I’ve just finished a week’s summer staycation. When you’re tripping over trainers and family members in a caravan on the south coast, there’s precious little time for reflection or relaxation. But I was able to finish a book, Divided We Stand, edited by Helena Earnshaw and Angharad Penrhyn Jones.

Among the awe-inspiring stories about how women have campaigned, fought and won against adversity, Zita Holbourne’s entry about helping Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) children to overcome the challenges they are faced with is incredible. The Black Lives Matter movement has highlighted this need to everyone and Zita’s recollections really struck me.

The issues faced by many young people in BAME communities are often harder and more difficult to overcome than those in more visible ones. This includes the security of housing, education, expectations on the part of those around them, jobs, future prospects and the likelihood of being stopped in the street - even if you are an Olympic athlete.

BLM doesn’t and never has meant other lives don’t matter. It’s imperative to help those who are disadvantaged to be better supported. Imagine that your child, nephew, niece or friend is facing the challenges that many in the BAME community are facing when they set out with their whole lives ahead of them. A supportive environment for everyone is what we should all strive for.

Labour proposed a motion at the last council meeting calling for better support for the BAME community in Watford. When any of us see discrimination taking place around us, it has to be called out.

It is also noteworthy that class matters greatly here too. Those affected by issues of Covid-19 and discrimination are often the victims of the negative impact of class in our society as well as other demographics.

So, let’s stand up and ensure all Watfordians are properly supported.

  • Matt Turmaine is a Labour councillor for Holywell