November 2020
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Changing the Future Chapter 1 Events
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How did we get here? Decolonise what now? Europe’s colonial past is still ubiquitous: in monuments and cityscapes, but also in memories, symbols and political battles. (Nicolaidis, Sèbe, and Maas 2014, 1) The decolonisation movement has taken many forms. For those who keep up with the papers, its most visceral manifestation has been the removal or defacement of historical symbols, such as statues. Perhaps the most enduring memory of the BLM protests in the UK will be that of the removal of the statue of Edward Colston (who amassed a fortune from the Atlantic slave trade and transferred some to charitable causes) and his dumping into the river in Bristol in June 2020. The moment was one of pure euphoria for anti-racist campaigners, for whom the statue had long been a flashpoint for anger and resentment. It was also a moment that sowed panic and unease among Britain’s elites, including our prime minister, leading to accusations that campaigners were somehow erasing history, or erroneously judging Colston by today’s standards. We have had our own version of this debate in Edinburgh regarding the Melville Monument in St Andrew’s Square. We can have it more locally still; Sir John Foulis’ family profited from the slave trade via Royal African Company investments. 1 More insidiously, I think, those who condemn such acts as ‘thuggery’ and ‘vandalism’ deny people of colour the right to reclaim history. Their contributions, their struggles and ultimately their oppression are erased in the service of a continuous project that is ‘Great Britain’: untouchable and irreproachable, built by white men such as Colston. These figures are eulogised as part of a glorious past invoked to justify political acts in the now (see ‘Global Britain’). Philanthropists such as Colston were transferring wealth accumulated by force, giving some to Britain’s ‘deserving poor’ as charity and aspired for immortalisation via plaques and statues. Why can’t we revisit the morality of that? We revisit who is edified in public spaces for political reasons all the time. This is not, therefore, about erasing history; people can read about Colston any time they wish. It is revising who, or what, represents Britain today. Our elites are secondly denying people of colour the right to write new histories. After all, Colston is now in a museum in Bristol, his story will be retold with new meaning, and we cannot doubt that 2020 is history in the making. I wonder whether much of this unease is down to a continuing mindset whereby people of colour cannot criticise British history, cannot enact British history, and therefore cannot participate in British history because their voices, or even their very humanity, are not equally valued or recognised. Continuing along this vein, despite the contributions of people of colour and that they have been in Britain for centuries (although this last point in my view is moot), they should still be grateful to be here. And if they are still essentially guests, then perhaps they are not really British? ‘So where are you really from..?’ This, to my mind, is the nub of the decolonisation project, whether this takes place in schools, universities, museums or on our streets and in our homes. Early African anti-colonial writers, such as Frantz Fanon (1952; 1967) and Albert Memmi (1990 [1957]) who I’ve tried to engage with in my recent work, understood how colonisation was not just a project of plantations, ports and outposts: it was a project of the mind. In order to justify intervening on the colonies, politicians and administrators first had to forge a shared mindset that the inhabitants, in this case in Africa, were backward - or more accurately savage - in need of Britain’s superior technologies, know-how but also values. This colonisation of the mind was internalised by African people themselves to terrible effect, detailed by psychiatrist Fanon (1952), believing themselves lowest in the racial hierarchy. Thus colonisation as a wider cultural and political project was no mean feat and it still has huge repercussions today. So this is not an academic debate confined to books and archives: it’s right here and now. People of colour are disadvantaged - as some of our contributions have attested to - at every step of their lives by tacit beliefs that they are not as bright, not as deserving, not as trustworthy, not as qualified, not as British, not as ‘us’. It is impossible for me to understand the weight of that for people of colour. I can only educate myself through reading their words and to try to do something about it. That’s what I’ve learned this year. It is not enough to congratulate oneself for not being racist. In fact, if ‘history’ has shaped how people of colour are viewed, I no doubt have subconscious biases that shape my own behaviour. But maybe I can do more to be anti-racist? That is why I have been proud to be a part of this project - making space for voices of people of colour in our community, trying to listen, trying to learn. I hope to be part of a spinoff project that revisits the history of our immediate locality to make visible our colonial history. Did people of colour help build the railway or work in the mill? Indeed, where did the money for our historical buildings come from? I’d like to revisit our history with fresh eyes. Who’s with me? 1 Foulis’ wife had a financial ‘interest in the african companie’ (Scottish History Society 1894, 248), which we believe to be the Royal African Company, in which Colston also invested. Thanks to Liz Beevers for this information. References Fanon, Frantz. 1952. Black Skin, White Masks. First Evergreen edition.. An Evergreen Book. New York: Grove Press.———. 1967. The Wretched of the Earth. Penguin Books ; 2674. Harmondsworth: Penguin. Memmi, Albert. 1990. The Colonizer and the Colonized. London: Earthscan. Nicolaidis, Kalypso, Berny Sèbe, and Gabrielle Maas. 2014. Echoes of Empire: Memory, Identity and the Legacy of Imperialism. Edited by Berny Sebe and Gabrielle Maas. Scottish History Society. 1894. The Account Book of Sir John Foulis of Ravelston, 1671-1707. Publications. v. 16. Edinburgh. http://digital.nls.uk/125649126.Kathy Kathy Dodworth is a researcher at the University of Edinburgh and the British International Studies Association. And a more local, personal story from the past ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Section 1 I was in my early 20s when I became aware of the fact that I had “colour” in my family. When Enid, my wife, was pregnant with our second child one of my great aunts said to her, quietly, not to be surprised if the child was "black". We were a bit confused by this, since our first daughter was pale and blonde. Afterwards we spoke to my mother and she filled us in on what little she knew of my grandfather's heritage. The relatives of colour were all on my maternal grandfather’s side of the family. Looking through old black and white pictures of all sides of the family they all looked the same – sallow-skinned outdoor workers. I saw no difference between my grandfather - or any of the other relatives. I asked the great aunt, who was from the other side of the family, where my grandfather William's family had come from. She thought long and hard. I was expecting some exotic revelation, and then said, "Juniper Green”. - And she was right. We are still researching back through the family tree. My grandfather Bob Williams had volunteered to join the army at the start of WW1. He had been gassed twice during the First World War and had been treated in France and in London - but after treatment was returned to the front line. Afterwards he worked in quarrying and in the paper mills. During WW2 he was in the Home Guard. My grandfather died in 1959, aged 61, when I was 8. We were constant companions in his later years, walking round our villages. I knew that my grandfather had worked in Kinleith Mill and that the family came from Juniper Green. I approached John Tweedie (Currie and District Local History Society and Kinleith Mill) at a photo exhibition to ask if he knew my grandfather and the family. John got a hold of me by the sleeve and directed me through the exhibition to a photo of the Rights of Man Fishing Club (1880s) and pointed out the "dusky chap" in the centre. He said, "that's your great grandfather John Williams". He had known both John and my grandfather Bob. They worked in Kinleith Mill and were also involved in the Foresters in Juniper Green. John gave me a copy of the photo. Before Alzheimers took her away I had asked my mother if my grandfather Bob, her father, or the family had encountered any racism. Not that she could remember. The one event she recounted to me was where my grandfather was badly beaten up by a gang of men on his way home after visiting the pub. However, this was not racism but drink and sectarianism: my grandfather was Catholic. There was a fair bit of anti-Catholic feeling in the village during the early years. I think that if there had been any racism towards the family it would have continued into | later generations and I was not aware of any. The only outwardly racist event I can recall in the village involved Sam Martinez. Sam came to Scotland from Belize (formerly British Honduras) as a forester in the 1940s, married an Edinburgh girl and ended up working in Balerno Bank Paper Mill during the 1950s - 1960s. Sam was the chap who died recently aged 103 and, in his words, had been hanging on until Hibs won the cup. Which they did. Sam was well liked in the mill and in the village. However, there was a racist incident which my father became involved in. There were some visiting workers from a paper mill, elsewhere in the UK, on a training course. They had been "having a go" at Sam off and on, making racist comments and generally being objectionable. This boiled over one day in the canteen and developed into a rammy, where fists were thrown between the Balerno paper mill workers, supporting Sam, and the visiting workers. The upshot was that at least two of the visitors were sent home by the management. My father was the union rep in the mill at the time but had also become involved in the fight; being particularly pally with Sam. Sam used to come to our house often to have dinner after working his shift in the mill. He was friendly with many of the Balerno folk and kept his friendship up after the mill closed. Sam was different. You could pick him out instantly in the crowd photos of the Galloways Mill Dance. He was black. He had a Caribbean accent, tinged with bits of Edinburgh and Balerno twang, and he was invariably cheery - maybe that’s what “got up their noses”. But more importantly, whatever his external differences, he was very much one of us, part of the village community. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ The profits of slavery in our area In Colinton Kirkyard Patrick Gordon, Phoebe Anna Traquair and James Gillespie are buried in varying degrees of pomp. Leaving aside the first two just now, I am trying to research James Gillespie and dig a little beyond what we know about him and his posthumous foundations of a school and a hospital. He was a well-kent merchant in the eighteenth-century trading in Virginian tobacco and snuff. It will have been grown and harvested by slave labour before being shipped here and then ground in that mill we can all see backing onto the Water of Leith in Spylaw park. Its profits will have built the magnificent mansion which provides the frontage to the mill and the carriage in which he travelled to his High Street shop. To paraphrase the famous comment about his carriage..."Wha wad hae thocht it? Slavery bocht it." We need to acknowledge the fact. Our area benefitted financially from slavery and some of our big houses are evidence of it. Spylaw house and Woodville (now demolished) in Colinton, Woodhall House in Juniper Green and Larchgrove in Balerno are examples . In 1833 slavery was abolished in the British Empire and (astonishingly to modern minds) the owners, not the enslaved people, were compensated. Careful government accounts were kept and these have been meticulously researched and made available on https://www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/ Investments in Caribbean estates and their slaves were often seen as steady earners, like the insurance companies of yesteryear. They were given as marriage presents or in trust for orphans. They are recorded as the property of men because, of course, married women could not own property until the late nineteenth century. Professor William Pulteney Alison in Woodville got money for the 152 enslaved people on the St Vincent estate of Bellevue which he had held in trust for his sister’s orphaned children. Alexander Morison of Larchgrove had married, as a nineteen year-old, into the Cushnie family . With his bride he acquired a quarter share of the Windsor Castle estate in Jamaica and five years later built Larchgrove. Later he became a pioneer of psychiatry and left the property to the College of Physicians to finance an annual Morison lecture. A charitable donation and/or a form of money-laundering. James Gillespie of Spylaw left even greater charitable legacies on his death. He was a tobacco and snuff merchant who, in 1773, built his splendid mansion onto the front of his functioning mill. Both still stand as testament to his trade with Virginia where enslaved people piled up huge profits for the tobacco lords of Glasgow. Gillespie’s £12 000 established the well-known school and also a hospital for the godly elderly. Research is ongoing into his business. Until recently many houses paid feu- duties to the Gillespie estate. Even jolly old Sir John Foulis of Woodhall benefitted. He married his third wife, Mary Cunningham nee Murray, bought the estate and got his feet under the Woodhall table in 1699. Then he began to administer Mary’s 200 - pound sterling shares in the “African” Company… almost certainly involving the transatlantic slave trade. No doubt there are many other instances in our area waiting to be researched; but no doubt, too, we are still heedlessly profiting from the exploitation of others in a way that will seem appalling to future generations. Thanks to Val Wilson for drawing my attention to the Legacies of British Slave Ownership website. Liz Slave Records Many would be surprised to discover that there were people of colour in Currie and the surrounding areas in the 18 th century. The goal was to discover when the first slaves arrived in our area. The first point of research is usually to search the census records but the Scottish records don’t record colour, only place of birth. This would have given an indication of possible colour but it could not be trusted. Immigration records could have suggested where the former slaves may have come from but these proved difficult to find. This led to believing that they were probably not recorded and thought this research would be impossible, though while researching documented former black slaves in Edinburgh the name Malvina Wells came up. Wells is thought to be the only former slave to be buried in Edinburgh with a gravestone. The researchers found her information through ‘The Former British Colonial Dependencies, Slave Registers, 1813-1834’ on ancestry.co.uk. This data base came after The Abolition of Slave Trade Act came into force. It meant that all slave owners had to record their slaves every three years. These records documented name of owner, place of residence (usually name of parish), name of slave (usually only a given name), gender of slave, age of slave and nationality of slave. There were many records attached to many of our local slave owners who had slaves mainly in Jamaica. Below is an example of a record taken in August 1823. Millie Our Community A series of contributions from a variety of anonymous contributors The BLM movement to me is something that has been going on not just in the last few months or years, but centuries. It's about raising awareness on the injustices my people have faced and striving to get treated the same as others. Having to begin the race behind everyone else or facing more obstacles just because of your ethnicity, religion or gender. I feel that because we are in Scotland, in Edinburgh, people have this idea that discrimination and injustices don't exist, however this is far from the truth. Many of the staff at schools find it uncomfortable to talk about racism, and often dismiss it when you'd go to report an incident of another student saying something derogatory and offensive. If you have experienced discrimination, you will be familiar with the typical answer you'd get, it's something along the lines of "we'll handle it" or "we'll see what we can do". These amount to absolutely no action. It's not just students, it's teachers too. So many times teachers would call me a 'gang member' or 'gangster' or assume we were up to something bad. My school only had 6 or 7 black guys including me, 3 of whom were friends. Whenever we would be walking together or sitting at benches together the teachers would feel the need to stare at our every movement, or ask us where we're going, what we're doing or why we're together, the constantly assumed we were going to hurt someone or damage something. The main problem within the community is that too many people have their perception of others based solely on media portrayal, and that's not their fault, they haven't been educated. I believe to get past this there needs to be more education on racism and discrimination. And there needs to be change in how religion, politics and history is taught, to show what they see online or in the media isn't accurate. Anonymous contributor Black Lives Matter has made it more evident that people who share nothing in common with me except race end up being disadvantaged, targeted and slaughtered for the very fact of being black. I fight for the people thousands of miles away. And hopefully with the unity of people of all backgrounds coming together we can eradicate the disease of racism. Racism in Edinburgh is more subtle but still affects me the same way as being targeted and judged solely on your race rather than your characteristics or personality. It's disgusting. It can be seen when you are in a different community where people's first assumption of you comes by your race rather than you as a person. I'm blessed to have neighbours of all races, religions and nationalities and we have come to live in trust with one another, so I'm blessed to be in a street like that to be honest.I hope future generations can grow with others knowing that they will not be judged or targeted for their race and can live in peace with others of all races. All BME need to stand together to fight the issue of racism today, we can't have BME fighting BME or glorifying the idea of killing each other when there are other races all over the world already trying that. We need to unite to fight that. Anonymous contributor At first the BLM movement was good for increasing awareness for black lives, but the movement itself has been amazing for other cultures and standing up for all sorts of discrimination and the more BLM helps different people in society, the better. In Edinburgh if you're of a darker skin colour or from Africa/Asia especially among young folk, then in certain areas of the city you can encounter a few people shouting slurs and generally these people tend to be non-educated. Personally, I've had slurs and things shouted at me (things like terrorist, etc) and it's unprovoked which is always strange. Ideally in our future there would be no hate, no crime and people getting along and recognising others as simple human beings regardless of our skin colour, gender, faith, sexuality and so on. Change today needs to include educating the youngers as the biggest priority, racism isn't something you're born with, it's rooted in and usually at home so if schools can change these attitudes as kids are growing up it will make a huge difference. Also, there needs to be an emphasis on calling people out on their discrimination no matter how small it is, but this should be done by explaining calmly without causing an altercation. Anonymous contributor For me, I think that the recent Black Lives Matter movement has turned into a trend, because on social media I don't see many people taking it as seriously as you should, especially white people. Some individuals don't understand what black people go through, they just post stuff on social media because they've seen their friends post, not knowing the meaning of what it is that's going on and not educating themselves properly before posting. For example; the #blackouttuesday people who say the n-word on a daily and have not taken the time to educate themselves on what's going on, posted a black screen, not because they wanted to raise awareness but so they take part on the trend. As one of the only black people in my classroom you feel like teachers treat you differently to other kids, they constantly tell you what to wear and what not to wear. They'd say wearing a headpiece like a scarf or a durag is 'inappropriate'. Everyone looks at you when the n-word is mentioned in history class. It's your white friends singing or saying the n-word because they think you're okay with it, or because 'they have black friends and family' so technically it's okay. We've been kicked out of public places because in a large group of blacks and Asians we looked 'threatening', but If it was a group of white people it would've been handled differently. I'd like for teachers to actually educate pupils on the meaning of the n-word and make them aware of everything that goes on in the world. People don't understand how it makes us feel and they can never relate, but at least they can be educated on the matter. Moving forward I feel we need to see more minority doctors, lawyers, politicians and other people in powerful positions, to show the youth that someone from their background can succeed. Anonymous contributor Over the past two years, I have been fortunate enough to befriend a wonderful Syrian woman. What started off as a teacher/ pupil relationship has developed into a very close friendship, and one which has enriched my life. Our different languages, religions and cultures are matters to explore, enjoy and laugh about, rather than barriers to our friendship. Another friend asked if I would discuss with my Syrian friend her feelings about living in Scotland and this was the result. What do you like about living in Scotland? First of all, the friends I have made, like my support worker and you! Before I came to Scotland, I thought Scottish people might not want to speak to me because I wear a hijab and because I am a Muslim, but everybody is nice and friendly. People say ‘hello’ to me in the street. How do you feel about living in Scotland, rather than Syria or elsewhere? I have been in Scotland for just over two years. Nobody has spoken unkindly to me or anybody in my family in all that time. I have lovely neighbours. I have other friends who are not so lucky, especially during Ramadan when as Muslims, we must fast during daylight hours and so there might be more noise late at night when we are breaking our fast. Anonymous contributor I am the screams of our brothers and sisters who they lynched, tortured and slaughtered in vain I am the pain of the ones they took from us centuries ago for their own communist gain I am the reminder of the ones that we’ve lost to police brutality as you continue to speak their truth and their name. I am the child they subjected to abuse for having a different race I am the one whose hair is felt whilst they laugh and make jokes in my face I am the one they call terrorist for my family having a different faith I am the culture they rob from our ancestors whilst they take selfies wearing their jewellery and braids Yet they fail to see how all those micro aggressions they said in my presence are forever etched in my mind can never be erased? I am our children and our children’s children feeling out of place for an ethnicity that cannot be changed I am the sadness felt when they turn a blind eye at their friends and family’s behaviours saying; “this is the way things are.” Leaving relationships estranged I am the mother tongue spoken to my relatives no matter how many stare in disgust I am no longer ashamed of who I am, I am my heritage and I will not be silenced or hushed But If they could put themselves in our shoes would they? Amira 45 years ago I had left my all-white school and graduated from my all-white university and was headed to Strathclyde University for my post-grad. I knew Glaswegians, and even had a Glaswegian girlfriend, but the idea of actually living in Glasgow was a bit intimidating. A list of my flatmates further daunted: Mohan Das, Banja Sirisarawan; Felix Labinjo, Ebenezer Okafor. However, I thought I'd at least have something in common with the last, Colin Bingham-Walker, even if he might be an posh English twit. Colin in reality was a very successful Jamaican businessman, driving a fancy Jaguar, and with a really infectious laugh. Living with those five people was great fun. I was the youngest and, although I had Inter-railed across Europe, I was the least exposed to immersion in other cultures. In that year I learned so much about different societies, attitudes, foods, religions, and more. And it was a revelation to find that Glaswegians in their home environment were not so different from us. On graduating, I followed my girlfriend to experience this Common Market we'd recently joined. Three years later I was working in Saudi Arabia and having a wild time. All that was missing was my girlfriend, so we married in Bangkok and met up with my old friend Banja and his family. We've now lived in 13 countries and visited more than 60 others. Plans to visit more are currently on hold so our next break will be to Bute, where one of the incidental pleasures will be to visit cafes run by onetime refugees now contributing positively to the local economy, and re-acquaint ourselves with Syria's excellent cuisine. We're very lucky to be exposed to so many cultures through our international festivals. Enjoy them here and then go visit their place of origin. Open your mind, open your heart, open your arms and embrace them. Appreciate the diversity life offers - even visit Glasgow. Russell Changes for the Future It is no longer 'popular' for institutions and corporations to idly sit back and watch their black fellow citizens be oppressed by every level of state authority. These very same corporations and institutions who were silent about the movement since its inception scurried to draft politically appropriate messages voicing their support for the cause. The fear of getting 'cancelled' by online communities was enough to send PR teams across the world into a frenzy. This timely show of support of companies to the cause becomes problematic as it positions Black Lives Matter as a trend that they can profit from and not a movement that demands change. Excuse me for my pessimistic stance regarding the altruistic ambitions of these multi-million-pound corporations. But saying 'Black Lives Matter' and acting on it are two very different matters. As conscious citizens we should push companies to act swiftly on their messages of support so that as a society we can collectively address this imbalance. This means we should not be merely satisfied with carefully constructed graphics or adverts displaying their support. Instead we should hold them accountable to their declarations of support. If we interpret 'Black Lives Matter' as a global phenomenon then we should demand that corporations who have profited from black exploitation to support black people across the world. The gaming company Sony who plastered the Black Lives Matter logo across their social media at the same time are benefitting from child workers in Congo being used to extract cobalt, a material vital to the construction of their electronic components. The fast fashion industry is particularly guilty of this as despite their messages of support companies like ‘Pretty Little Thing’ and ‘Fashionnova’ have been accused of stealing the ideas of black creatives and undercutting them from their profits. How can a company expect change from state institutions if they themselves are not willing to respect black lives? Under the guise of faux activism these companies have long evaded the consequences of their business practices. Even within these companies who claim to support Black Lives Matter, we see unethical business practices which discriminate against their black employees. Whether it be for the way their hair is styled or the clothes they wear, black people across the spectrum are continuously shunned in the workplace. These issues are not easily dealt with and will require change from consumer level all the way to the boardroom. The criticisms can be attributed to capitalism as easily as they have been applied to racism. However, within a capitalist economy, it is often the minorities who are left to fend for themselves. If organisations are really dedicated to making Black Lives Matter then they should correct the wrongs in their own supply chains before demanding the same of others. Until then we should support local black-owned businesses to enable them to reach the heights they should be reaching. Faraz The Black Lives Matter Movement is such a powerful campaign for increasing awareness of black lives and how we can put an end to discrimination against black people. Seeing all of the BLM protests, the strong media awareness and how many people are involved has showed me that we as a society demand change and won’t stop fighting till we succeed. The BLM movement impacted me as I became more aware. I realised how racial discrimination is affecting my friends and individuals on a daily basis, and how different their lives are to mine. To gain a stronger understanding, I educated myself and the people around me through reading posts on social media, articles, watching documentaries and signing petitions to help gain justice for lives that have been lost. I educated myself on topics such as the institutionally racist police system, systematic racism, white privilege and more which made me realise how horrible the world we live in is. My friends and I joined an equalities committee to help fight and prevent racism in my school. I’m extremely proud of them and happy that I can support them to create change. I hope that we can encourage teachers and pupils to stop any form of racism and discrimination they see so that school can be a safe space for everyone. I will never truly understand how black individuals see this world; however, I want to do everything I can to help them tackle racism as it’s not just their problem, it’s ours too. My hope for the future is that schools make it compulsory to teach black history - to educate the new generations which will shape our society into a better, equal world, as you’re not born racist, you’re brought into it. I also hope there will be more diversity within schools, politics, job industries, films and much more as I notice that’s something that definitely requires change. I want to live in a world where we are all treated and seen as one and where no one has to go through the pain of being judged or targeted for their race or the colour of their skin. Martyna
Equality in the Discoverer room One of our friends let us borrow the “Smeed’s and the Smoo’s”, which together we read as a big group. Throughout it created conversation around our differences and similarities. We began to discuss what made us different to our friends and what made us the same. And how together we should treat everyone equally. This sparked discussion about how we treat our friends and children spoke about being “kind” and “make them happy when they are sad”, as well as how we should let everyone join in the game”. The children then drew around their friends and had discussions about what their friends looked like and what made them unique. “I have yellow hair” “His skin is darker” “They have a red T- shirt”
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Being young, idealistic and politically aware although not particularly active at the time, but motivated by a sense of fairness and equality, I joined the Anti-Apartheid Movement in the mid 1980s. It opened the door on a world I had not previously been fully aware of, and as I learned more about the history of South Africa, other African countries, colonization, empire building and slavery, it became fairly apparent that Black Lives didn’t Matter very much to our ancestors, unless a monetary value or work task could be attached. Race being the deciding factor in who was exploited and who benefitted. The struggle towards equality has continued for many years, with some notable successes along the road: the American Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama to name a few. But the struggle goes on and much more needs to be done, as the BLM movement has demonstrated. Closer to home, I was one of the co-founders of the West Edinburgh Group Against Racial Attack and Harassment (WEGARAH) established with the Police, in response to various recommendations stemming from reports linked to the murder of Stephen Lawrence, to improve the dialogue between the local BAME community in and around Wester Hailes in particular and various public bodies responsible for ensuring community safety and responding to racist incidents. Some of that work continues today. Sadly, it needs to, because with each passing milestone of progress another set-back slaps us in the face when we least expect it. My optimism, though, is fuelled by the knowledge that right-minded people will never give up, and future generations will learn from our mistakes and build a better world. Councillor Ricky Henderson