Thanet councillors will tonight (December 10) decide whether to debate and then put forward for adoption an anti-racism motion put forward by Broadstairs member Cllr Aram Rawf.
The motion being put forward is: “Thanet council notes the mood for change amongst the community to defeat racism. In recent months Thanet has seen two peaceful, socially distanced, community led marches in support of the cause of anti-racism.
“The council also notes that:
- Nationally there has been a surge in hate crimes since July 2016
- The council understands the importance and deep reliance we have on tourism to support the health of the local economy. This council believes that our future prosperity as a tourist destination is inextricably linked with our ability to stamp out the scourge of racism. This council further believes that we have a historic opportunity to shape the area into one that is attractive to all sectors of our diverse community and the wider country.”
If the motion is debated and then eventually adopted it is being suggested Thanet council would acknowledge and support the work of local groups such as Calling Time on Racism, the People Dem Collective and Everyday Racism.
And: “Build a campaign to mark a cultural shift toward businesses taking a more active role in shaping an anti-racist community calling on the experience of these local groups. Review the obligations under the Equality Act making explicit the working links between all the departments and functions of the council.”
Other commitments suggested in the motion include creating a task force/working group to oversee implementation which would include “councillors, council officers, community activists and organisations and external expertise when required.”
If councillors back the motion it will then go to Cabinet for a decision.
The last time an anti-racism motion was put forward to Thanet council was in 2016 when the authority became one of the only councils in the country to reject debating the issue.
The motion put forward by then councillor Iris Johnston urged TDC to condemn racism, xenophobia and hate crimes.
The decision not to debate the issue was supported almost unanimously with only then-councillor Suzanne Brimm and Cllr Ash Ashby supporting the debate.
Then UKIP and council leader Chris Wells said at the time that the council was already committed to improving community cohesion.