By Cheryl Rickman
I write this during a week of senseless violence; when MP Jo Cox, who devoted her political life to campaigning against racism, was gunned down by a man screaming 'Britain First; when a minority of football supporters showed their true colours whilst poorly representing theirs. A week where the lives of 53 LGBT people were snuffed out in the name of fear. All of which precedes a week when we go to the polls to vote in or out of Europe.
It seems to me that hate needs to be taken down a peg or two; that the only thing to fear is those who spout protection as a justification for such hate. Surely, it is only hate and fear which we should be protecting our nation from, not from other humans going about their daily lives who might be different to us. The only way to do this is by choosing to love, trusting our neighbours and celebrating rather than fearing our differences.
As Jo Cox so wisely said, “we have far more in common than that which divides us.” As a parent I will continue to teach my daughter that humans are humans, love is love and that our differences enhance our communities, our businesses and our schools – they add flavour, colour and collective wisdom to our lives.
Be it Farage or Trump’s fear-mongering venom or one human being harming another, the facts are simple. There is love and there is hate. One is right and the other is wrong. Nothing good ever came from hatred or fear. Plenty good came from celebrating differences and championing diversity.
Many worry about the world our children are growing up in. Fortunately, they’re not yet tarnished with a fear of other nationalities or sexualities. So let us teach them about the benefits of unity and compassion rather than disparity and aggression.
Perhaps we should learn from business leaders who know that diversity in the workplace has a positive impact on productivity and creativity (the more diverse minds there are, the wider the cognitive impact). They recognise collaboration leads to innovation and that, through aligning with others, we can pool resources, share insight and grow stronger together.
As the referendum hastens a bewildered general public towards choosing to stick together or go it alone, perhaps now is the time to consider whether love and trust should trump hate and suspicion.
Most people are good, so let’s celebrate our differences and notice our similarities. In doing so the world might heal itself.