Opinion: We must stand together in solidarity

PUBLISHED: 08:30 27 June 2020

Council leader Darren Rodwell wants action against racism.

Council leader Darren Rodwell wants action against racism.


I often say that in Barking and Dagenham we are one borough, one community – but that is only true when we stand together in solidarity with those facing discrimination.

Like many of you, I have been deeply troubled by the murder of George Floyd in Minnesota. It has reminded us all of the racism and discrimination experienced by black and ethnic minority communities.

It is important we listen and learn from those speaking out. Racism has no place in Barking and Dagenham. That’s why we saw off the BNP 10 years ago.

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In the immediate aftermath of these terrible events, we lit up the Town Hall in purple as a mark of respect to George Floyd. And last week, we welcomed the Black Lives Matter movement to Barking Town Centre for a peaceful march.

Over 150 mostly young people gathered together in the Town Square at a social distance - proving that you can stand up for what is right in a safe and respectful manner.

We have taken a number of steps locally to promote equality. We mark Black History Month every year, celebrate Windrush Day on June 22 and through our ‘donate a flag’ scheme, provide a space for our communities to celebrate important occasions, whether it is St George’s Day or a day of independence.

We were quick to write to the prime minister back in 2018 to express our concern at the government’s treatment of the Windrush generation and their families under the Home Office’s ‘hostile environment’ policy.

Now is not the time for more reviews, but actions.

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