North Lanarkshire councillors back motion to support Black Lives Matter

Councillors have unanimously endorsed a motion supporting the Black Lives Matter movement

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The motion was put before a meeting of the council on Friday 14 August 2020 by councillors Paul Kelly and Junaid Ashraf.

It's believed that North Lanarkshire Council is one of the first local authorities in the UK to have formally adopted backing for the movement.

A working group - made up of councillors from all elected political parties in North Lanarkshire - will now be set up to tackle all forms of racial injustice across the area.

Protests took place across the world this year after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. A video went viral of a police officer kneeling on his neck and back as he pleaded for his life.

The approved council motion states:  "The council recognises the objectives of the Black Lives Matter movement; further understands the racial tensions which have been heightened - and brought sharply into focus - by the horrific death of George Floyd in the United States, resulting in the protests across the world."

Councillor Paul Kelly, Depute Leader of North Lanarkshire Council, said: "We all watched in shock and disgust the horrific death of George Floyd in the United States which resulted in protests worldwide and it is disappointing as a society that such incidents are required to bring into sharp focus the racial tensions in the world.

"Although there has been significant efforts to end discrimination in the UK, Scotland and North Lanarkshire I think we must be honest, they have often been inadequate. It should not take incidents like the death of George Floyd to make world take notice of racial injustice and discrimination, this should be the focus of all governments at all times until we live in a world of true equality and free of racism.

"For our part in North Lanarkshire I am pleased that rather than just state that we support the objectives of the Black Lives Matter movement, we are going further and taking a very significant step forward by the council to take action to tackle all forms of racism."

Councillor Junaid Ashraf added: "This is truly the proudest moment of my political career. With the passing of this joint Labour/SNP motion to endorse the Black Lives Matter movement, North Lanarkshire Council has the ability to be at the forefront of the most progressive change for race equality within Scotland.

"Now more than ever, real change rather than tweets and empty words are required. North Lanarkshire is leading Scotland in race equality and I cannot wait for us all to make a success of these new proposals."

The motion also reaffirmed the council's stance that there is no place for racism and that further action must be taken to eliminate racial injustice and discrimination in Scotland, but acknowledges that efforts to end discrimination have been inadequate and many residents of North Lanarkshire continue to suffer racism and racial inequality on a daily basis.

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