A campaigner from Lewisham who founded the remembrance and hate crime prevention charity ‘17-24-30 No to Hate Crime Campaign’ and started a national week to challenge prejudice has been named a Point of Light by Prime Minister David Cameron in the run up to Pride in London.
Mark Healey has become synonymous with campaigning to end all forms of hate crime in London. He founded the 17-24-30 group on Facebook in April 2009 to mark the tenth anniversary of the London Nail Bomb attacks in Brixton, Brick Lane and Soho – bombings motivated by racism and homophobia. In the same year, Mark went on to organise a candlelit vigil in Trafalgar Square in response to the homophobic murder of Ian Baynham which saw over 10,000 people come together in London and inspired parallel events in the US and Canada. The London Vigil against hate crime brought a lot of comfort to Ian’s family and inspired the launch of an International Day of Hope and Remembrance which is marked by vigils around the UK on the 3rd Saturday of October.
17-24-30 has since grown into a community organisation whose core aims are to bring people together, to remember those killed and injured, to provide people with support and to raise funds to tackle hate crime in our communities. The charity organises and facilitates the April Acts of Remembrance on the 17th, 24th and 30th April each year – which include outreach events in Brixton and Brick Lane and a short service in St Anne’s Gardens in Soho.
Mark has also gone on to establish National Hate Crime Awareness Week every October to raise awareness and tackles all form of hate crime. The first week was launched in 2012 with a special service at St Paul’s Cathedral to remember victims of hate crimes, and Mark received messages of support from all the main political party leaders for the most recent event.
Mark, 45 from Reading is the latest recipient of a Point of Light award, which recognises outstanding individual volunteers, people who are making a change in their community and inspiring others. Each day, someone, somewhere in the country is selected to receive the award to celebrate their remarkable achievements.
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
“As Prime Minister I am personally committed to tackling hate crime, prejudice and discrimination in all its forms. It has no place in our country and I immensely grateful to Mark for all that he has done. As we look forward to this year’s Pride in London – which is another cornerstone of national commitment to tackling prejudice – I am proud to recognise all that Mark has achieved. He truly is a Point of Light.”
“I am very honoured to be recognised as a Point of Light by the Prime Minister for my voluntary work with the 17-24-30 No to Hate Crime Campaign/charity. As with all recognition I dedicate my work to those who have been taken away from us through acts of hate, in particular I dedicate this award to the memory of Nik Moore, John Light and Andrea Dykes who lost their lives in The Admiral Duncan nail bomb attack, and to David Morley (aka Sinders) killed by a gang of teenagers in a so-called “happy slapping” attack as he walked home along the South Bank.
“I am passionate about making the world a better place by tackling all forms of hate in our communities and I hope that the National Hate Crime Awareness Week #HCAW I have created helps inspire every politician, every local authority, every police service and every community affected by hate crime to work more closely together to tackle all forms of hate. There should be no place for hate in any of our communities – so let’s work together to make them safer places for all.
“I also want to encourage people to consider volunteering and think about what they can do to benefit and improve their local communities. It is very rewarding knowing that we are all capable of stepping in and doing something good. That we all have the ability to be a positive influence on the outcome of events around us.”
Women and Equalities Minister Nicky Morgan said:
“Congratulations to Mark on his Point of Light award. No one should have to live in fear or suffer in silence. His efforts to help stamp out prejudice and discrimination in the local community are a huge achievement, and one he should rightly be proud of.”
Mark’s local MP Vicky Foxcroft said:
“I was delighted to hear that my constituent Mark Healey had won a Point of Light Award. Mark has spent many years campaigning to end all forms of hate crime in London, most recently establishing National Hate Crime Awareness Week. It’s fantastic to see hard working volunteers like Mark receiving the recognition they deserve.”
Mark is the 272nd winner of the new Points of Light award which has been developed in partnership with the hugely successful Points of Light programme in the USA and was first established by President George H. W. Bush. Over 5,000 US Points of Light have been awarded and both President George H. W. Bush and President Barack Obama have publicly supported the partnership with Points of Light UK which honours shining examples of volunteering across the country.
Regardless of whether it’s a doctor restoring local monuments in her free time, a father teaching young people life skills, or a local musician giving a voice to lonely people, the Point of Light award honours shining examples of volunteering across the UK.