We need unity and the building of bridges

First printed in Gazette 11th June 2020

Jessie Joe Jacobs is hosting an online Town Hall meeting to discuss how the Tees Valley can tackle racism given the worldwide anger over the death of George Floyd in America. The meeting will take place tonight (Thursday 11th June) at 7.30pm on Facebook Live. The Town Hall meeting will be a conversation with charity and community leaders, anti-racism campaigners and people of colour. The aim of the call will be to look at practical actions and how people can come together to tackle racism.

In advance of the meeting Jessie Joe Jacobs said, “The Tees Valley will never be all it can be while we are ridden with divisions. This is why I’m speaking out today about the actions of some of our political leaders in the Tees Valley around the issue of racism.

“At a time where we need unity and the building of bridges, Ben Houchen, Andy Preston and Simon Clarke have either denied there is an issue, or worse made reference to monuments, that absolutely no-one locally from the black lives matter movement or BAME community has highlighted as a problem let alone called for the removal of.

The issues that local BAME communities are actually raising are things like being discriminated against at work, being verbally attacked in the street, bullied at school, prejudiced in the criminal justice system, treated badly by neighbours, having their shops vandalised, being spat at, feeling fearful on public transport or facing abuse in the community.

“To move forward we need unity and understanding. I refer to the wording of the Teesside Motto which is ‘Progress In Unity’ and ask that our political and community leaders
work with me to heal divisions and bring Teesside back together at this difficult time.