Credit: James Eades via Unsplash

North Lanarkshire Council unanimously supports Black Lives Matter

By Ross McCool

The motion has been put forward by deputy council leader Paul Kelly and University of Glasgow Rector candidate Junaid Ashraf.

Councillors in the Glasgow suburb of North Lanarkshire have passed a unanimous decision to support the Black Lives Matter movement and review the process of decolonising education. 

This joint Labour and SNP motion was introduced by deputy council leader Paul Kelly and seconded by Junaid Ashraf: SNP Equalities Officer councillor, University of Glasgow graduate, and candidate for Rector.

A working group composed of members from all parties will now focus on tackling racial injustice within the local area. This will include the use of reviewing historical symbols within North Lanarkshire and forwarding suggestions to the local authority and discussions on tackling racism locally.

The councillors were inspired by the killing of George Floyd in late May which sparked protests throughout the United States and globally, which continue to demand justice and highlight racial inequality.

The motion states that: “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 protests across the world.”

On the issue, Junaid Ashraf, said: “Acknowledging the wrongs of the past caused by our nation and the British Empire is the very least we can do. We cannot change history but we have to teach the past atrocities we have committed as a nation and recognise the effects that are still impacting us all today. North Lanarkshire Council through adopting this motion has agreed unanimously to review all statues, historical symbols, buildings, and schools to properly understand their context as well as create an ethnic minority working group to engage with leading local BAME organisations on how we as a local authority can be more inclusive.”

Mr Ashraf continued: “I believe this is the greatest step in pushing forward action to tackle racial injustice in Scotland and there has been significant interest from other local authorities since this has passed. It takes real courage to bring forward a motion such as this, to take a hard look at ourselves and question if we are being inclusive of everyone. I very much hope other local authorities follow us in taking this step and follow through on the actions we will be setting out to achieve.”

North Lanarkshire joins Aberdeen and Hackney councils voting to support Black Lives Matter.


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