Braunton has vowed to ‘say no to hate’ after a young villager’s shocking experiences of racist abuse were aired on national radio.
The parish council has signed up the Devon and Cornwall Police Zero Tolerance to Hate Crime campaign after hearing the distressing story broadcast on Radio Two’s Jeremy Vine show of Nomi Makin, a young Braunton woman’s experiences of racism in Braunton and beyond.
The council has also set up a new Braunton Together action group to promote the campaign and tackle all discrimination in the parish and surrounding areas.
The launch of the campaign coincides with Black History Month in October and the National Hate Crime Awareness Week starting on Saturday, October 10.
Nomi, who with her sister Jaycee organised the Black Lives Matter protest in Barnstaple, spoke on the Jeremy Vine Programme on June 5.
Parish councillor Val Cann, who heard the broadcast, said: “She spoke of racist language and attitudes throughout her time at school and when she worked as a student.
“These incidents were rarely challenged by her friends and colleagues who did not realise how demoralising and hurtful these comments were. “She mentioned being racially insulted on a local bus and feeling very alone when nobody stood up for her.
“We are hoping to change these attitudes and make people aware of how damaging they can be to the people on the receiving end.”
The new Braunton Together group consists of councillors, local headteachers, police, Live Well in Braunton, Sunrise and residents.
Cllr Cann, the group co-ordinator, added: “Councillors were shocked to hear this story and it turns out not to be an isolated case.
“We want this group to be about educating the public and we also want to make sure that the ‘No To Hate’ message gets through to local schools.
“We are also involving all our local businesses and asking them to sign up to the pledge. In setting up the group the council wants to provide an opportunity for those experiencing any form of discrimination to be heard and offer them support to take what action may be necessary.”
Cllr Graham Bell added: “When I first heard the radio account of what had happened in our community, I was shocked and dismayed that our neighbours were suffering abuse and it took national press coverage to bring it to our attention.”
Council chairman Liz Spear said: “This is a really important campaign and I’m urging our local community to get behind it. There is no place for any form of discrimination in our village and if we act together, we can ensure that Braunton is a community that promotes respect for all.”