Anti-racism motion calls for council pledge

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An anti-racism motion goes before Argyll and Bute Council today (September 24) to ‘put into words’ the area’s pledge to welcome all.

The motion is being forwarded by Oban councillor Kieron Green and seconded by fellow councillor Julie McKenzie asking the full council to pledge condemnation of all forms on intolerance.

The motion was worked on by the two councillors in conjunction with Black Lives Matter Oban and 846Solidarity, a hub created for concerned community members to learn about and act for anti-racism after the death in police custody of African-American George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25 this year.

Councillor Green said: ‘In recent times the discrimination that people have suffered because of race, both historically and in the present, has been highlighted. How communities interact with the police, health and COVID-19 inequalities, and the racism and xenophobia experienced by individuals in their day to day lives have become all too apparent at home and abroad. By working with Black Lives Matter Oban to bring forward a motion to the council, I am seeking for Argyll and Bute to be recognised as being a welcoming area for all and committed to tackling all forms of intolerance.’

Councillor McKenzie said: ‘We can and must do better to acknowledge and tackle the systemic injustices within society and it is important to recognise our communities are not immune to issues of racism, hate and intolerance. I have welcomed the opportunity to work alongside BLM Oban and my colleague Councillor Green to bring this motion to full council.’

The motion being presented to Argyll and Bute Council reads: ‘In recent years there has been a worrying reported rise in racism, xenophobia and hate crimes across the United Kingdom. Taking many forms, the impact this is having on people in their day-to-day lives and the inequalities faced have been highlighted by groups such as Black Lives Matter.

‘Argyll and Bute Council is proud that communities in our area are tolerant and inclusive to people from all racial, ethnic and religious backgrounds, but also recognises that continuing work is still necessary to ensure that everyone feels welcomed and safe here.

‘As councillors we individually condemn racism, xenophobia, hate crime, and all other forms of intolerance; express our support to victims of these crimes and urge members of the public to report incidents and barriers in reporting.

‘Furthermore we agree that Argyll and Bute Council will continue to promote initiatives to tackle hate crime and prejudice in our schools, online and within our communities; commit to working with all our partners, including the Scottish Government and
Police Scotland, to ensure that divisive and discriminatory behaviour is not allowed to
continue in our area, and be  supportive of groups and individuals that are seeking to address these issues through respectful and constructive dialogue.’