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Black Lives Matter

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Black Lives matter

Supporting the Black Lives Matter movement is nothing more than words unless we address the systemic racism that affects people of colour, including in the context of Covid-19.

The recent government-commissioned Public Health England (PHE) investigation found that people of Bangladeshi background in England are twice as likely as white Britons to die if they contract Covid-19, and other BAME groups face an increased risk of up to 50%. [1] Unfortunately the PHE fails to explain the higher death rate or reasons for health inequalities across different communities and, more crucially, makes no recommendations to tackle them.

The recent tragic events in America have made all of us more aware of the need to use our voices to tackle institutionalised racism here at home. British people have demonstrated courage and solidarity in the face of Covid-19 by establishing mutual aid groups to support local communities. This solidarity must be genuinely inclusive of all.

In supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, we show our determination to make sure that no one in our community is discriminated against in any way. This is precisely the spirit we need to build back better from the crisis. We can’t go back to the “business as usual” that created such huge safety and health inequalities in our society.

The Green Party Councillors on Stroud District Council and Gloucestershire County Council are supporting calls for an independent public inquiry into the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people [2]. Such an inquiry must examine why the virus has a greater impact on these communities, set out what can be done to stop it. It should also include a review of government policies that have led to health inequalities and a hostile environment that penalises immigrants and BAME communities.

We also call for an assurance from Government that the UK will support Covid-19 treatments and vaccines to be made available without profit to poor countries, as demanded by the WHO, rather than to boost monopoly profits of the big pharmaceutical companies.

Cllr Martin Baxendale (Stroud Valley)

Cllr Catherine Braun (Wotton Under Edge)

Cllr Jim Dewey (Coaley and Uley)

Cllr Jonathan Edmunds (Randwick, Whiteshill and Ruscombe)

Cllr Norman Kay (Nailsworth)

Cllr John Marjoram (Stroud Trinity)

Cllr Karen McKeown (Rodborough)

Cllr Simon Pickering (Stroud Slade)

Cllr Rachel Smith (GCC Minchinhampton)

Cllr Eva Ward (GCC Central)

Cllr Martin Whiteside (Thrupp)

ENDS

Notes

1 https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jun/02/covid-19-death-rate-in-england-higher-among-bame-people

2 https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/coronavirus-boris-johnson-public-inquiry-ethnic-minorities-bame-a9506596.html

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