"In Our Shoes" - Collective Poem

In Our Shoes," launched in Belfast on June 21, 2024, is a digital resource to improve local policing on racially motivated hate crimes. Created with Voicing the Void, PSNI, and South Belfast Policing and Community Safety Partnership, it includes films and storytelling reflecting refugee and asylum seeker experiences, supported by the Community Fund and Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, aiming to foster cultural understanding and empathy across Belfast and Northern Ireland

"In Our Shoes" - Collective Poem

About "In Our Shoes":

Working with Voicing the Void, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), and the South Belfast Policing and Community Safety Partnership, have supported the development of a digital resource aimed at enhancing the local policing response to racially motivated hate crimes and incidents.

"In Our Shoes: Bridging Policing and Local Communities" was introduced on Friday 21 June 2024, in Belfast. The event featured short films reflecting the experiences of refugees and asylum seekers from South Belfast, and live storytelling by three courageous women from Syria.

The project, also supported by the Community Fund and the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, aims to equip local police officers with enhanced cultural understanding so they can be even more responsive to the needs of victims of hate crime. We also hope that this work will cultivate understanding, empathy, and cohesion within communities across Belfast and Northern Ireland.

Speaking at the event, South & East Belfast Superintendent Finola Dornan said, “Over the past year, my team and I, informed by feedback from our community partners, have worked very hard to enhance trust and confidence in the local policing response to hate crime. Supported by our local Police and Community Safety Partnership, we are committed to inspiring change by equipping our officers and the local community with a better understanding of the lived experience of our minority ethnic communities. South Belfast is one of the most diverse areas of Northern Ireland, and everyone deserves to be respected, valued, and supported, and not be the subject of intimidation or violence. As a Police Service, we are exceptionally grateful to the participants and involved advocacy groups for their help and partnership. I would also like to extend appreciation to Voicing the Void for their expertise and vision in the delivery of this initiative.”

Voicing the Void Chief Executive Officer, Rory Doherty, said:

"At Voicing the Void, we believe in the transformative power of restorative storytelling to foster understanding, empathy, and acceptance. 'In Our Shoes' is a testament to how sharing personal experiences can foster and navigate open conversations to help with understanding cultural differences, with a view to creating safer and more inclusive communities. While these stories and this initiative focus on South Belfast, we know from our advocacy work that there are similar stories across Northern Ireland. We are excited about the prospect of working with our partners to deliver this project in other areas, helping to build relationships and understanding between communities and local policing."

Our goal is to bridge the gap between diverse communities and the PSNI, cultivating understanding, empathy, and cohesion within South Belfast's communities. Central to our initiative is the transformative power of restorative storytelling. This project includes those who have been directly affected by the issues discussed and demonstrates its potential to inspire significant change. Our hope is to see this initiative extend into communities across all of Northern Ireland.    

To View Stories find them in our Gallery. 


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