First Minister Paul Givan and deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill have marked Black History Month by reaffirming their commitment to eradicating racism and tackling racial inequality.
First Minister Paul Givan said:
“Black History Month is celebrated in many countries to respect, reflect and acknowledge the long and ongoing contribution of members of the Black community to our modern, diverse society.
“It also gives us all an opportunity to reflect on the ongoing challenges in tackling racial inequalities and reinforce our commitment to do all we can to eradicate racism.
“We are now well into the 21st Century, but unfortunately prejudice and hate crime still exist. We want Northern Ireland to be a place where people live, learn, socialise and work positively and easily together, regardless of race and ethnicity.
“Our Racial Equality Strategy sets out a framework towards achieving this and we are absolutely committed to its implementation. But we can’t do it alone. Everyone has a part to play and I encourage everyone to help ensure that this is a welcoming place for all.”
Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said:
“Black History Month is a great opportunity to celebrate the many achievements of the black community here locally, and across the world. It’s also a chance for us each to consider and refocus on what we can do to achieve racial equality.
“Sadly, we continue to see the devastating impact racism has on individuals, families and communities. It must stop.
“The Black Lives Matter movement brought focus to the debate on racial equality issues and we need to see this translated into real change.
“Important work is being taken forward to realise our vision for an equal and tolerant society and we can each help to bring this about. We urge everyone to celebrate diversity, encourage understanding and respect for other cultures and join us in adopting a zero tolerance approach to racism in any form.”
Notes to editors:
- The Racial Equality Strategy 2015 - 2025 establishes a framework for government departments (and others) to tackle racial inequalities, to eradicate racism and hate crime and along with Together: Building a United Community, to promote good race relations and social cohesion.
- The Executive Office’s Racial Equality Strategy 2015 – 2025 can be accessed online via www.executiveoffice-ni.gov.uk/publications/racial-equality-strategy-2015-2025
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