Surrey Minority Ethnic Forum invited members of our Black African and Afro-Caribbean communities to join us at our Voices Heard event in March. Also joining the event were Nolan Heather, Chief Inspector, Operational and Delivery Lead Digital, Data and Technology and Surrey Police Hate Crime Lead;
HM Lord Lieutenant of Surrey, Michael More-Molyneux and County Councillor Rebecca Paul from Surrey County Council.
The event aimed to to build trust and bridges between African and Afro-Caribbean groups across Surrey and organisations such as Surrey Police and Surrey County Council. The event was also an opportunity to hear about the challenges facing these communities following a racially aggravated assault at the Thomas Knyvett School in Stanwell.
People at the event told us about the racism they had experienced in Surrey. Some people felt that there were problems with integration and that could lead to isolation – especially if people have no family members nearby. Some parents felt that their children had been treated differently at school and that teachers could benefit from EDI training to reduce discrimination and unconscious bias.
Many people felt that a lack of community meeting spaces prevented them from connecting with others and that these are important spaces for people to share their experiences and seek help from one another.
After the event, we compiled a report capturing these throughs and more, which we have shared with the representatives from Surrey Police and Surrey County Council. We hope to arrange more events like this in the future.