Kingston Council reaffirms its support for the Black Lives Matter Campaign, and its commitment to equality and diversity

Kingston Council has passed a motion that reaffirms its support for the Black Lives Matter campaign, and its commitment to equality and diversity.

Kingston Council has passed a motion that reaffirms its support for the Black Lives Matter campaign, and its commitment to equality and diversity.

The motion makes clear the council’s belief that we are all equal, regardless of skin colour, culture or faith and that we should call out discrimination and racism. Racism or discrimination of any kind has no place in society. 

The motion was proposed at a Full Council meeting on 7 July by the Leader of the Council, Cllr Caroline Kerr, and supported by Cllr Thay Thayalan.

The motion also sets out several actions the council will take in future, which include:

  1. Lobby the Government for immediate action to implement the recommendations in the report on the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on BAME people.

  2. Give support to the Black Lives Matter campaign and continue to celebrate our diversity, listen to our communities and work with minority groups to make space for conversations and thinking to take place that can shape our borough going forward.

  3. Work with our local police force to ensure that stop and search incidents are not based on racial characteristics.

  4. Work with BAME staff across the council and through the BAME staff network to actively listen to them about their experiences, and start shaping ideas on what needs to change and improve.

  5. Work with our local communities and organisations to review the appropriateness of existing artefacts (statues, plaques, street signs, etc.) on public land in the 21st century.

  6. Work with the Kingston Race and Equalities Council to facilitate events, such as Black History Month celebrations in October, and virtual debates with guest speakers.

  7. Demonstrate our progress on the issue of race equality by working with the Runnymede Trust to produce another assessment of the Race Equality Scorecard for Kingston, last produced in 2017, asking them to further assist us in understanding the divergence of equality amongst our community groups.

As the council’s BAME champion, Cllr Thay Thayalan said: 

“Kingston Council has taken an important step in recognising that more needs to be done to tackle racism and inequality. This motion recognises the steps the council has already taken but demands that we do more and continue to have meaningful conversations with minority groups from across the borough.

We need to work more closely with community partners and the police, building closer relationships to better understand the residents we serve, and help tackle any underlying issues of bias or inequality that exist. 

We have reaffirmed our commitment to developing a multicultural vision for Kingston that reflects the diversity and vibrancy of our borough. We are committed to making our town centres places that serve the needs and celebrate the contributions of all our communities. As part of the Mayor of London's commission to review the public realm we value the opportunity to work alongside other boroughs to improve diversity across the capital.

We are proud of being a community where diversity is valued and celebrated. We recognise there is a distance to go to have equal opportunities for all.”

Following the approval of the motion, Cllr Caroline Kerr, Leader of Kingston Council said:

“The council is committed to building a borough that welcomes everyone. We want all of Kingston’s residents to have access to the same opportunities to live, learn, work and enjoy the borough, regardless of their background. 

Tackling the causes of racism and discrimination is a difficult task. We are committed to looking critically at our own practices and listening to the communities that are affected. 

Ending racism requires all of us to work together. Everyone who raises their voice against racism helps to chip away at its power.”