FOLLOWING many emails and messages from Harlow residents, Robert Halfon MP has written to the US Ambassador raising his concerns about the death of George Floyd in America and to the UK Prime Minister urging him to set out what “positive and concrete measures” are being taken “to solve these problems of racism and discrimination in the UK” and ensure that “we are a county of equality of opportunity and meritocracy”.
In his letter to the US Ambassador, Woody Johnson, Mr Halfon noted his “great respect for the United States” but set out his astonishment that black citizens in the US “still experience shocking outbursts of naked racial prejudice”. He said that “the despicable and tragic murder of George Floyd on 25 May 2020 is a testament to this long-standing issue.”
Mr Halfon referenced the “numerous emails from members of my constituency of Harlow, Essex, condemning American actions”. He specifically asked the ambassador “what the Government of the United States is doing to counter racial prejudice and what they perceive as institutionalised disadvantage, disenfranchisement and discrimination felt by black people in America” and invited Mr Johnson to visit Harlow “to speak to young people about these issues and what is being done to eliminate prejudice”.
The Harlow MP also wrote directly to the Prime Minister to cite his despair “following the despicable and tragic murder of George Floyd in the United States”. In his letter, Mr Halfon said “Racism touches every aspect of the lives of those affected. My constituents would, therefore, like to know what the Government will do to improve race relations and combat discrimination at every level. To take just four examples: healthcare provision, the criminal justice system, education and economic welfare.”
With reference to the recent protests, Mr Halfon stated that he “utterly oppose[d] any illegal activity, violence against police or vandalism” and that he welcomed “the Home Secretary’s commitment to serving justice to the individuals who have perpetrated such crimes.” But he explained that: “this should not distract from the death of George Floyd, nor the legitimate anxieties expressed peaceably by millions BAME individuals across the world.”
Commenting on his letters, Mr Halfon said: “The death of George Floyd was utterly deplorable. I sympathise deeply with everyone in our community that has experienced racism and I am clear that we must do everything possible to stamp it out wherever it occurs.
“Despite the important work by our Government, such as the Race Disparity Audit, many people from BAME communities still feel disadvantaged, disenfranchised and discriminated against. The Government must do all they can to change this.
“I look forward to continued discussions with representatives of different communities in Harlow to make sure their voices are heard in Parliament and in Government.”
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