The EDP says - The racist poster is down, but abuse of our communities persists

Winchester Tower's entrance covered in heart-shaped messages of support. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Winchester Tower's entrance covered in heart-shaped messages of support. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

It's hard not to be moved by parts of a letter today written by the Norfolk Polonia CIC.

The group supports Eastern European people living in Norfolk and Suffolk, ensuring they have the opportunities needed to thrive in a new community.

Its directors were inspired to write the letter, first and foremost, to thank the people of Norwich. They say the city was "magnificent" in its response to a racist poster put up in a city tower block which, in celebration of Brexit Day, told people to speak English, or leave.

Its removal was swift, and the outcry even more so. And their praise continues to confirm what most of us knew - that the fine city is, in many parts, a welcoming, diverse place to be.

But it goes on to shed light on the experience of its members, and the abuse they face while speaking their native tongue in public. Parts of the letter are hard to read, but it is crucial we do.

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They say their language is their tradition, their heritage. That their children should not have to lose their first language because of pressure from those whose views are narrow-minded and often rooted in fear.

It should go without saying.

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But when you don't face similar abuse and are surrounded by like-minded, accepting people, it can be easy to forget the views and actions of others.

The comments. The dirty looks.

The group says children should not feel afraid to answer a phone call from their parents while out in public. It's heartbreaking.

The reaction to the poster was, of course, good. If not only to send a clear message that those attitudes are not acceptable.

But we must not act like this issue is over. The poster is gone, but the problems persist.

You can read the letter in full here.

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