The council is standing with Warrington’s black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities by lighting up the Town Hall purple, and flying the flag at half-mast, to support the Black Lives Matter movement today, Thursday 4 June.
Black Lives Matter is a global campaign against violence and systemic racism towards black and ethnic minority people. It has been the driving force behind protests taking place across the world following the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.
There has been worldwide outrage after a video showing the officer kneeling on Mr Floyd’s neck went viral. For the past week, protests have been held in several cities across the globe.
Cllr Hitesh Patel, Cabinet member responsible for equalities, said: “We can’t be an inclusive society if we stay silent when we see these injustices. If you are neutral in these situations, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If you remain silent when you see these heart-breaking injustices, you are compliant.
“At a time when the world should be coming together to overcome coronavirus, the disturbing issue of institutionalised racism and violence against black people has reared its ugly head and split our global family.”
Leader of the Council, Cllr Russ Bowden, added: “Warrington is proud to be a safe, welcoming and diverse town where any form of discrimination or hate speech isn’t welcome. Our values have and always will be about diversity, inclusivity and tolerance, and it is everyone’s responsibility to take a stand against racism.
“I know many of us will feel helpless or not know how best to offer support. Visit the Black Lives Matters website to find out how you can share vital information and educational resources and sign petitions to show your support.
“We stand not just in memory of George Floyd, but all other black lives lost to brutality and racial injustice. To our black communities: I will never know the struggles you go through – but I see you, and I am with you.”
Warrington Ethnic Communities Association (WECA) secretary, Mo Hussain, said: “The ongoing protests in America may feel thousands of miles away, but they are asking for the fundamental right to live, be safe and be free. These are the simple requests that we as a global community should have a right to expect.
“Warrington has always been a town that tries to break down barriers, build social cohesion and unite communities while celebrating our diversity.
“We will always stand in solidarity with those who feel they have no other choice other than to protest peacefully and fight for a more equal place in the world.”
To find out more about Black Lives Matter, visit blacklivesmatter.com