‘This is a time for listening’ to BAME community – say Welwyn Hatfield and Hertsmere leaders

PUBLISHED: 15:37 12 June 2020 | UPDATED: 15:37 12 June 2020

Welwyn Hatfield leader Cllr Tony Kingsbury and Hertsmere leader Cllr Morris Bright. Picture: WHBC/HBC

Welwyn Hatfield leader Cllr Tony Kingsbury and Hertsmere leader Cllr Morris Bright. Picture: WHBC/HBC

Archant

The leader of Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council has said it is time to listen to the BAME community.

Cllr Tony Kingsbury joined all borough, county, police and district leaders, across Hertfordshire, in support of Black Lives Matter.

He said: “This is a time for listening to our BAME communities and understanding how we can all effect real and permanent change.”

Joining the call, Hertsmere Borough Council leader Cllr Morris Bright, explained: “The killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the events that have followed have reminded us all once again that we cannot and should not tolerate racism in any form or from any person.

“As a borough council representing the second most diverse population in Hertfordshire, we have an important and continuing role to play in challenging inequality and, I want to stress, we have a proud tradition of embracing and celebrating diversity.

“We also have well-established working relationships with the police and a whole host of other agencies and groups, including the Forum of Faiths, so that the perspectives and needs of our communities are understood and are central to everything we do. But there is always more that everyone can and must do and that includes our council.

“I shall be consulting with the leaders of both opposition parties in our borough to put forward a cross-party motion to our full council meeting in July.

“That motion will further set out our stance as an authority in terms of playing our part in eradicating discrimination within our communities and promoting tolerance and understanding.”

Outside of councils, University of Hertfordshire vice-chancellor Quintin McKellar has said that the Hatfield-based institution remains committed to addressing it academic attainment disparities between BAME and white students.

Mr Mckellar said: “Racism has no place at our University. For any member of staff or student who has experienced it, I want to tell you that it is not acceptable, we will not stand for it and that you are not alone. We must address this issue together.

“It isn’t until you walk in someone’s shoes that you can truly appreciate their experiences. But it is only by having an open dialogue that we can educate and stand up as allies for one another.

“What I can do is to listen to our black students and staff and give them a platform. This will allow us to work side by side to create a framework and a system here at Herts that gives everyone, no matter who they are, opportunity and a fair future.

“Our vision as a University is that whatever your background, wherever you are from, higher education can be a transformational experience.”


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