Luton In Harmony is a campaign supported by the Luton Forum aimed at drawing our communities together. We wish to strengthen the message that we will challenge violent extremist ideology, wherever it comes from, and unite the town in supporting, giving voice to, and celebrating our diversity.
We currently face many challenges to cohesion in Luton – but the town’s diversity has long been one of its greatest strengths and that remains the case today. Luton has been the focus of many negative media stories. Luton in Harmony will draw more attention to the many positive aspects of the town and its people. We have faced considerable challenges to cohesion in the past, in terms of local protests and associated tensions. Although these involved relatively small numbers of people, the impact was felt, and the image and reputation of Luton as a cohesive town was undermined. Many people across the town have been motivated to speak out against division and negativity, and some wonderfully positive events have taken place such as the Luton Council of Faiths’ Faith Walk and the Love Music Hate Racism event in St George’s Square.
These events, and others like them, are generally less widely acknowledged than the divisive actions of minorities mentioned above. Our ambitions are to improve community cohesion further – building on work that goes back a number of years.
It is clear that we require a united front to enhance our efforts to marginalise violent extremist influences from all angles. We will acknowledge all of our communities, and challenge the image that the town is fractured or ill at ease with itself. Luton in Harmony will kindle local civic pride and confidence, and has the potential to improve the economic, environmental and social well-being of borough residents. We want to demonstrate our vibrant and colourful past, present and future.