These are the aims of the #WeStandTogether Greater Manchester campaign in more detail.
1) Get peace studies onto the curriculum of every school in Greater Manchester
Let’s stop violence before it starts. No one is born to hate. Violence is taught. But peace can be taught too.
We are already in talks with Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham and the chief executives of the 10 local authorities to see how we can get peace studies taught in all schools.
And we need your support – so sign up to join our campaign by clicking on www.westandtogether.co.uk
2) Encourage and celebrate acts of kindness
After May 22 there was a public outpouring of solidarity and unity.
This came in the form of vigils, the lighting of candles and the laying of flowers in St Ann’s Square . People donated food to emergency services, opened up their homes to people stranded in Manchester.
Taxi firms helped people get home with free rides. Thousands had Manchester bee tattoos and of course some £18m was given to the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund to help the families of those killed and to those badly injured.
Let’s build on that sense of giving, encourage it and celebrate it. The M.E.N. and the Peace Foundation will encourage and celebrate acts of kindness and giving big and small – and we will really get behind initiatives which reach out to other communities, sharing your stories with the M.E.M. weekly audience of more than a million people in Manchester.
We will build towards a special Day of Giving – a public celebration next spring of the public spiritedness of Mancunians.
3) Fight hate crimes
Hate crimes come in many forms. People are subjected to verbal and physical assaults and abusive messages on social media.
People are targeted because of their ethnic group, cultural group, sexuality, gender identification, because of a disability, and even because of the way they choose to dress.
What we want is nothing less than zero tolerance. Let’s stand up to hate crime together, let’s give a voice to those who suffer as a result of this crime and show why it is so shamefully wrong to act on baseless prejudices to hurt others.
And let’s help people who are worried about loved ones who they fear are falling into the trap of intolerance and extremism, turning people away from the dangers of radicalisation.
We need a “big conversation” – opening-up dialogue across communities, through the media, faith organisations and local Government that stands up to the threat of violent extremism and all forms of hate.
We want to make Greater Manchester an even better place to live. Please do join us.
And follow and share our stories with the hashtag #WeStandTogether