Addressing ‘historic challenges’ faced by British BAME communities backed by Hertsmere

Hertsmere Borough Council has passed a motion that was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement.

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

A cross-party Black Lives Matter motion by the Labour and Conservative parties, with support from the Lib Dems, has been unanimously agreed and passed by Hertsmere Borough Council.

On a Wednesday meeting of the full council (July 15), Hertsmere Labour leader Cllr Jeremy Newmark called for the borough to unreservedly stand with the BAME community, who faced historical challenges, which was seconded by Black Conservative councillor Victor Eni.

Cllr Newmark, who is Jewish, said: “I’ve been involved in fighting racism and fascism long enough to know when people attack an anti-racist slogan this is the thin edge of the wedge.

“To those who flag the concern that Black Lives Matter is anti-semetic please don’t try to establish some kind of hierarchy of oppressions.”

But he did acknowledge some BLM activists had made unfortunate comments about Jewish people that did not make up the wider anti-racism community and these views should be disregarded.

“Just because some of the messages are flawed doesn’t devalue the message.”

Cllr Eni joined the call, saying: “It was up to all of us to root it out.”

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He said discrimination can be “unpleasant and un-appetising” when people tell those from the BAME community to go back home.

The Lib Dems also joined the call with Cllr Andrew Melville saying that he hopes everyone joins in to make it unanimous.

Conservative councillor Pervez Choudhury said this council was not made up of “old white men” but many different ethnicities and this was reflected by the motion.

Hertsmere will now hold a ‘listening event’ seeking the views of BAME communities, ask the policy review committee to consider the Public Health England report on COVID-19 disproportionately affecting minorities, ask the COVID-19 Recovery Group to consider structural inequality and update its equalities policy.

Welwyn Hatfield and Hertsmere Borough Council leaders, county, police and district leaders, across Hertfordshire, have already voiced support for Black Lives Matter after the death of an unarmed black man – George Flloyd – was caused by a white cop in the US kneeling on Mr Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds in May.

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