Luton Council To Outline Substantive Commitments For Improving Black Lives

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A new network of Black community activists and leaders in Luton have welcomed the Council’s intent to discuss policy which could greatly impact the lives of those of African heritage within the Town.

The ‘Better Together Network’ which was founded with the aim of expressing concerns over long-standing inequalities, will have their binding policy motion debated on 19th January.

The motion focuses on 10 key actions among which include the recognition of culturally historic dates, monitoring of the proportion of black staff within Luton Council, and working with Luton Airport on minimum representative employment aspirations. In addition, the council would work with the Black community to promote access to employability, enterprise and training for young Black people.

The motion will also see the Council press the Government to act on a range of important national reviews, from Macpherson to the Windrush scandal.

The recommendations in the motion were drawn together after additional consultation with young black professionals and mentees.

The summer had seen Luton’s council acknowledge the significance of Windrush Day by raising the Windrush flag on 22 June. This was to celebrate the significant contribution and sacrifice they had made in rebuilding Britain post the second world war.

What’s clear is that beyond past recognitions, the motion aims to deepen the involvement and opportunities afforded to Lutonian’s of African heritage moving forward.

Rev. Dr. Trevor Adams of the Better Together Network commented on what he believed to be a ‘significant first step’, he said:

“If passed, this Motion will be a significant first step towards addressing the inclusivity and equity issue for the Black Community. We are under no illusion that years of exclusion and marginalisation will be eradicated. The most important thing, however, is that it now gives our economic, employability and educational needs visibility.”

Fellow group member Alexzina Brooks applauded the council’s responsiveness and described the news as a “step in the right direction to tackle systemic racism that the black community face”

Local businessman Michael Nanton-Knight, who joined discussions with the Council, sees the motion as being a symbolic piece of legislation that will safeguard the black community’s opportunities and visibility “for generations to come”.

Amii Evlyn Bonner, Pastor Vincent Cox and African-Caribbean Community Development Forum (ACCDF) Co-founder Lorna Markland all offered similarly positive responses to the news.

It marks a victory for not only the African community in Luton, but also the Christian community who have played a pivotal role in the composition of the motion.

Last year we reported on Hackney council’s Black Lives Matter Motion which outlined the steps it would take to address racial inequalities. As with Hackney, the news from Luton may act to positively encourage African communities, wider minority communities and even faith communities elsewhere to challenge elected council members to do more to help their cause.

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