Gazette letters: Racism, smoking, praise for learning and Geffrye Museum

Swastikas daubed on a van in Stamford Hill (Picture: Twitter/@shomrim)

Swastikas daubed on a van in Stamford Hill (Picture: Twitter/@shomrim) - Credit: Archant

Like every anti-racist in Hackney, we were shocked and angered by the racist daubing of swastikas on a van parked near to the Beis Malka Girls School in Stamford Hill last week, writes Alan Gibson, Hackney Stand Up to Racism [full address supplied].

It follows reports of a cup of coffee being thrown into the face of a Muslim woman in Homerton the week before.

More than anything, these incidents have knocked for six the idea that Hackney is somehow immune from such outrages.

No doubt the perpetrators’ confidence to carry out such acts has been boosted by the Brexit vote and the victory of Donald Trump in the US presidential election. Now we must ask how many more racists in Hackney are on the loose.

That’s why Hackney Stand Up to Racism sent a letter of support to the school as soon as we heard of the outrage. And why we will be launching an anti-racist campaign in the borough at our public meeting with shadow home secretary Diane Abbott at the Unity Church in Newington Green on Wednesday. If you want to be involved contact us – search for our group on Facebook.

Smoking is obviously a dirty habit, even for the most ardently loyal smoker, writes Dr Vishal Vora, an ex-smoker, Stoke Newington.

The link between cigarette smoke and cancer was made many years ago, but passive smoking is also being linked to these dangers.

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With smoking banned in pubs and bars, has the time now come to round up smokers and prohibit them from their dirty habit in public?

I for one am fed up of walking behind a smoker, having to breathe their dirty secondhand smoke and, worse still, angered at the thoughts of my young children being exposed to this same nasty experience.

If people wish to smoke, their habit needs to be done in private and not in public. This is of course linked to a general lack of common-courtesy.

I can just imagine the hateful comments this letter will receive from the trolling keyboard bashers. I’m happy to take this on the chin and instead stick to the known facts of the matter. Just a few minutes of exposure to passive second-hand smoke can narrow the airways and reduce the amount of oxygen the body can take in; while this may not be too bad for adults, in children, as their lungs are developing, the effect is worse.

Of course adults are free to do as they please when it comes to the consumption of toxic substances – alcohol, for example – but when it has an adverse effect on those who are simply going about their daily business, surely it makes sense to consider limiting it.

Fifteen years ago, talk of banning smoking in pubs was laughed at; now it is the law. Now our streets need similar controls: smoking ought to be limited to designated areas or the private domain.

At the very least, smokers are reminded to exhibit a modicum of common courtesy to those around them when polluting their lungs.

I was touched by the standard of learning shown at the Hackney children’s centre in Evering Road during Black History Month recently, writesVictoria Ndunagum, Stoke Newington, full address supplied.

Parents were invited to sit and taste African and Caribbean breakfast dishes. The children’s hallway had dolls dressed in native attire. The impact on those children learning about their roots as well as other nationalities learning about Black History Month cannot be quantified.

I just hope many will seek such places and in turn raise unbiased, happy children in readiness for primary school. I applaud the management and staff for such a beautiful morning.

Our local museum, the Geffrye Museum of the Home, is beginning an exciting period of change, writes Sarah Martin, Geffrye Museum.

You can be part of this by joining Friends of the Geffrye Museum.

The Geffrye is a much-loved museum and under long-standing director David Dewing, who is retiring in December, it has received planning approval to develop and renovate the museum for the future. Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the museum will have new gallery and learning spaces, a new café, and a new entrance directly opposite Hoxton Overground station. The staff and curators are beginning to plan how they will display the treasures of the museum in the new spaces while the special setting of the almshouses will be preserved.

All this will be overseen by the new director, Sonia Solicari, who takes up her post in January.

Now is your chance to support a thriving museum at a time of change. Join now and you will be in time for the Friends Christmas Party on December 5, during the museum’s hugely popular Christmas Past exhibition, as well as the programme of events organised for Spring 2017 consisting of walks, talks, gardens and insights into arts and crafts, as well as behind-the-scenes tours.

To find out more about joining the Friends of the Geffrye contact