Creating a fairer Britain
The Commission supported WALKTALK, a national initiative, which launched from Leeds on Saturday 19 July 2008 and finished in Central London on Sunday 17 August. It was conceived by Gill Hicks, a survivor of the 7 July 2005 London bombings, and her husband Joe Kerr, and co-developed with Zulfi Hussain of Global Promise, and the Together for Peace team in Leeds.
Staff from the Commission’s regional teams walked the first leg and walked a number of the stages along the route, listening to people’s stories.
What is WALKTALK?
WALKTALK aims to bring together people who may otherwise never meet, never talk and, almost certainly, never walk side-by-side. It is an opportunity to 'walk in another’s shoes', to hear a different point of view and promote understanding.
Further information on WALKTALK, the route, activities, and how you can help are available at the WalkTalk website
Over 200 people from all walks of life came together on 19 July for WALKTALK, which aimed to get people talking who would not otherwise have the chance to meet and share their points of view. The walk was launched by the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Frank Robinson and Gill Hicks who both thanked everyone for their support.
At 11am a helium balloon was released with the message, 'treat others as you would wish to be treated'. With that, the group set off to Beeston, where they were met for a welcome lunch break at the Sikh Temple or ‘Gudwara’. A short video was shown after lunch to raise awareness of all the community activities held at the Gudwara. Another set of balloons with messages of peace were released before the group set off on the next leg of their walk to the local mosque.
Why support WALKTALK?
One of the great challenges before us as human beings is simple to see but hard to deliver: how to learn to live with each other. The Commission has been given a key responsibility to help resolve this challenge. Our Commission’s founding legislation, the Equality Act, requires us to promote good relations between people and groups.
We cannot do that on our own. Our priority is to assist the development of initiatives that can help people in reaching out to each other so that differences do not become boundaries that divide but crossing points for discussion.
As a Commission, we are already involved in various groundbreaking initiatives around Britain such as the Croeso (Welsh for the word Welcome) project in Wales which brings together people in communities, in politics and in education; the Our Space youth camp in Cumbria 21 - 25 July 2008, during which we aimed to develop a squad of ambassadors for equality; and our support for initiatives challenging prejudice in football.
Before the end of the year we will be announcing an overarching strategy on the promotion of good relations, a key part of which will be the exploration of ways to generate similar initiatives to WALKTALK