'It’s every single day': York woman leads anti-racism campaign after experiencing daily abuse

Haddy Njie, who is heading up the Speak Up Diversity initiative, has lived in York for seven years and said she has experienced racism every day. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees News

A woman setting up a campaign to make York the first anti-racism city has described her daily experiences of being chased, denied entry into restaurants and on one occasion being kicked out of a taxi.

Haddy Njie, who is heading up the Speak Up Diversity initiative, has lived in York for seven years.

She told ITV Tyne Tees, that despite loving the city where she lives, she has experienced racism every day.

Ms Njie said: “From going into the supermarket and being chased and followed.

"When we go past people they hold on to their bags or purses a lot tighter.

"Even sometimes, what tends to happen is they will stop and wait for us to go past them so they would not see where they live.

"The most serious incident was getting in a taxi and telling the taxi driver to take a different route. He did not like that and started calling me racist, insulting names. He actually told me to get out of the taxi right in the middle of the road.

“We have to prepare ourselves when we go out, for what we might experience and how to respond to that”

  • Video report by Gregg Easteal.

North Yorkshire Police recorded a 239% increase in hate related race crime in York and North Yorkshire between 2010 and 2021.

Ms Njie added: “It is every single day, every single day. If it is not the blatant, overt, racist slurs it's the subtleness of it where you feel it, you know it but it happens. 

“I grew up in Huddersfield, I’ve lived in London and in Maidenhead  and this is the worst experience that I have encountered.

“It’s hard, it is dehumanising. It's incredibly hurtful and it's not a way of living.”

Ms Njie said it would take someone a day in her shoes, to know what she experiences every day.

She said: "What I would say to those people is give us a chance, listen to us, listen to what we go through everyday.

“When we talk about these things, yes storytelling is powerful, but we need to hold people accountable, especially people who are cynical and people who do not believe us, we need to hold them to account.”

A spokesperson for North Yorkshire Police said: "The number of offence types that qualify as ‘hate crimes’ have increased in this period [2010-2021].

"Some new offences, such as misogyny, have been introduced.

"Public perception has increased significantly, partly as a result of awareness campaigns, which means greater reporting.

"Our advice to anyone who believes they have been victim of a hate crime is to report it to us so it can be addressed."

The new body Inclusive Equal Rights 3.0 was launched at York St John University.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To know...