Main photo: Children at Mallusk Integrated Primary School helping Migrants Forum Director Lilian Seenoi Barr launch this year’s Advancing Race Equality Awards. Mallusk won the Anti-Racism School of the Year title in 2022.
DO you know an individual, school or organisation that goes above and beyond to promote values such as inclusivity, diversity and racial justice?
Then the North West Migrants Forum needs to hear from you.
The charity has just launched its prestigious Advancing Race Equality Awards for 2023. Held annually and culminating in a glittering ceremony, the awards aim to celebrate those at the forefront of championing racial equality and anti-racism in their local communities.
The Advancing Race Equality Awards for 2023 will take place in the Everglades Hotel, Derry, on March 7.
To officially declare nominations open, the North West Migrants Forum travelled to Mallusk Integrated Primary School in Antrim. Mallusk was the 2022 winner of the Anti-Racism School of the Year, chosen in recognition of the work staff and young people do to embed diversity and inclusion in every facet of educational life.
Announcing this year’s Advancing Race Equality Awards, Director of the North West Migrants Forum, Lilian Seenoi Barr, said the accolades were designed to salute the achievements of grassroots communities working to tackle racial inequalities.
“I am delighted to be launching our awards which aim to recognise the unsung heroes and community organisations doing phenomenal work to enhance the lives of minority ethnic communities.
“In such deeply troubling times as these, there can be no better way to bring to the fore the commitment of individuals and groups working day in, day out, to challenge racism.
“All too often these efforts go unheralded but through our Advancing Race Equality Awards, we want to acknowledge that dedication to building a truly welcoming and inclusive society.”
The awards are made up of ten categories – Anti-Racism School of the Year, Anti-Racism Teacher, Primary School and Secondary School Anti-Racism Ambassadors, Advancing Racial Justice Award, Young Leader, Community Champion, Anti-Racism Media, Anti-Racism Leader and Lifetime Achievement.
A panel of judges has already been appointed and they will have the task of shortlisting the entries and ultimately naming the winners.
Among the distinguished judges are Parliamentary Researcher and Advisor Dr Raymond Russell. A researcher in the Northern Ireland Assembly, Dr Russell has been involved with equality issues for nearly 25 years. In 2018 he was commissioned by The Executive Office to write a report which explored the issues around introducing ethnic monitoring to the public sector in Northern Ireland.
Alongside him are former UN Policy Advisor Hannah Davies, Policy Officer at the Committee on the Administration of Justice Eliza Browning, Nurse and Unison activist Beverly Simpson, social worker and cultural musician Donna Namukasa, Ulster University Professor Duncan Morrow and former head of the Racial Equality and Social Cohesion Unit in The Executive Office Ken Fraser.
Nominations are open now and will remain live until January 12 after which the judges will begin sifting through applications.
The finalists will be announced on January 26 with the winners revealed on March 7.
Dr Raymond Russell described the Advancing Race Equality Awards as an opportunity to “come together and celebrate the remarkable work of those who promote racial equality in Northern Ireland”.
He said, “Northern Ireland is changing fast and our anti-racism champions have a crucial role to play in nurturing this change.
“By challenging racist attitudes and stereotypes, they are helping to bring about a society where one day all races and creeds in our society will feel comfortable in living and working together.”
On what winning Anti-Racism School of the Year had meant to Mallusk Integrated, Principal Susanne Kinsella said it had instilled a great pride among pupils.
Ms Kinsella said, “They were very proud to win the award and the children are always talking about it.
“When they heard the 2023 awards were going to be launched in their school out of all the schools in Northern Ireland, they were so excited.”
If you know someone you feel would merit a place on the list of this year’s Advancing Race Equality Awards nominations, go to www.nwmf.org.uk. Alternatively you can contact the North West Migrants Forum on 02871 362184 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.