The following motion was passed at a meeting of Hackney Council last night, proposed by Labour councillors:
Hackney Council recognises the systemic racism and inequalities that still exist in the UK today, and that the murder of George Floyd on 25th May in Minneapolis, at the hand of the Police, resonated with Black communities in Hackney.
Hackney Council stands in solidarity with Black communities in Hackney, the UK, and across the world who face systemic racism every day.
Hackney Council states unequivocally that Black Lives Matter.
Hackney Council notes that Black people are almost 10 times more likely to be stopped and searched according to the government’s own statistics and 40 times more likely under Section 60 powers.
At the same time, the use of handcuffs by the Police has increased across the Met and by 158% in Hackney over the last three years.
According to a 2018 study by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, 35.7 percent of ethnic minorities in the UK were living in poverty.
Black Caribbean and Mixed White/Black Caribbean children have rates of permanent exclusion about three times that of the pupil population as a whole.
That a recent Public Health England report found that the Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 ? people from Black, Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Indian backgrounds were all up to (1.9x) twice as likely to die from coronavirus compared to white people.
Hackney Council acknowledges that while it has a good track record of fighting for equality, it can always do more. This track record includes:
# The recently created Inclusive Leadership Training to improve diversity in the workplace, especially at senior levels of the organisation, tackle unconscious bias and to report the council’s ethnicity pay gap.
# Launching the review of public spaces that glorify historic figures that were pinnacle to the Transatlantic slave trade and plantation owners.
# Continuing the Young Black Men programme ? a ground-breaking 10-year long initiative aiming to tackle inequalities for young Black men in the borough.
# Supporting the work of Hackney’s Youth Independent Advisory Group (Account) in holding the local police to account.
# Annual programme of events for Black History Month, including last year’s record-breaking attendance for the Hackney Museum’s exhibition.
# Champion and campaign against the injustices faced by the Windrush generation.
# Achieving an ‘excellent’ rating through the Local Government Equality Framework peer challenge.
Hackney Council believes the early progress made by the Police on implementing the Macpherson recommendations 20 years ago have been seriously marred, and measures to transform the attitude of the Police towards race relations and improve accountability have not gone far enough.
Hackney Council commits to being an anti-racist organisation – one that does not just tackle inequality, but actively fights racism in the borough.
Hackney Council resolves to:
- Publish its anti-racism programme of work from across council service in one publicly available report, and ask it’s partners and anchor institutions to pledge their commitment to anti-racism in the borough.
- Further strengthen the partnership between the Council and youth representatives to hold the local Police to account such as the Youth IAG (Account), work with them to take forward the recommendations of the Hackney Young Futures Commission and campaign for policing by consent.
- Provide guidance and tools to Hackney’s schools to create a diverse and anti-racist curriculumn that educates children and young people on Britain’s role in upholding sytemic racism, and our borough’s local diverse history.
- Better reflect Hackney’s diversity and anti-racist history in the borough’s public realm.
- Improve the diversity of the senior leadership of the Council, building on the Inclusive Leadership Training, and maintain the ‘excellent’ rating in future Local Government Equality Framework peer challenges and work with partners to improve diversity across the public sector.
- Lobby for an independent inquiry into the Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and whether their actions helped or hindered the protection of Hackney’s Black communities.
- Engage with any future Government commission on racism in the UK, but also resolve to lobby the Government to implement outstanding recommendations in: the Lammy Review (2017), the Dame Angiolini Report (2017), the Windrush Lessons Learned Review (2018), the McGregor-Smith Review (2017) and the Macpherson report (1999).
- Acknowledge the UN resolution 68/237 International Decade for People of African Descent, implement initiatives and activities to raise awareness, educate on the history of people of African descent, and promote their contributions to contemporary societies.
The Proposer was Cllr Sade Etti and the Seconder was Cllr Susan Fajana-Thomas.
Cllr Sade Etti
Cllr Etti, Hackney’s No Place for Hate Champion, said:
“This Motion sets out ambitious plans for Hackney to demonstrate and further progress its commitments as an anti-racist council. I was pleased by the response to the Motion and I hope residents feel empowered by it.
However, it’s important that these aren’t just words – there is a lot of work or us to do collectively as a borough, and I look forward to seeing the progress the Motion makes.”
Cllr Susan Fajana-Thomas
Cllr Susan Fajana-Thomas said:
“A huge thanks to everyone that have taken part in BLM protests, took the knee or joined in various other events in the last 2 months. The BLM protests that started in Minneapolis has revealed some of the bitter truth in our history here in the UK and forced us and people around the world to look deeper into issues of discrimination and racism.
Therefore, we are putting this motion forward this evening colleagues. This motion is asking the council and Members as individual to go beyond taking the knee or joining protests but to push things forward to policies that will bring about meaningful change.
Black Lives Matter Movement at the end of the day is about HUMAN RIGHT, it’s about respect, protection and fulfilment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms as recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which is incorporated in UK law by the Human Rights Act.
This is the freedom we are asking for as Black people, People of African Descent, being able to live a life of joy without having to worry:
• Worry about what is going to happen to me at work because I’m a Black
• Worry about my loud voice not to be taken for aggression.
• Worry about our children under achieving in school because of
inequalities and racial discrimination.
• Worry when our young men walk to the shop for fear of being mistaken
for a shoplifter or someone looking to pick pockets.
• Worry when my son wears a hoodie, that he’s not seen as a drug dealer
or called the ‘coolest monkey in the jungle’.
• Worry as a mother that my son’s dressing is an invitation to being
• Worry because my son wanted to buy a car with tinted windows, and
I’m worried he’s looking for police trouble and that he will be stopped
and search all the times.
Colleagues, by supporting this motion, together we can make Hackney a better place.”
Cllr Carole Williams
Cllr Carole Williams, Cabinet Member for employment, skills, HR and equalities, commented:
“Hackney Council has a robust track record on fighting racism, but we still have a lot to do. This Motion sets out some challenging goals that Hackney Council must address if residents are to have confidence that we understand systemic racism, the ways in which their lives are affected by it, and that the Council is serious about being an anti-racist organisation.
“It is no longer enough for the Council to tackle inequalities – it must be actively anti-racist. This Motion sets out steps to help us achieve that. “
The Hackney Citizen reported that:
“A review was also recently launched by the Town Hall into public spaces and statues that glorify Britain’s colonial past and the slave trade, with Hackney also the first council in the UK to pass a motion pledging to oppose the criminalisation of Windrush families and press the government for a public enquiry.
“Under the terms of the motion, the council would also lobby the government to implement any outstanding recommendations from the 2017 Lammy Review into the treatment of and outcomes for Black, Asian and minority ethnic individuals in the criminal justice system, the 2017 Dame Angiolini Report into deaths and serious incidents in police custody, the 2018 Lessons Learned review following the Windrush scandal, the 2017 McGregor-Smith Review on race in the workplace and the 1999 Macpherson report highlighting systemic racism in the police.
“The motion also highlights the fact that Black people are almost 10 times more likely to be stopped and searched and 40 times more likely under Section 60 powers, with the use of handcuffs by the police increasing by 158 per cent in Hackney over the last three years.
“According to a 2018 study by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, 35.7 percent of ethnic minorities in the UK were living in poverty …”
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23 July 2020