Adrian Murrell has relaunched a project called ‘The Black Experience’ and last night brought together representatives of major Preston groups to discuss racism.
The project is an opportunity for the police and members of the black community in Preston to sit down together to have an open and honest discussion about racism in our community with the goal of having a better understanding of each other and to bring everyone closer.
Adrian explains how ‘The Black Experience’ will work and what the intentions are:
“We are going to deliver it with the police and black communities so we can sit down together and have a conversation. What’s happening in America with Black Lives Matter, we don’t want that to happen over here. Before it gets like that, we are going to have a conversation about how we can all work together to improve relationships between the two,
“After that, we will open it up to other minority groups and the wider groups to come down on the course to sit down and talk. We talk about our differences all the time, why don’t we talk about our similarities? we can rebuild the damage that has been done in the last few weeks.”
Local councillors Freddie Bailey, Matthew Brown and Jonathan Greisdale were in attendance, along with representatives from Preston Police and Preston North End.
Freddie Bailey, Cabinet Member for Community Wealth Building for Preston City Council,
“It’s about including everyone in the economic development of Preston, we want to grow as a community. I think a lot of people need educating about Black Lives Matter,
“Preston has been a relatively tolerant place but we do need every member of the community to grow with the economic success, we need to use this to build back better.”
Attendee, Isa Cole, shared his opinion on what the goal of The Black Experience is:
“Now that the general public has caught up to what is actually happening to Black communities across the world, we have to ensure people understand that today’s racism is just the latest manifestation of century’s old oppression against Black people,
“Previously it was slavery, eugenics, apartheid, colonialism, now it is poor housing, education, employment, access to services and poverty in old age, alongside disproportionate experiences in the judicial process and the police brutality which has so focused everybody.
“It gives people an opportunity to view history from a different perspective; a Black perspective. Once people have had an opportunity to walk in another’s shoes, their experience, knowledge and empathy take over their instinctive assumption that everyone is equal.”
Attendee, Michael Skerritt, explains how important he thinks this project is and what can be achieved:
“The aim of the project is for us here in our community to make an effort to form better relationships with the Police and other communities within our area. The Police also wish to diversify their workforce so that it better represents the area they work from,
“The last thing we want is to have what’s happening on a regular basis in America to happen over here. It is not divisive or excluding, but focuses very much on our experiences in our lives. A small step and the willingness to listen, learn and adapt will affect massive change.”