City comes together to underline its commitment to tackling racism

A month on from Leeds City Council’s #8for8 initiative, civic leaders and Leeds sporting legends have come together and reaffirmed their commitment to work together to end racism and discrimination.

Joining Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council and Tom Riordan, the council’s chief executive, to show their support to tackling racism and injustice are over 80 civic leaders representing key institutions and sectors including education, health, business, sport, the third sector, faith and the arts in the city.

Civic leaders and Leeds sporting legends have come together to issue a joint statement to express their commitment to work together to end racism and discrimination.

Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council and Tom Riordan, the council’s chief executive, are joined by over 80 civic leaders representing key institutions and sectors including education, health, business, sport, the third sector, faith and the arts to reaffirm their commitment to ensuring racism has no place in Leeds.

Councillor Judith Blake Leader of Leeds City Council, said: “It’s fantastic to see so many local leaders, including some famous faces, getting behind our call for an end to racism and discrimination. Racism will not be tolerated in Leeds and this statement serves as a strong reminder of the need to continue to work together to create a fairer and more equal city for everybody.”

Tom Riordan, Chief Executive of Leeds City Council, added: “We all have a role to play in challenging racism and I would encourage organisations across Leeds to think about positive action they can take in their own organisations and communities, and to publicise their next steps. As the local authority we are committed to taking the lead on this to ensure that the current global attention on racial inequality results in positive change for the people of Leeds.”

The statement reads:

“As leaders in Leeds, we are horrified at the killing of George Floyd by police officers in the United States. We feel the pain, and hear the outrage, of all those facing injustice. We stand against racism and discrimination in all its forms.

 “Leeds is a richly diverse and multicultural city, something that we consider to be one of our key strengths. We are proud to work with fantastic individuals, communities and organisations that work tirelessly to create a fairer city for everybody.

 “As civic leaders we are committed to building a city in which everyone feels safe, valued and that they belong. While we are proud that Leeds is overwhelmingly a welcoming city, we recognise that unfortunately racism and discrimination still exists. Everybody in Leeds has a part to play to challenge racism and prejudice wherever we find it.

 “The tragic and appalling death of George Floyd has opened passionate conversations across the world about racism in our societies. In Leeds we welcome conversations about how, as a city, we can do more to eradicate racism and discrimination and to support those who have experienced it. This also requires honest conversations about our own history as a city, and how we wish to remember and relate to our past.

 “Eradicating racism and discrimination is everybody’s business. We stand with all those in Leeds who are working peacefully to support our communities, challenge injustices and create a fairer society. Together we will ensure that racism has no place in Leeds.”

Signed

Councillor Judith Blake CBE

Leader

Leeds City Council

Tom Riordan CBE

Chief Executive

Leeds City Council

Nicola Adams OBE, former professional boxer and double Olympic champion

Angus Kinnear, CEO, Leeds United

Liam Cooper, Club Captain, Leeds United

Kevin Sinfield MBE, Director of Rugby, Leeds Rhinos

Luke Gale, Captain, Leeds Rhinos

Bob Bowman QPM, Chief Operating Officer, Leeds Rhinos Foundation

Mark Arthur, CEO, The Yorkshire County Cricket Club

Roger Hutton, Chair, The Yorkshire County Cricket Club

Steve Patterson, Club Captain, The Yorkshire County Cricket Club

The Rt Revd Nicholas Baines, Bishop of Leeds

Kay Mellor OBE, writer, director and Managing Director, Rollem Production Company

Alan Langlands, Vice Chancellor, The University of Leeds

Professor Peter Slee, Vice Chancellor, Leeds Beckett University

Thea Stein, Chief Executive, Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust

Brodie Clark CBE, Interim Chair, Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust

Linda Pollard, Chair, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Julian Hartley, Chief Executive Officer, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Dr Sara Munro, Chief Executive Officer, Leeds & York Partnership NHS Trust

Professor Sue Proctor, Chair, Leeds & York Partnership NHS Trust

Tim Ryley, Chief Executive Officer, NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group

Sarah Wilkinson, Chief Executive Officer, NHS Digital

James Mason, Chief Executive, Welcome to Yorkshire

Andrew Cooper, Chief Executive, LeedsBID

Prew Lumley, Chair, LeedsBID

Kully Thiarai, Creative Director, Leeds 2023

James Brining & Robin Hawkes, Joint Chief Executives, Leeds Playhouse

Richard Mantle, General Director, Opera North

Charis Charles, Executive Director, Phoenix Dance Theatre

Sharon Watson, CEO & Principal, Northern School of Contemporary Dance

Mark Skipper DL, Chief Executive, Northern Ballet

Laurence Sillars, Head of the Henry Moore Institute

Adam Gatehouse, Artistic Director, Leeds International Piano Competition

Fiona Sinclair, CEO, Leeds International Piano Competition

Bryony Bond, Director, The Tetley

Jane Marriott, Director, Harewood House Trust

Mike Tomlinson, CEO, Jane Tomlinson’s Run For All

Colin Booth OBE, Chief Executive, Luminate Education Group

Dr Shaid Mahmood, Chair, Luminate Education Group

Derek Whitehead, Principal & CEO, Leeds College of Building

Gerry Godley, Principal & Managing Director, Leeds College of Music

Liz Barber, Chief Executive Officer, Yorkshire Water

Catherine Rutter, Group Ambassador for Yorkshire and The Humber, Lloyds Banking Group

Margaret Parkes, Interim CEO, first direct

Liz Needleman, Group Regional Director North, BT

Euan West, Leeds office senior partner, KPMG

Wayne Topley, Chairman, Leeds Hotels and Venues Association

Barney Mynott, Development Manager, Federation of Small Businesses

Matthew Walker, Chief Executive, Leeds Federated Housing Association

Chris Hollins, Chair, Voluntary Action Leeds

Kate Hainsworth, CEO, Leeds Community Foundation

Duncan Wells, Yorkshire and Humberside Regional Manager, British Refugee Council

John Battle, Chair, David Oluwale Memorial Association

Helen Kemp, Chief Executive, Leeds Mind

Sawsan Zaza, Director, DAMASQ

Ruth Kettle, CEO, Inspire North

Rifhat Malik MBE, Project Manager, Give a Gift Charity

Karen Pearse, Director, Positive Action For Refugees and Asylum Seekers

Daniel Mundet, Chief Executive, PATH Yorkshire

Annette Morris, Project Worker, Leeds BME Hub

Alison Lowe, Chief Executive, Touchstone

Neal Heard, Housing Manager, Abigail Housing

Flavia Docherty, Director, Getaway Girls

Kathryn Ashworth, Chief Executive, Solace

Rose Simkins, Chief Executive, Stop Hate UK

Bill Urry, Chair, Leeds Asylum Seekers Support Network - LASSN 

Shanaz Gul, Operations Director, Hamara Healthy Living Centre

Keranjeet Kaur Virdee, CEO & Artistic Director, South Asian Arts-uk (SAA-uk)

Alan Lane, Artistic Director, Slung Low

whiskas / Sam Nicholls, Director, Music:Leeds

Rod Dixon, Artistic Director, Red Ladder Theatre Company

Jack Simpson, Owner, Hyde Park Book Club / Eiger Studios

Simon Fogal, Director/ Founder, Leeds Indie Food and Chapter 81

John S. Summerwill, Co-Chair, Concord Leeds Interfaith Fellowship

Gurmukh Singh Deagon, Sikh Sangat Community Leeds

Dr Jasjit Singh, Research and Policy Lead, Sikh Alliance Yorkshire

Lisa Baker, President, Leeds Jewish Representative Council

Qari Muhammad Asim MBE, Senior Imam, Makkah Mosque Leeds

Reverend Heston Groenewald, Vicar of All Hallows Church Leeds

Reverend Hannah Lievesley, Vicar of St Chad’s Church, Far Headingley

Reverend Nigel Wright, Vicar of St Edmund's, Roundhay

Reverend Joanna Seabourne, Area Dean, Headingley

Reverend Tony Whatmough, Vicar of St. Michael and All Angels’ Church, Headingley

Reverend Tom Lusty, Vicar of St Giles Church, Bramhope

Reverend Mark Harlow, Vicar of St Paul’s Church, Ireland Wood

Graham Buttanshaw, Vicar of Otley Parish Church

Rachel Ford, Assistant Curate, St Margaret’s Church, Horsforth

Nick Lattimer, Associate Vicar, St Matts Church Leeds

Leaders representing all the political groups in Leeds City Council have also expressed their support for a city-wide effort to end racism and discrimination.

Councillor Judith Blake, Councillor Andrew Carter, Councillor Stewart Golton, Councillor David Blackburn, Councillor Robert Finnigan and Councillor Mark Dobson, said:

 “As Group Leaders of Leeds City Council, we are horrified at the killing of George Floyd by police officers in the United States. We feel the pain, and hear the outrage, of all those facing injustice. We stand against racism and discrimination in all its forms.

“Leeds is a richly diverse and multicultural city, something that we consider to be one of our key strengths. We are proud to work with fantastic individuals, communities and organisations that work tirelessly to create a fairer city for everybody.

“As Group Leaders we are committed to building a city in which everyone feels safe, valued and that they belong. While we are proud that Leeds is overwhelmingly a welcoming city, we recognise that unfortunately racism and discrimination still exists. Everybody in Leeds has a part to play to challenge racism and prejudice wherever we find it.

“The tragic and appalling death of George Floyd has opened passionate conversations across the world about racism in our societies. In Leeds we welcome conversations about how, as a city, we can do more to eradicate racism and discrimination and to support those who have experienced it. This also requires honest conversations about our own history as a city, and how we wish to remember and relate to our past. We must respect the history we have by ensuring that we teach forthcoming generations what has gone before in order to remind us why we have our freedom today.

“Eradicating racism and discrimination is everybody’s business. We stand with all those in Leeds who are working peacefully to support our communities, challenge injustices and create a fairer society. We are pleased with the peaceful nature of protests in Leeds so far, however, we are clear we will not tolerate gratuitous attacks on the Police seen elsewhere or acts of wilful criminal damage.

“Together we will ensure that racism has no place in Leeds.”

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