Liberate

Pride 2021

Photo: CI Pride Live title screen

Channel Islands Pride 2021 was supposed to be hosted in Jersey on the beach. Working with the Government of Jersey to ensure islanders were safe to gather in an age of COVID-19, the event was scheduled for 21 August and the Pride Committee worked hard to get the Waterfront venue ready with plans for a stage, acts, food and drink vendors, community stalls, family fun and a live link-up with Guernsey’s smaller event – all the things that make CI Pride what it is.

Despite early indications that a summer date would ensure we were safe to meet in numbers again, the coronavirus rates started to rise and by mid-July it was clear that gathering 5,000 people in one place would not be good for the island. At which point we took the tough decision to cancel the in-person event.

Determined that CI Pride should go ahead in some format, the live link-up with Guernsey became the focal point. Could we pull off the Channel Islands first live-streamed pan-island concert in a month? Of course, we could!

Wanting people to be able to party at home for online Pride we quickly put together a printed programme and pack of Pride goodies. Thank you to our volunteers packed 2,000 Pride bags, which we distributed free in the Channel Islands Co-Operative stores. We also continued our promotion of Sippin Gin’s Pride Gin that had been mixed especially for CI Pride 2021 and which helped many Pride gatherings across the island go with a swing.

The venue for the live streaming was St James Centre in Jersey and the Princess Royal Centre for Performing Arts in Guernsey. Both islands would have concerts happening at the same time and the live stream would cut between the two islands. It was ambitions, but we had learned during COVID that technology could make connections possible that before had seemed impossible.

We got the technical team in place, we got the slightly amended acts in place (it wouldn’t be COVID if we didn’t lose one act to contact-tracing – Abbaloo stepped in to replace Inside Job at the last minute), and we crossed our fingers! At 3pm the afternoon kicked off with a message from Liberate’s long-time friend, Gary Burgess. All was going well, then suddenly we lost connection. After a 20 minute delay, where the technical team were working like mad to understand what had happened when everything had been tested thoroughly beforehand, they discovered that broadcasting from inside an old granite church has its drawbacks. Moving the router to the porch of the church put us back online!

The rest of the afternoon went without a hitch, and the live link up to Guernsey worked. We could not have asked for a better way to celebrate CI Pride, short of being in-person. The running order was:

15.00 Welcome

15.15 Abbaloo

16.00 The Rainbow Chorus (from Guernsey)

16.45 Rich Allo

17.15 Brick House

18.05 Shea & Kingsy

18.40 Eloise Fabbri (from Guernsey)

19.20 Siren

20.00 MadHen Party Band

21.00 Ends

Thank you to Stage 2 for designing and supplying the set, lighting and sound. Thank you to 3CI for the wizardry that streamed CI Pride live to the world. Thank you to Christophe and Julie Chateau for organising the line up of amazing acts. And thank you to all our performers.

The live stream had 7,000 individual social media logins across the globe from California to New Zealand and everywhere in between, making it the biggest Channel Islands Pride ever!

  • Photo: Gary Burgess introducing CI Pride
  • Photo: AbbaLoo at CI Pride
  • Photo: The Rainbow Chorus at CI Pride
  • Photo: Rich Allo at CI Pride
  • Photo: Brick House at CI Pride
  • Photo: Shea and Kingsy at CI Pride
  • Photo: Eloise Fabbari at CI Pride
  • Photo: Siren at CI Pride
  • Photo: MadHen Party Band at CI Pride
  • Photo: Christophe Chateau, compere of CI Pride

Thank you to our sponsors. They ensure that Pride remains free for anyone to attend, which is essential to making Pride one of the most inclusive events in the islands. 2021 was particularly difficult with the switch to online Pride, but our sponsors stuck with us as plans changed. Thank you to the Channel Islands Co-Operative Society, our lead sponsor for the sixth year running. Thank you to Mourant, who sponsored the free Pride packs. Thank you to Ogier, who sponsored the live streaming of online Pride. Thank you to HSBC, Citi and Jersey Electricity for sponsoring the stage costs. Thank you to RBC, IQ EQ, HLG Associates and Vistra for sponsoring the marketing costs of Pride.

Photo: Christian May, CI Pride Director

Finally, thank you especially to our Pride committee led by Christian May. It takes hundreds of hours to stage Pride and when you are doing it around the ups and downs of COVID it takes even more hours of meetings to do it safely. It has been especially challenging this year and Christian has been tenacious in ensuring that we delivered Channel Islands Pride – somehow. Thank you to Nigel, Eamonn, Angharad, James W, Ruben, Carla, Lorna, Paddy and James T.

Videos of the live streamed event can be viewed here:

Welcome from Gary Burgess (from timecode: 27.00)

Line up of acts, sponsor messages, thanks and the Pride message

MadHen Party Band

Live CI Pride pan-Island concert

Photo: Pride crowd taken from the stage

Live pan-Island concert first for Jersey and Guernsey as Islands celebrate Pride together

The organisers of Channel Islands Pride are making history this Saturday 21st August as they stream the first live concert held across both Jersey and Guernsey, as part of the Islands’ joint pride celebrations.

The free concert, running from 3pm to 9pm, will be live-streamed from the St James Centre in Jersey, and the Princess Royal Performing Arts Centre in Guernsey, on  www.channelislandspride.org and the Channel Islands Pride official social media accounts.

In Guernsey the acts will include the Rainbow Chorus, an inclusive choir run by Liberate; the equality and diversity charity behind Channel Islands Pride, and singer Eloise Fabbri.

In Jersey there will be performances by funk and soul band Brick House, soloist Rich Allo, duo Shea and Kingsy, and brand new female vocal group Siren!   

The event will culminate at 8pm on Saturday with a performance by MadHen, a five-piece party band from London who have supported Take That and have performed at festivals, film premieres and even Royal Weddings.

Pride Director for Jersey, Christian May, said:

“While we were disappointed not to have a physical event in Jersey this year, we wanted to take Pride into Islander’s homes. It’s vitally important that we can reflect as a community on the challenges that LGBTQ people face, both locally and globally, and also take the time to celebrate how lucky we are to live in a welcoming and inclusive Island.

“We’re looking forward to meeting the technical challenge of broadcasting live from Jersey and Guernsey, and we hope that as many Islanders as possible – across both Bailiwicks – are celebrating safely with their friends and family, and enjoying the fantastic local acts we have lined up!”

Pride Director for Guernsey, Ellie Jones, commented:

“The Channel Island Pride teams in both Guernsey and Jersey are known for setting the bar high when it come to the annual pride celebrations. CI Pride is the perfect example of inclusive collaboration and working together across the Channel Islands to create something that celebrates what makes us different but also brings us together. This pan-island livestream is another first that we are very proud to bring to the whole community.”

The online pan-Island celebration sets the stage for a much larger Pride Festival between both Islands which is planned for September 2022.

Islanders in Jersey who want a Pride Party Pack to boost their at-home celebrations can collect them, for free, from Channel Islands Co-Operative stores from Friday 20th August.

Channel Islands Pride physical celebrations in Jersey cancelled

Photo: Pride volunteers 2021

It is with sincere regret that the Channel Islands Pride Committee have chosen to cancel the 2021 Channel Islands Pride march and public entertainment, which were planned to take place in Jersey on Saturday 21 August.

The Pride Committee have worked hard to ensure the event could take place, but now it is simply not possible to operate a large-scale public event, given the increasing number of active COVID-19 cases in Jersey and changing restrictions on Islanders.  

Pride Director, Christian May, commented:

“We want to host a Pride that is inclusive, welcoming, and above all safe. Although we have planned extensive safety measures, neither we, nor our sponsors, would want to proceed with an event that could pose a risk to attendees. I am very sorry for the Islanders and visitors who will be disappointed by this outcome. Safety has always been paramount in the organisation of Pride, and this is the right decision; albeit a very difficult one to make.”

Liberate in Guernsey are still planning to host a smaller event on 21 August 2021 (more details here), and Channel Islands Pride are investigating the possibility of offering both Islands a live online streaming celebration – including musical entertainment – and at-home Pride packs; in order to continue the spirit of celebration and reflection that underpins Pride. Further details will be made available as soon as possible.

The Committee are also asking all Islanders to mark Pride Day on 21 August by flying rainbow flags, creating their own rainbow flags at home, and posting their flag photos online with the hashtag #CIPride2021.

Mr May said:

“I would like to thank all our sponsors and partners for the continued support they have offered us, as we have worked through the increased logistical difficulties of planning a Pride event in light of COVID-19. Their support for Liberate and our Island’s wider diverse communities is hugely appreciated.

“We are absolutely committed to building a bigger and better Channel Islands Pride in 2022 – one that brings together our Island communities and also provides significant economic benefit by making the Channel Islands pride destinations of choice. Working in collaboration with colleagues at Liberate Guernsey we are proposing a week-long Channel Islands Pride Festival that will span Jersey, Guernsey and the other islands in early September 2022.”

International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2020

Photo: the public entrance of the States Chamber in Jersey

Jersey’s public buildings are being independently assessed to determine how suitable they are for people with disabilities to access.

Liberate Jersey, an equality and diversity charity, is conducting audits of the Government’s property portfolio.

So far, the Jersey Library, States building, Central Market and the Opera House have been assessed against a checklist of more than 100 building criteria including car parking, lifts, lighting and handrails.

Liberate’s Accès Scheme delivers audits which enable organisations to meet their obligations under the Disabilities Law. The audit’s results are allocated a blue, orange or green status depending on the level of improvement that might be needed. Training is given to employees on how to improve inclusion for people with disabilities.

Paul McGinnety, Director of Customer and Local Services said: “The work Liberate Jersey are doing supports government’s Disability Strategy which focusses on ensuring disabled Islanders are able to have greater access to public buildings and the services they provide. The work is ongoing, and we welcome the findings of the audits.”

Vic Tanner Davy from Liberate Jersey said: “Today is the United Nations as International Day of Persons With Disabilities, so it’s an appropriate time to remember how important it is for people with disabilities to access our public buildings.

“We know that the audit will not be without challenges, particularly in listed buildings. For example, when assessing a building like the States Chamber there will be significant barriers in place. Making reasonable adjustments to remove these barriers aims to provide everyone with equal opportunities to engage fully in the public life of the Island.”

National Hate Crime Awareness Week 2020

Poster: stop hate U K, hate doesn't belong here

This year’s National Hate Crime Awareness Week will take place from 10– 17 October 2020.

Jersey is a multi-cultural island and whilst some celebrate this rich diversity, others can directly or indirectly affect people’s enjoyment of life by acting on their prejudice, discriminate or even commit crime motivated by hatred toward people who are different to them. Here are some of the communities or different strands of diversity that can be affected by hate:

Race                         Religion                       Gender                      Disability                        Age                  

Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity/Expression, and Sex Characteristics                       

The States of Jersey Police will be promoting the Hate Crime Awareness Week on their social media platform and have a number of activities planned in schools, businesses and across the community. The Police recognise that hate crimes and incidents are under reported and would appreciate anything you can do to support any victims of hate crime you encounter and encourage engagement either directly with the Police or reporting indirectly and in confidence via Stop Hate UK.

Some hate crimes or incidents may not be so obvious and may happen in your workplace or perhaps socially. I hope you join us in standing together and putting a clear message out across your network that there is no place for hate in Jersey, thus promoting a safe place for all. You can do this by posting some of the international hashtags below on your social media accounts, learning more about the subject and talking with those around you about diversity and hate – the more we talk openly about hate, the more visibly unacceptable it will become.

#NationalHCAW                       #WeStandTogether                  #NoPlaceForHate                #SafePlaceForAll                        #SpreadLoveNotHate                            #StopHateStartsHere

For further information regarding promoting the week, please visit https://nationalhcaw.uk/ and https://www.stophateuk.org/hate-crime-awareness-week/ You can use published ideas on how to participate, print off and display some posters and find resources regarding this matter – you can make a difference in stopping hate.

Accès scheme audits accessibility in the Co-Op

Photo: Liberate staff auditing the Co-Op for accessibility

Liberate are delighted that The Channel Islands Co-Operative Society have signed up to the Accès scheme. The scheme is designed to help organisations to meet their obligations under the law by offering an accessibility audit of their premises and training for employees on how to improve inclusion for people with disabilities, whether they are customers or employees.

Paddy Haversham-Quaid, CXO of Liberate, said: “A number of organisations have said to us that they aren’t sure what a ‘reasonable’ adjustment is for their business, and many fear that adjustments will cost them a lot of money. Accès provides an independent view that helps organisations navigate the process of making those adjustments.”

There are three parts to the scheme: over the next few weeks, Liberate will be auditing all Co-Op stores with our Accessibility Ambassadors to ensure that they are accessible and inclusive for people with disabilities; we will then train all staff on disability discrimination and how to make reasonable adjustments; and, finally, the Co-Op will get a visit from a mystery shopper – one of our RAMS (reasonable adjustment mystery shoppers).

Dave Chalk, Chief Operating and Risk Officer at the Co-Op, said: “As a community retailer we have always prided ourselves on being accessible for all and are delighted to continue our partnership with Liberate, by being the first retailer to sign up to their new Accès scheme. Accès is aimed at increasing education around accessibility, and Liberate will provide training for our colleagues, as well as working with their Accessibility Ambassadors to review our store estate and provide input in how we can improve access for all of our members and customers.

“We welcome the audit and will continue to keep our stores accessible for all islanders with disabilities.”

Liberate are also reminding Jersey organisations this week that they have until 1 September 2020 to make reasonable adjustments to the physical features in their premises in order to make them accessible for people with disabilities.

Organisations wanting to find out more about the scheme can email paddy@liberate.je or click here.

Watch ITV Channel’s report here

Why #blacklivesmatter

Photo: A black lives matter protest banner

Over the last few days there has been a polarising of opinion on social media regarding the #blacklivesmatter protests. The lack of social distancing, violence and vandalism seen in the UK and abroad has provoked people to dismiss protestors as unthinking sheep, to condemn the protests as disrespectful to frontline COVID-19 workers and, at the extremes, to issue ‘keyboard warrior’ death threats against all those who take part in the protests – whether they do so peaceful or not.

For some the criminal actions of a small minority of protestors are the excuse they need to mentally disengage from the reasons why the thousands of other people are protesting. This is perilous. However much you abhor, regret or feel outraged by the pictures on the news of Whitehall monuments graffiti-ed it is important to look behind those images to understand why people are so moved to take to the streets, despite social distancing, and why the #blacklivesmatter movement has gained global traction now.

When the history books are written the answer will be a complex mix of factors, not least of which will be recent UK scandals, such as Grenfell Tower and the Windrush generation deportations. What is certain is that #blacklivesmatter is bigger than one man, George Floyd. For his family and friends it will remain very much about him, for others the manner of his death has become a symbol of how black lives are still seen as less than white lives.

In the UK the government’s paper into why BAME people have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 has not yet delivered an answer and is a long way from delivering a set of actions to address the inevitable findings that BAME people are some of the lowest paid workers in the UK, fulfilling frontline roles, living in substandard, overcrowded, unsecure accommodation, with poor underlying health. This week at a Downing Street briefing Alok Sharma MP was asked why the ‘community engagement’ section of the report had been removed and when it would be included. He dodged the question.

I attended the protest in People’s Park and was two metres away from a black family that had two health care workers in it. I don’t know their personal motivations for being there, but I do know that Britain’s health service could not function without them and thousands like them and that we owe it to them to ensure that BAME voices are part of the COVID-19 investigation – not as a tick box ‘community engagement’ exercise, but genuinely leading the investigation. It is critical that people from BAME backgrounds are part of any group making decisions involving BAME lives, but all too often they (and other minority groups) are an after-thought, if their inclusion happens at all. This lack of inclusion goes to the heart of the #blacklivesmatter protests.

If we don’t place a value on diversity in our society and organisations we will continue to fall short. The question of civic statues highlights this issue perfectly. One person’s worthy philanthropist is another person’s slave trader. Without diversity within the group taking decisions about who should be honoured you end up with statues that reflect a narrow view of history and tend to look just like the group making the decision of who to honour.

At the protest in People’s Park, which was socially distanced, well-organised, done with the permission and co-operation of the authorities, and respectful to Jersey’s BAME community, the speakers were thoughtful and thought-provoking. One speaker threw down a challenge to Jersey’s leaders to sit down with them and talk about what it means to be a black person in Jersey. I hope that this challenge will be accepted and the opportunity it affords made the most of.

The opportunity to connect with someone other than your immediate circle is rare and vital for our growth as individuals. Unless we take these opportunities to talk and listen we won’t find out that we share a common humanity, and without that connection we will forever be locked into an ever-descending spiral to the bottom on social media.

Black lives matter, but to understand why #blacklivesmatter we must stop the ‘white noise’ on social media and really listen to the experience of life in Britain for people from BAME backgrounds. Only then do we stand a chance of making the changes necessary to address the inequalities that the BAME community and other minorities experience daily and that compels people onto the streets to protest.

by Vic Tanner Davy

Liberation75

Photo: Liberation Day 1945 crowds outside the Pomme d'Or

As we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of the Channel Islands and the start of the end of WWII, and as we continue to be living in a restricted way due to coronavirus, it seems a good moment to consider what freedom means. The Arthouse Jersey project The Face of Liberation posed the question of islanders, ‘What does freedom mean to you?’, as they took their photos earlier this year for a huge photo montage. A huge photo and a huge question.

Liberate’s vision is for an inclusive society where all citizens of the Channel Islands are accepted equally by government, organisations, society and themselves regardless of their personal characteristics. If you cannot access the education you deserve, if you cannot get the job or promotion you are qualified for, if you cannot register the birth of your biological child, if you cannot have your identity legally recognised, if you cannot live without fearing assault, if you cannot enter premises on the island because no consideration has been given to your needs, if you cannot feed, clothe or house yourself, how free are you? And, how free is the society in which you live?

For us as a charity, then, freedom means nobody being left behind in our islands. Easy to say, much harder to achieve. Our work involves holding up a mirror to government, corporations, charities and individuals and asking the question, ‘Is this what inclusivity really looks like?’. It is easy to be complacent when you live in a democracy that is economically rich and to assume that everyone is doing as well as you. The COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated the fault lines in British society in a starker way than any other national happening in recent times.

This week Liberate was due to be part of a human rights conference in Jersey that would have seen some inspirational international speakers visit the island to discuss how far we, as an island, have come from Liberation Day to today, and how far we have yet to travel.

When the world saw the horrors of the Second World War it made a promise. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948. It set out a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations and, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected in order that future generations should not have to suffer what millions had suffered between 1939 and 1945.

The Declaration remains an ambition that 70 years on has not been fully realised. Countries still go to war, commit genocide, sponsor terrorism, sanction torture, violate human rights, silence free speech, rig elections and deny citizens access to basic essentials. This will continue to happen until populations – everyone, you and me – speak up and take a stand against those who profit from the denial of others’ freedoms.

As individuals in Jersey, this means engaging with politics and electing those who seek to unite not divide us, telling our leaders in the workplace that we want to work for ethical organisations who put people before profit or power, intervening where we see people being treated unfairly in society, and volunteering our personal resources to help those who need our support. The UN’s 17 Global Goals provides organisations and individuals with ways to start acting on inequality in human rights.

The world was forever changed 75 years ago. Britain was not the same country in 1945 as it had been in 1939. The joyous celebrations of VE Day and Liberation gave way to a period of grieving, hardship and austerity in the years that followed. 75 years on and the crisis we are living through is also likely to give way to a period of severe deprevation. We are going to need to tackle the post-COVID period with a determination, similar to that shown 75 years ago, that the world will be a better place following the death and hardship we have endured. It will take our collective effort to ensure that nobody is left behind and that we truly are a society in which everyone feels free.

Liberate lauches counselling support service in response to COVID-19 emergency

Photo: a young man talking to a counsellor

Liberate is launching its new counselling support service, but its focus has changed…

Like many other charities, Liberate’s income for 2020 dropped off a cliff edge three weeks ago. It was there one day and gone the next! Since then Liberate has been looking for ways in which it can use its resources to support the island’s effort to manage COVID-19.

Vic Tanner Davy, CEO of Liberate, said: “We had been working on a new counselling offering as part of our HIV work and it was ready to launch when the coronavirus outbreak arrived in Jersey. As we watched the news and heard stories from people struggling with various mental health issues due to the crisis, we realised this was the service that we could repurpose to respond to the islandwide effort.”

The new service is offered to anyone who needs it for no charge. Due to anticipated demand, clients will be offered three sessions of one hour per week over video link or telephone. Liberate aims to assist those experiencing stress, anxiety, panic, depression, grief and other mental health issues due to the conditions imposed by the crisis, such as:

  • Change in routine;
  • Separation from family and friends;
  • Loss of freedom;
  • Being quarantined in a home that is unsafe or hostile;
  • Easier access at home to addictive substances;
  • Taking on more care responsibilities due to a lack of access to regular care for a family member with a disability;
  • Lack of employment/boredom;
  • Job insecurity;
  • Debt;
  • Uncertainty over own disease status;
  • Concern about loved ones being infected;
  • Bereavement.

Liberate hopes that the addition of extra mental health support into Jersey’s system at a low level will provide capacity to mental health professionals higher up the chain to deal with more acute cases. In particular, the ability for mental health professionals in the Health Service to support their colleagues on the frontline, who will need help in the coming weeks to cope with stressors including home pressures, workplace stress and traumatic exposure.

If anyone would like to use the service, they can sign up at https://liberate.je/counselling/

Liberate partners with Les Landes School to launch DIFERA Jnr

Logo: DIFERA Junior

On 31 January 2020, Liberate and Les Landes School are launching the DIFERA Jnr scheme with a day of diversity and inclusivity activities created by the school’s pupils and staff.

DIFERA is Liberate’s accreditation scheme for organisations that has members across the Channel Islands from all business sectors.

Paddy Haversham-Quaid, CXO Liberate, said: “We wanted to include schools in the DIFERA scheme, but knew that the offering to them needed to be a bit different as it had to include students as well as staff. We decided to partner with Les Landes school to pilot a junior variation of the DIFERA scheme as we were aware of the work they were already doing in this area.”

As well as auditing the school as a workplace for its staff, DIFERA Jnr also contains a day of activities for the pupils to encourage them to think about diversity, inclusion, fairness, equality, respect and acceptance in their lives. A staff champions group is also given training that enables them to train their colleagues and gives them material they can use and adapt in their lessons.

Vicki Charlesworth, Headteacher of Les Landes, said: “We were delighted to be asked to be the DIFERA Jnr pilot as we are a school that tries to embed the DIFERA values into everything we do. The year groups have each been asked to work on one letter of DIFERA and the day of activities has developed from there. Les Landes is the first Jersey school to be accredited in Philosophy for Children, and we will be using this framework to facilitate the discussion and enquiry work with the children. DIFERA Junior also supports our Rights Respecting School work; we are committed to promoting children’s rights. We hope that it will be a fun and thought-provoking day for staff and pupils.”

The DIFERA Jnr scheme has the ministerial team’s support and will be rolled out across other primary schools this year. If primary schools would like to find out more about the scheme, they can contact paddy@liberate.je

The development of the scheme’s training material was supported by RBC Wealth Management.