homophobia, biphobia , transphobia, racism and all forms of discrimination and prejudice
Standing together means to continue to welcome and support migrants and refugees
We must become allies to people who are different from us
To report hate crime
It is our responsibility to challenge discrimination where ever you may encounter , see it , say it , report it
Local authorities and central government need to continue to fund events such as today which celebrates diversity and support community groups
Authentic equality , real equality can only happen when we are kind and accepting of everyone without exception.
Love and kindness towards all beings is the only way forward