Progressive Brighton Pledges to Become Britain’s First ‘Anti-Racist’ City

Protesters hold up placards as they march along the seafront in support of the Black Lives Matter movement at a protest action in Brighton, on the south coast of England on June 13, 2020, in the aftermath of the death of unarmed black man George Floyd in police custody in …
JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images

The council for the progressive British beach city of Brighton announced its intentions of becoming the first official ‘anti-racist’ city in the United Kingdom, amid increasing pressure from Black Lives Matter activists.

The Brighton and Hove City Council pledged to become an anti-racist authority, following over 10,000 BLM protesters taking to the streets of the city last month alone.

The council was also responding to an online petition, according to The Argus, started by the ‘Watch This Sp_ce’ group, which called on the city to “drive inclusion in our city, embrace cultural diversity and encourage equity of opportunity, our community must work together to be actively anti-racist”.

The petition — which has received over 1,700 signatures so far — demanded that the council hire more ‘People of Colour’ in the education system in order to ensure a “safe, anti-racist, non-hostile environment is created for children, families, and staff”.

“Brighton schools should have anti-racism, history of POC, British imperialism, and colonialism taught at a significant level throughout the school curriculum across all year groups,” the petition went on.

The group also demanded that the council cease all business ties with companies that have not committed to being anti-racist or have failed to employ an ethnic minority in a full-time position.

In response to the pressure, local Councillor Carmen Appich, the chairwoman of the city’s tourism, equality, communities, and culture committee, told The Argus that the authority will take measures to become anti-racist. However, she did not clarify what steps they will set in place.

“We will continue to listen and learn, enable ignored voices to be heard, remove barriers, and ensure opportunities are open to all, so people can live their lives free from discrimination and harm,” Appich said.

“We will launch a new resource area on the council website where you will be able to access information, advice, follow our progress, find out how to get involved and hold us to account. Your ward councillors will also welcome any queries and concerns you may have,” she added.

A spokesman for the authority said since June, the council has implemented several measures under its new “anti-racism strategy”, including “launching a new fund for black and ethnic minority (BME) groups in the city, tackling racism and bias in schools, celebrating the legacies that reflect the city’s values and continuing to work with the council’s BME Worker’s Forum to deliver a plan to be a more inclusive employer”.

On Saturday, thousands of demonstrators flooded onto the streets of Brighton carrying placards saying, “decolonise everything” and “defund the police”, while chanting together “It is our duty to do this every day”.

Brighton has long been one of the UK’s most progressive cities, hosting the largest annual LGBT Pride Parade in the country. The city’s parade was cancelled in May, out of fears of spreading the Chinese coronavirus, something that has not stopped thousands gathering during Black Lives Matter mass gatherings, which are still illegal under the lockdown rules.

Councillor Appich said that the protests are “a powerful demonstration and affirmation of the city’s values of inclusivity and desire for us to become an anti-racist city”.

Follow Kurt on Twitter at @KurtZindulka


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