WHY WE SHOULD BE STANDING TOGETHER – EPSOM AND EWELL
Posted by Devenia Besant on 31 Aug 2020
So it’s been approximately 10 / 11 weeks since I started the initiative – Epsom and Ewell – We Stand Together and if I’m honest before then it hadn’t even occurred to me that such an initiative was needed in the area I’ve lived in, an area that I’ve happily raised my 3 children, Epsom and Ewell has ticked so many boxes when it comes to family life. Anyway after what happened in America and the events that followed, protests etc it led me to find out more about what has been happening in Epsom and Ewell in regards to racism and in-equality and what some people are going through or have had happen to them (in school, in the work place, walking down the street, online). Don’t get me wrong I’m not naive enough to think racism in this area didn’t exist, it’s everywhere right? it’s just not nice to hear the real life stories (not stories of years ago but stuff happening now) and struggles and it was even a shock to have discussions with my own son (who is 15) who seemed to have more exposure to racism than I have in all my 42 years. I knew then that I would do something to try what I could to make a difference on a local level, that is when Epsom and Ewell – We Stand Together was created. Fast forward to now and the initiative has 5 key goals to work on:
🌈Encouraging schools to continue to reiterate their policies in regards to zero tolerance of racism / prejudice and actively review the curriculum and how it is being taught in their schools.
2. Pupils & Parents
Empower children and parents to speak up – knowing that they will be listened to and action taken.
🌈Remind employers to state zero tolerance of racism / prejudice in the workplace, and encourage them to invest in unconscious bias training, blind recruitment and other active ways to create equality
🌈Empower employees to speak up to their employer and to their industry bodies – knowing that they will be listened to and action taken
5. Hate crimes
Empower local people to use their voice and report hate crimes to the police
Plans for these goals have already started (but it will be an on-going process) and it’s going to take more than just me to make this happen and I’m so grateful for the volunteers that have come forward with their ideas, knowledge and support. The general support for this initiative has really been shown already in today’s Awareness Day – a day where I’ve have asked local businesses and the local community to pledge their support in a poster and social media campaign, why? because awareness:
💛 Creates conversations that otherwise may not be had
💛 Challenges hateful opinions and attitudes
💛 Leads to a process of your own thoughts and opinions
💛 Inspires people get to get educated about topics they may not have before
I have lost count of how many posters are out there in cafes, shops, gyms (you can view many pictures on the Facebook page and on Instagram) and you will see banners put up by the local council at Bourne Hall, Ewell and outside the Epsom Playhouse. Epsom Borough Council has pledged to support this campaign going forward and have released their own statement alongside local councillors Alex Cowley and Hannah Dalton here. The campaign has also had support from Epsom and Ewell MP Chris Grayling.
As a first campaign I would say it’s been successful but I have to admit although I’ve been out and about smiling I have personally found the last week quite upsetting – why in 2020 or even at all is seeing all races as equals even a “thing”??? However I truly believe Epsom and Ewell overall is a welcoming place so let’s work hard together as a community to stamp out any hate.
If you have already it’s not to late to get involved in the Awareness Day today. You can pledge your support by posting to social media any on of these images:
Alongside the pledge:
“Pledging support for the Epsom and Ewell – We Stand Together BANK Holiday Awareness Day!
You can BANK on me / us to be anti-racist, to #SeeItStopItSolveIt 💛
You can get involved to by spreading the word and posting too.””
***Tag the page
💛 Read a book to educate yourself
💛 Watch a film or documentary
💛 Have a least one conversation with friends or family about the topic
💛 Make a promise to yourself to call out racism when you see it, to be anti-racist
Special thank you’s to MinuteMan Press Epsom, The Ruxley Foundation, We Built Your Website, Chloe Rodrigues, and Epsom and Ewell Borough Council and our borough councillors, Dr Joanne Riordan and Hayley J Dunlop.