Black Lives Matter Statement

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This is such an important issue.

Ashmead Primary School stands united with the family, and friends, of George Floyd, who was unlawfully killed in Minnesota, USA.

I am reminded of Ashmead’s vision that all children leave us knowing they are both loveable and capable.

We work on these 12 Values throughout the year:

  • Cooperation
  • Hope
  • Integrity
  • Responsibility
  • Courage
  • Reflection
  • Perseverance
  • Freedom
  • Confidence
  • Respect
  • Kindness
  • Empathy

So many of these values help us in our vital work tackling and challenging racism, addressing inequality and preventing discrimination of all kinds.

This work is more important than ever now.

Here is a message from Pinaki Ghoshal, Lewisham’s Executive Director for Children and Young People and Angela Scattergood, Director of Education:

The Mayor of Lewisham, Damien Egan has published a statement on behalf of Lewisham Council in response to the killing of George Floyd in the United States. You can read the full statement below.

We believe that our schools and settings are key to tackling racism and other forms of discrimination. We will support all Lewisham schools and settings in their commitment to standing against racism and injustice, alongside and in solidarity with the local and global Black community.

Many of you will have watched news features about the shocking death of George Floyd at the hands of a policeman, which took place in America. Many of you will have seen pictures of people protesting against this racist killing and the #BlackLivesMatter campaign that has shone a light again on racism, injustice and prejudice in our world. You may be feeling shocked, scared, angry and upset. We want to let you know that we are all feeling this way here at Ashmead and that our strong reactions to such awful things are very normal and show how much we all care about ending racism and making things better.

We know that really positive things can happen in response to really awful things – people around the world are coming together to share their feelings and to call for changes so that this can never happen again. They believe, as we do at Ashmead that racism is wrong and that we need to stand up together against it. They believe, as we do, in fairness, respecting one another and celebrating the wonderful diversity in our world, in our school community, our local communities and everywhere. Our school community here at Ashmead is united in love and respect for one another and we will always stand together.

Please talk about things. We want to encourage you to acknowledge your feelings and to talk about them and to share your thoughts about how we can all fight racism wherever we find it. All of us need to do this so that we can follow through our commitment to being anti-racist and to remembering and honouring George Floyd and all those who have been killed because of racism.

Our history is full of people who stood up and fought against injustice – lots of you will already have learnt about many of them at school. We can all lead by example, and we want you to know that we value and respect all of you, that we celebrate everyone and that we will fight racism, prejudice and discrimination wherever we find it, and work hard together to create a fairer, more equal, just society.

Statement by Lewisham’s Mayor, Damian Egan: 

Lewisham prides itself as being an open borough that celebrates our diversity and has a history of standing up against racism. We know many residents, like us, will have been appalled at the videos from the United States of the killing of George Floyd.  

Racism and racial inequalities are not just an ‘American problem’. Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) inequalities are endemic in the UK too. We have been shocked by images of police using excessive force to arrest black people in Lewisham in recent weeks and we have been meeting with the police to ensure these instances are investigated, and that we receive information, by ethnicity, relating to the increase of stop and search during lockdown.

Racism exists in many parts of society including in the criminal justice system, access to jobs, in the education system and in health too. COVID-19 has highlighted the disparity in health outcomes for BAME people – but it is important to remember that BAME health inequalities don’t end at COVID-19, they stretch across many aspect of our healthcare 

This isn’t news to us in Lewisham and we have been working over many years to reduce inequality and injustice for all groups. 

BAME health inequalities have been set as a priority for our Health and Wellbeing Board and last month we launched a ground-breaking joint review with Birmingham City Council to explore black African and Caribbean health inequalities in both of our communities

In education we have been working with schools, with some success, to reduce the gaps between Black Caribbean young people and other groups and the majority of participants on our well established Mayor’s Apprenticeship Programme are from BAME backgrounds.

And in our own Council we have re-established our BAME Professional Network staff forum and are launching a BAME leadership programme to find the next generation of leaders from our diverse and talented workforce.

But there is a still a huge amount to do, and we won’t rest and stop taking action while inequalities exist. 

Fortunately, we know we live in a community where our residents share our values and support us taking targeted actions. But we won’t be able to meet the challenges we face alone and we will be pressing the Government to make sure we have the support and resources we need, and that they too take issues of racial inequality in our country forward urgently. 

This week we lit our Town Hall in purple as our small way of not just remembering George Floyd, but to send the clear message to all our residents that we stand in solidarity with them against racism in all its forms. 

Black Lives Matter in Lewisham, today and always. 

Damien Egan

Mayor of Lewisham

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