Hate crime might be on the rise in Lancashire but Preston's communities are refusing to let racism divide their city.
The city will host a special event on Saturday, March 23, to proudly proclaim their commitment to community cohesion and tackling racism.
Standing Together Against Racism (STAR) is an annual event celebrating the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
The free event in Preston Flag Market is in its sixth year and has been organised by Preston and Western Lancashire Racial Equality and Diversity Council with support from Lancashire County Council, Preston City Council and UCLan, as well as a range of community groups and individuals.
Preston’s rich cultural life with be celebrated with live music, speeches and performances, including Caribbean Rhythm Dance Troupe, Salsa Northwest and DJ Kash Bollywood Dance.
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"Preston has enjoyed cultural and faith diversity for a long period of time due to the immense goodwill of its citizens", said Veronica Afrin, chair of Preston and Western Lancashire Racial Equality and Diversity Council.
"In the current political and economic uncertainties we are beginning to see a rise in racism and community tensions and in this difficult environment we all need to support each other and fight inequality and injustice in our society.”
Councillor Matthew Brown, leader of the City Council said the inclusive event will help inspire young people to reject racism and embrace Preston's rich cultural heritage.
He said: “With tensions approaching in our country with Brexit it is essential our young people are encouraged to envisage a society that is unified and free from discrimination.
"That is why I am asking you to support this year’s Standing Together Against Racism (STAR) event.
"Tackling racism is about winning hearts and minds which must start with the young.
"If we don’t try to do this whole sections of the community are potentially made more vulnerable going into the future.”
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Lancashire County councillor Peter Buckley, added : "This event will address a sensitive subject by promoting positive messages rather than focusing on negative prejudice.
"It is so important to recognise and support this International Day. Bringing all communities together to promote fairness, justice and equality for all our residents is definitely to be celebrated.
"Preston is proud of its diverse society that is both harmonious and cohesive. We all need to continue to take an active role building on the achievements we have made."
Preston Standing Together Against Racism will take place on the Flag Market on Saturday, March 23 from 11am to 1pm and attendance is free.