Nine ways to take action against racial inequality in Northamptonshire, according to social justice group

"These are our suggestions - they are neither comprehensive, others may wish to add to them, nor 'written in tablets of stone'."

A plan on how to take action against racial inequality in Northamptonshire has been formed in response to the Black Lives Matter movement.

The Northamptonshire Rights and Equality Council's (NREC) nine recommendations include ways the police, councils, businesses, schools, the NHS and the general can support the cause.

A statement from the group said: "We live in unprecedented times: a global pandemic, economic depression, global environmental challenges and, in the last few weeks, sparked off by the Black Lives Matters movement in the US, a resurgence of protests in the UK against racism and our contested history of involvement with slavery, colonialism and Empire.

Protesters at the Black Lives Matter demonstration in Northampton town centre on June 3. Photo: Leila Coker

"Flowing from the latter, there are growing demands for us all to take action against racial inequality and injustice – not just to express verbal or other forms of support through street protests or the issuing of statements."

The first point in the plan by NREC, which campaigns for social justice in the county, is for everyone who benefits from white privilege to reflect on their attitudes and educate themselves on historical and systemic racism.

It adds: - All employers with more than 10 members of staff should be requested to undertake race equality audits of their employment practices and to address differences in representation of black and minority ethnic (BAME) people.

- All public bodies should commit to contributing significant financial support to an independent fund for long term projects and infrastructure for BAME communities.

- Numerous measures are suggested for Northamptonshire Police and Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, involving 'stop and search', Tasers, and how police officers accused of causing serious harm are dealt with.

- An independent review on how hate crime incidents in Northamptonshire are dealt with by statutory and voluntary organisations.

- An audit of all monuments, public works of art, names of buildings/rooms, and street names that may be linked to slavery with a view to either removing them or replacing them with things which reflect contemporary values.

- Decolonising and removing racist assumptions from the curriculum in schools as well as acknowledging racism role in Britain's history.

- The NHS and care sector in Northamptonshire should commit to setting targets to reduce health inequalities for BAME communities and staff.

- Shadow councils in Northamptonshire should commit to adopting new policies to advance racial equality.

"These are our suggestions - they are neither comprehensive, others may wish to add to them, nor 'written in tablets of stone'," the NREC statement said.

"We hope nonetheless that they will prompt discussion and debate but also lead on to the actions proposed."

The group believes it is important these issues are explored in greater depth in a spirit of trying to find solutions to the racism and inequalities that exist today.

"If you do not think there is a problem at all and are not prepared to re-examine your views and ideas, then it is unlikely that dialogue with us will be very productive," the statement added.

"If however, you are prepared to engage with us in a spirit of openness and respect, then we will be very pleased to engage – and hopefully engage in action together."

To read the full plan, click here.