A Sefton councillor is calling out “institutionalised racism” and asking people to explore and celebrate black history.
Cllr Robert Brennan sits on Sefton ’s hate crime group, and says incidents of racism have become “even more overt” over recent years.
In a powerful statement, the Labour councillor said: “2020 has held a mirror up to the world and forced many to see the reality of racism in all its guises.
“From black people dying disproportionately in the pandemic, to the horrific murder in the USA of George Floyd and no justice for Breonna Taylor.
“In the UK, the scale and impact of institutionalised racism has been laid bare, with young black men stopped and searched 20,000 times in London during the coronavirus lockdown (the equivalent of 1 in 4 young black men).”
Cllr Brennan has been involved in establishing several BAME associations and forums including Equal Voices, a network which ensures black and ethnic minorities are part of consultation and decision-making processes within Sefton.
He continued: “#BlackLivesMatter protests around the world sparked a commitment among many individuals and organisations to educate themselves about black history, heritage and culture – as part of understanding racism and standing in solidarity against it.
“If that commitment is to transcend beyond social media into real change, everyone, from all communities, needs to embrace Black History Month as a starting point for exploring, discovering and celebrating black history, heritage and culture – both past and contemporary.
“Black History Month is a time to shine a light on our shared British history and tell the whole story honestly and truthfully, to decolonise and reclaim history, and tell stories from the perspective of all people – not just the rich white men in power.
“We need to support black-led heritage organisations and professionals; making national and local institutions much more accessible and representative; and empowering communities to define and share what Black history means to them.
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“Black History isn’t just a month to be ticked off a calendar dominated by a white-washed version of history – it is a time for people to come together and hopefully learn lessons for the present and the future.”
If you would like to find out more or get involved with projects or groups such as Equal Voices please email Robert.firstname.lastname@example.org
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