Stevenage Borough Council passes Black Lives Matter motion

PUBLISHED: 11:00 17 July 2020 | UPDATED: 11:39 17 July 2020

Stevenage Borough Council has passed a motion that was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. Picture: Anne Suslak

Stevenage Borough Council has passed a motion that was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. Picture: Anne Suslak

Archant

Councillors from Stevenage Borough Council debated and passed a motion on Wednesday that follows on from the Black Lives Matter movement and promises more action on racial inequality in the town.

After speaking on her own experiences of racism, SBC’s sole black councillor, Michelle Gardner, explained that the motion put forward was inspired by the death of George Floyd and the ensuing global protests.

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As the motion passed, the council has agreed to the following:

• To stand in solidarity with black people in Stevenage, Britain and around the world.

• To lobby government for immediate action to address the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black, Asian and minority ethnic people in the UK – including in Hertfordshire where SBC will continue to work with the director of public health.

• To lobby government and the county council on racial inequality in education, including the recruitment of more Black teachers and reforming the national curriculum to fully reflect British history, including slavery, the empire and colonialism.

• To ensure the council’s human resources and management policies fully meet the requirements for equalities, diversity and inclusion in the recruitment and career progression of all staff.

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• To establish wider dialogue with BAME communty organisations, who can make clear recommendations to the council and other public bodies on further actions required to tackle discrimination and reduce inequality in Stevenage.

• To work with Stevenage Together partners to ensure we are all listening and engaging with our Black community as we plan the future of our town together.

Two amendments were put forward, one by Liberal Democract Cllr Stephen Booth, and the other by Conservative Cllr Philip Bibby. Both were rejected at the meeting.

28 members voted in favour of the motion, and seven abstained.

Cllr Jackie Hollywell, executive member for communities, equalities and community safety, said: “As a co-operative council serving the people of Stevenage is central to everything we do.

“Racism should play no part in modern society and certainly not in the delivery of public services.

“We are working with our local communities and our partners to drive the eradication of prejudice and discrimination in all its guises. We stand united against hatred and injustice in any form.

“Our motion welcomes the progress that has been made in Stevenage over a number of years to build community cohesion and strengthen the voice of those who are marginalised, but recognises that there is more we can and must do.

“Our motto rings true now more than ever: the heart of a town lies in its people. We will continue to put all of our people at the heart of what we do.”


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