No community has been untouched by terrorism, hate or extremism and today the Examiner joins its sister paper, the Manchester Evening News, in its #WeStandTogether campaign.
The Kirklees area was left shocked and bewildered by the street murder of the Batley and Spen Labour MP Jo Cox by far right extremist Thomas Mair in Birstall back in June last year.
The MP had always said that we had more in common than that which divided us, and her family want it to be her legacy that we become a stronger, more united and more tolerant society.
The terrorist attack on the Manchester Arena in May was also very close to home for many of us, showing how vulnerable we are as we go about our everyday lives.
So we stand with the MEN with its three simple goals:
1. To make sure every child in Greater Manchester is taught about how to solve life’s problems peacefully and without turning to violence;
2. To encourage and celebrate your acts of love and kindness – especially when you are helping someone you don’t know;
3. To fight every kind of crime which is driven by hatred. Instead let’s get people from different communities talking – and together let’s stand up to violent extremism and hate crimes.
MEN editor Rob Irvine said: “A dreadful, unforgivable atrocity happened in Manchester on May 22. This was an act of evil and hatred, pure and simple.
“We had the sad duty to report the tragedy of 22 lives stolen, of many more lives scarred forever, of families and communities racked by grief, sadness and anger.
“And we also told seemingly countless numbers of stories that spoke of a city and its people filled with love, affection and a genuine desire to help others.
“In those first few days, many thousands of you sent out a defiant message to those who want to divide our society through hatred and violence.
“And that message was ‘We Stand Together.’
“So let’s take that message and turn it into positive action, starting today.”
Examiner editor Wayne Ankers said: “Today we are standing together with our colleagues in Manchester as they launch their peace campaign in response to the horrific terror attack at the Arena in May.
“We all also remember too well the terrible attack on MP Jo Cox and it is only right that we support this drive in bringing peace to all our communities.”
After May 22 there was a public out-pouring of solidarity and unity in Manchester.
This came in the form of vigils, the lighting of candles and the laying of flowers in St Ann’s Square. People donated food to emergency services, opened up their homes to people stranded in Manchester. Taxi firms helped people get home with free rides.
Thousands had Manchester bee tattoos and of course some £18m was given to the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund to help the families of those killed and to those badly injured.
Let’s build on that sense of giving, encourage it and celebrate it.
We will build towards a special “Day of Giving” – a public celebration next spring of the public spiritedness of Mancunians.
To find out more visit www.westandtogether.co.uk and share stories via the hashtag #WeStandTogether.