That’s the message from a Blackpool woman who has been given a voice to speak out against disability hate crime.
Tina Healey, who lives in residential care in Bispham, is the star of a new DVD produced to tackle the issue.
She plays an integral role in the innovative film, which aims to change the perceptions of people with disabilities.
Wheelchair user Tina, 42, who has communication difficulties, is a member of a local service-user forum, the organisation behind the Hate Hurts film project.
With the support of ubu, a specialist health and social care provider based in the north, Tina is able to live to the full, and is a valued member of the forum and the local community.
The Hate Hurts film was put together to help promote awareness of hate crimes against people with learning disabilities.
The DVD was such a great success, it was nominated for an award at the recent RADAR human rights people of the year awards in London.
More than 600 copies of the DVD are being distributed around the country. It is also to be used by schools to raise awareness of these issues with younger pupils.
Tina said: “I really enjoyed being involved in a worthwhile project about hate crimes towards people like me, and I met lots of new people and had fun during the making of the DVD.”
Dean Morris, team leader at ubu in Blackpool, said: “Ubu is all about helping vulnerable people in all aspects of their lives, and enabling them to live a valuable life within their community.
“Our aim is to help people to live as independently as possible, so they can gain confidence and self-belief, and thus make a valuable contribution to society.
“The Hate Hurts film has made a real impact in drawing attention to some of the prejudice people with disabilities can face, whether through ignorance or malice.
“Hate crime can massively affect victims, so it is vitally important to raise awareness and educate members of the community.
“Tina is a very determined lady and we are all very proud of her contribution to this incredibly worthwhile project.”
Official figures showed in Blackpool there were 12 hate crimes reported against people with disabilities between April 2008 and June 2009, but, given anecdotal evidence, those who work with the disabled believe the actual figure to be far higher.
Work in the resort – for example at The Independent Living Centre, on Whitegate Drive – is going on to try to encourage more reporting of such crime and there are volunteers on-hand to help.
The film can be viewed through the ubu website, log on to www.ubu.me.uk/news.asp?NewsID=36.