Council passes anti-racism motion: Hackney’s Black Lives Matter

Hackney Town Hall

Hackney Council has passed a motion, outlining the steps it will take to tackle racism, as it pledges: Hackney’s Black Lives Matter.

The motion was proposed by Cllr Sade Etti at last night’s Council meeting, and seconded by Cllr Susan Fajana-Thomas. 

It states:

Hackney Council commits to being an anti-racist organisation - one that does not just tackle inequality, but actively fights racism in the borough.

Hackney Council resolves to: 

  • Publish its anti-racism programme of work from across council service in one publicly available report, and ask it’s partners and anchor institutions to pledge their commitment to anti-racism in the borough.
  • Further strengthen the partnership between the Council and youth representatives to hold the local Police to account such as the Youth IAG (Account), work with them to take forward the recommendations of the Hackney Young Futures Commission and campaign for policing by consent.
  • Provide guidance and tools to Hackney’s schools to create a diverse and anti-racist curriculumn that educates children and young people on Britain’s role in upholding sytemic racism, and our borough’s local diverse history.
  • Better reflect Hackney’s diversity and anti-racist history in the borough’s public realm.
  • Improve the diversity of the senior leadership of the Council, building on the Inclusive Leadership Training, and maintain the ‘excellent’ rating in future Local Government Equality Framework peer challenges and work with partners to improve diversity across the public sector.
  • Lobby for an independent inquiry into the Government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and whether their actions helped or hindered the protection of Hackney’s Black communities.
  • Engage with any future Government commission on racism in the UK, but also resolve to lobby the Government to implement outstanding recommendations in: the Lammy Review (2017), the Dame Angiolini Report (2017), the Windrush Lessons Learned Review (2018), the McGregor-Smith Review (2017) and the Macpherson report (1999).
  • Acknowledge the UN resolution 68/237 International Decade for People of African Descent, implement initiatives and activities to raise awareness, educate on the history of people of African descent, and promote their contributions to contemporary societies.

The motion highlights ongoing commitments, and acknowledges that Black people are more likely to be stopped and searched by the police, that Black children have rates of permanent exclusion about three times that of the pupil population as a whole, and that a recent Public Health England report found that the Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

The motion states:

Hackney Council acknowledges that while it has a good track record of fighting for equality, it can always do more. This track record includes:

  • The recently created Inclusive Leadership Training to improve diversity in the workplace, especially at senior levels of the organisation, tackle unconscious bias and to report the Council’s ethnicity pay gap.
  • Launching the review of public spaces that glorify historic figures that were pinnacle to the Transatlantic slave trade and plantation owners.
  • Continuing the Young Black Men programme - a ground-breaking 10-year long initiative aiming to tackle inequalities for young Black men in the borough.
  • Supporting the work of Hackney’s Youth Independent Advisory Group (Account) in holding the local police to account.
  • Annual programme of events for Black History Month, including last year’s record-breaking attendance for the Hackney Museum’s exhibition.
  • Champion and campaign against the injustices faced by the Windrush generation.
  •  Achieving an ‘excellent’ rating through the Local Government Equality Framework peer challenge.
  • Hackney Council believes the early progress made by the Police on implementing the Macpherson recommendations 20 years ago have been seriously marred, and measures to transform the attitude of the Police towards race relations and improve accountability have not gone far enough.
This Motion sets out ambitious plans for Hackney to demonstrate and further progress its commitments as an anti-racist council. I was pleased by the response to the Motion and I hope residents feel empowered by it. However, it’s important that these aren’t just words - there is a lot of work or us to do collectively as a borough, and I look forward to seeing the progress the Motion makes.
Cllr Sade Etti
Hackney Council has a robust track record on fighting racism, but we still have a lot to do. This Motion sets out some challenging goals that Hackney Council must address if residents are to have confidence that we understand systemic racism, the ways in which their lives are affected by it, and that the Council is serious about being an anti-racist organisation. 

It is no longer enough for the Council to tackle inequalities - it must be actively anti-racist. This Motion sets out steps to help us achieve that.

Cllr Carole Williams, Cabinet Member for employment, skills, HR and equalities