Women from across Derbyshire gathered to hear experiences and look at strategies to combat racism and negative attitudes towards immigrants.
Nick from Hope not Hate led the workshop and started by encouraging everyone to voice their concerns and say what they wanted from the workshop.
We then discussed how to target conversations and action. Nick used a tool called a 'spectrum of support', which illustrated which group of people are most likely to be receptive and therefore useful to target. This included passive supporters from both sides of the political divide and the idea was to encourage people to move from passive support through to activism and full engagement.
We discussed key ways of engaging with people by using good listening skills, acknowledging other's concerns and offering alternatives to myths people sometimes believe.We learnt about 'socratic questioning' and the importance of establishing a narrative to illustrate our point, and that stories were better than a barrage of facts. We then saw an excellent video giving an example of this and used role play to have a go ourselves. This demonstrated that you can change people's opinions if you use the right techniques.
We also saw examples of inspiring actions from Wales, where 'Hope not Hate' supporters had gathered to support a restaurant where a staff member was threatened with deportation and the use of football to create friendships across different communities. We finished by discussing action we could take in our own areas and the offer of community training from 'Hope not Hate' was welcomed.
Feedback from everyone was positive and we all felt we had learned valuable lessons in how to combat racism.