King’s School pupils’ Black Lives Matter motion to go before county council
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A motion to pledge support for the Black Lives Matter campaign, written by pupils from The King’s School in Ottery, will go before Devon County Council this week.
The county council will be asked to back the anti-racism campaign and select a cabinet member to champion the black and minority ethnic (BAME) community.
A motion submitted by Otter Valley ward councillor Claire Wright calls for landmarks that implicitly celebrate slavery to be reviewed, including a historic plaque in Exmouth for John Colleton.
It would also ask the council to encourage government to look at the curriculum to ensure the historical record of the British Empire takes account of slavery and other oppressive experiences of BAME people.
Cllr Wright’s motion, which goes before Devon County Council’s full council meeting on Thursday (July 23), was created with students at The King’s School, especially young BAME people.
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A second motion by Cllr Alan Connett, which seeks to acknowledge the current situation facing under-represented groups in Devon, will also go before the council.
Cllr Wright, putting forward her motion, said: “It was an absolute pleasure to work with the thoughtful and considerate sixth-form students at The King’s School, especially young BAME people, to create this motion. “The Black Lives Matter movement appears to have triggered something very powerful and potentially very healing… and is in my view, an ideal time to address very many issues that will help resolve long-standing divisions.
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“The King’s School students plan to campaign on this and I am very much looking forward to working with them.”
Her motion reads: “This council welcomes the peaceful protests against the murder of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer, including those organised in Barnstaple, Ilfracombe, Exeter and Plymouth – and the way these have brought to light how much of this country’s wealth was built on slavery and other racial oppression.”
Under procedural rules of the council, the motions will be referred to the cabinet, which would then make a recommendation back to full council in time for the next meeting in October, unless two thirds of councillors agree to debate them on the day.