Following George Floyd’s death by a policeman in Minneapolis there were widespread protests under the ‘Black lives Matter’ movement across the world. This included peaceful demonstrations in Cambridge.
At the Council meeting on 16 July 2020, councillors expressed their unanimous solidarity with Black Lives Matter. At the same meeting, the council committed to undertaking actions tackling structural inequality and discrimination.
The full text of the motion is below:
Black Lives Matter: Composite joint motion for Full Council
- Proposed by Cllr Thittala
- Seconded by Cllr Porrer
- On May 25th 2020 George Floyd was killed by a Policeman in Minneapolis. His death provoked widespread protests under the ‘Black lives Matter’ movement across the world, fuelling a desire to tackle systemic racism, including peaceful demonstrations in Cambridge.
- The Home Office report in December 2018 identified that 26% of instances of police using firearms in the UK are against black people, despite black people making up only 3.3% of the population. 51% of young men in custody in the UK are from black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds, despite these groups making up only 14% of the UK population.
- The 2017 Lammy Report, which concluded that “BAME individuals still face bias, including overt discrimination, in parts of the justice system”.
- Data from Stop Watch, which shows that in 2018/2019 Cambridgeshire Police subjected black people to stop and search at a rate 6 times higher than white people.
Cambridge City Council expresses its solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and believes:
- Racism in all forms, both structural and individual, continues to be a serious problem throughout the UK, including in Cambridge.
- Although progress has been made in combatting racism, much more work is needed to eradicate it entirely.
- This Council welcomes our duty as a public leader to actively spearhead that work locally.
Council resolves to meet the challenge head on with immediate action to:
Request from the Director of Public Health a report on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on BAME communities in Cambridge by the end of 2020, to be reviewed in the Environment and Community scrutiny committee, and shared with BAME community representatives.
Request that the Leader of the Council will write to the Prime Minster and seek written confirmation of the measures which are being put in place nationally to ensure that the BAME community are not disproportionately affected as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Whilst noting the progress made previously, requests that the City Council reviews the Single Equality Scheme, prior to a reaffirmation of the scheme with particular and specific reference to the employment, recruitment and retention of staff with particular emphasis on enhancing consultation and representation of BAME staff.
Require all Councillors to attend a briefing on Equality and Diversity during the first year of their term, to better understand their duties relating to the Public Sector Equality Duty, Equality Impact assessments and also to be updated on key areas that the Council is currently working on.
Work with partners across the city including the County Council and Combined Authority to produce a toolkit for businesses to help broaden their understanding of race inequality in the workplace, including but not limited to materials, signposts to relevant local groups and training that can be provided for staff, and links to relevant networks.
Ask the Police & Crime Commissioner to report to the Police and Crime panel on the measures which have been put in place to eliminate the disproportionality of BAME people affected by the use of stop and search powers seen locally and nationally and how often are these measures are reviewed; and to provide a regular report as to initiatives and progress.
Whilst recognising the established dialogue between existing local BAME community groups such as the Cambridge Ethnic Community Forum, for the City Council, and other local public service organisations to review their own involvement, and to encourage enhanced comment and feedback on further areas for improvement within our control. This work to be initiated by the end of September 2020 with a report to the relevant Committees by May 2021. [Note that this report will now go to the Environment and Communities Scrutiny Committee in June/July 2021.]
Welcome the work already being undertaken by our partners in the Cambridge Food Poverty Alliance to ensure that the food provided meets the needs of all those using the food hubs or receiving meals, including those with specific religious, health or cultural requirements, and note that this prioritises talking to the recipients themselves about their needs. In addition, council commits to exploring ways in which this commitment can be advertised amongst all communities in the City, to ensure that they know they can request food confidently knowing it will meet their needs.