Cabinet Member for Women and Equalities, Councillor Marsie Skeete, said:
“Today marks a year since the brutal murder of George Floyd. This tragic event marked a turning point and a determination that past inequalities would not go unchallenged in the future.
“The distressing footage of George Floyd’s murder sparked global outage at the injustice; thousands grieved, protests took place, important conversations began and the #BlackLivesMatter movement was brought into the foreground on an international scale.
“We know how much of an impact George Floyd’s murder had on communities not only across Merton, but nationally and that this grief and horror was felt especially by members of our Black, Asian and other ethnic minority communities.
“Sadly, the disproportionate impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on Black, Asian and ethnic minority communities, has also further highlighted the changes that need to be made within society to address racial inequality.
“We want to let our residents and our staff know that we are committed to standing as an anti-racist organisation. We have been working throughout the pandemic to ensure our hate crime support services have been available throughout, and have been working closely with our partners to ensure voices are heard and that we can support and investigate all forms of hate crime reported.
“We’ve worked to make reporting hate crimes more accessible, enlisting local groups and partners as third-party reporting services. This means that residents who may not want to speak to the police can speak confidentially with local community groups they know and trust. Please see our third party reporting groups and hate crime support services here: merton.gov.uk/communities-and-neighbourhoods/crime-prevention-and-community-safety/hate-crime
“Just as importantly, we have looked at ourselves as an organisation. We want to ensure all of our staff feel heard and to make sure we are held to account in taking an anti-racist stance.
“We re-established our Racial Equality Network (REN), formally known as BAME Forum. New Co-chairs were appointed and we have committed to tackling and addressing the inequalities that are often faced by our staff. This is something we are continuing to work on internally.
“This anniversary marks a point in time where we have all looked at ourselves to question how we can truly be anti-racist. This past year has been a journey for us in ensuring we become better allies. #BlackLivesMatter today and every day.”