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Racist slurs at community meeting were the catalyst for Love Music gig

By Scott Jamison

An anti-racism concert taking place in South Belfast next week was created after a stormy meeting late last year in which racial slurs were aimed at the local Romanian community.

‘The World at Your Doorstep’ event will take place at the An Droichead centre this Saturday (February 4) at 9pm. Featuring a number of world musicians, including some from the Romanian community, the concert is being organised by the Love Music Hate Racism group and stems from the meeting last October 3.

In our paper at the time, we told how the meeting in the Chinese Welfare Centre descended into chaos as several residents of the Lower Ormeau strongly criticised local Romanians, some even going as far as to call for them to be “put out” of the area and blaming them for a string of criminal acts.

Charlotte Dryden from Love Music Hate Racism said the event was designed to create better community cohesion in the Lower Ormeau.

“This event emerged from a meeting held in the Chinese Welfare Centre late last year. Members of Love Music Hate Racism attended that meeting and were concerned at the level of racist abuse members of the Roma community experienced that night.

“One even went as far as to say it was the worst atmosphere they had ever experienced. We thought we could organise something in the Lower Ormeau that would show that whatever problems there were in the area, racism wasn’t a solution to them.”

Charlotte said local people had given their input to the event in order to try and make it as inclusive as possible.

“Since the meeting we have worked closely with local community workers to organise this event which will highlight the positive work that is being carried out in the area and ensure people pull together in what are very difficult times.

“The message we are promoting is that attacking each other solves nothing, it doesn’t give us more housing or more jobs or reduce the anti-social behaviour which were the underlying issues raised at the meeting last year.”

Among others taking to the stage on the night will be Wilson Magwere from Zimbabwe, who will be playing his unique brand of Afrobeat; musicians from the Roma community; traditional session players; local hip-hop dancers and rockers Scream Blue Murmur.

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