Saturday, 19 November 2016

International Day for Tolerance - 19.11.16

Speech at International Day for Tolerance

Good afternoon Ladies and Gentleman and may I warmly welcome you to our community event to mark the International Day for Tolerance.

May I thank those staff and stall holders for giving up their time to make this event possible.

Don’t worry if you’ve not heard of the International Day for Tolerance before – neither had I until recently. But basically the United Nations every year holds a day to promote tolerance around the world. The official day is the 16th November but we wanted to hold our event on a Saturday to ensure that as many people as possible could attend.

As the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon said; “The United Nations promotes tolerance as a matter of its fundamental identity. When tolerance is upheld, we encourage the world to emulate those fine examples. When tolerance is threatened, we must speak out”.

Thetford has long been a diverse a community; comings and goings defined the town in its early days whether that be Vikings, Romans or religious visitors making pilgrimages.

More modern day changes include new residents from London as part of the overspill in 50s and 60s to newer arrivals from Portugal and Eastern Europe. 

As a community we need to recognise the challenges that change can bring and the concerns of those affected but never lose hold of that tolerant and understanding part that makes us all human. 

This week the news has been filled with the trial of Jo Cox, the MP that was tragically murdered earlier this year. It reminded me of what Jo said in her first speech in the House of Commons;

“there is more that unites us, than divides us”

I think that is true for every community and is a really important point to remember.

So please do visit the stalls that we have here today and let’s continue to work together to improve our community for the benefit of everyone.

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