Black Lives Matter



BLACK LIVES MATTER - JOINT STATEMENT

In support of George Floyd and Justice for Black Lives, Alliance for Cohesion and Racial Equality (ACRE), Reading Refugee Support Group (RRSG) and Reading City of Sanctuary (RCoS) today are standing side by side to support Justice for Black Lives and to stand by the family and friends of George Floyd.

We also stand with the families in Reading who have lost loved ones soon after coming in contact with the police.

In 2007, ACRE (previously known as the Reading Council for Racial Equality) led the formation of the ‘Reading Declaration’ supporting the drive to eradicate institutional racism highlighted by the murder of Stephen Lawrence.

It stated:
“We, in Reading, are proud of our multi-racial and diverse cultural heritage, which we regard as a source of cultural, social, and economic strength. We will work vigorously to combat all forms of racism, to rid Reading of racial discrimination and to enshrine the principle that the indivisibility and universality of human rights and the foundations of justice and peace.”

ACRE in partnership with and supported by RRSG and RCoS propose that in light of recent events that led to the death of George Floyd:
• We want to be part of a community that stands shoulder to shoulder with worldwide reaction against discrimination and racism
• We want to ensure we remember and continue to honour Stephen Lawrence’s legacy
• We want those in positions of leadership and authority to stand up and challenge those in authority that incite racism, directly or indirectly through their actions and words, or their lack of actions and words.

ACRE is leading the call for original signatories to the Reading Declaration to not only reaffirm their commitment to justice and to peace through ending racial discrimination, but to take immediate, demonstrable and publicised action in response to the absolute demand from the black community for equality and representation throughout society, from the class room to doctors surgeries, from corporate boardrooms to university lecture halls, from parish councils to local, regional and national government.

We propose to extend the impact of the Declaration from Reading into a Berkshire-wide declaration and are inviting all Berkshire Local Authorities to add their commitment, support and action.

Signed,
Alliance for Cohesion and Racial Equality (ACRE)
Reading Refugee Support Group (RRSG)
Reading City of Sanctuary (RCoS)

Further Details and Contacts:
Alliance for Cohesion and Racial Equality
http://www.acre-reading.org/
Victor Koroma - 0118 951 0279 - victor.koroma@acre-reading.org
We promote equality, diversity and community cohesion.

Reading Refugee Support Group
www.rrsg.org.uk
Nick Harborne - 0118 950 5356 - nick@rrsg.org.uk
We provide advice and support for refugees and asylum seekers.

Reading City of Sanctuary
https://reading.cityofsanctuary.org/
Maggie Filipova-Rivers - info@reading.cityofsanctuary.org
We are building a network of businesses, organisations and individuals who by working together will help to build a culture of hospitality and welcome throughout Reading.

Notes to the Editor

1. Reading Declaration was launched in June 2000 as Reading's response to the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry and was originally signed by 15 strategic/public sector partners including Reading Borough Council, NHS and Thames Valley Police.
2. The declaration was re-adopted 11 January 2007 to include voluntary and community sector partners.
3. The signatories were:
Berkshire Healthcare NHS Trust
Berkshire West Primary Care Trust
Crown Prosecution Service
Ethnic Minorities Forum Her Majesty’s Court Service (Thames Valley Area)
National Probation Service (Thames Valley)
Reading Borough Council Reading Council for Racial Equality
Reading Racial Attacks Forum
Reading Voluntary Sector Forum
Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust
Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service
Sakoma
Thames Valley Police (Reading Local Police Area)
Thames Valley Police University of Reading

4. Many of these signatories have changed in name, form and function.
5. Partners are working towards a re-commitment conference on a date to be advised.