Baha'i News -- Groups unite to tackle racism Groups unite to tackle racism

Groups unite to tackle racism

A WIDE variety of local organisations has been involved in writing a new action plan.

Members of the race relations consultative group include the Baha’I community, police, council, children’s panel, victim support, job centre, the young offenders’ institution, Islamic society, health board, Procurator Fiscal, Chinese association and Turkish Scottish society.

Representatives of many of these groups were present at Monday’s launch to give their views on the difference it will make in the region.

And also attending was Pakistani vice-consul, Glasgow-based Mushtaq Ahmed.

He said: “Racism has always been a big issue but we believe in equality for all human beings, especially after September 11.

“This plan will help encourage contact between different communities.”

Farooq Ahmed from Dumfries has sat on the consultative group from the outset of the project.

He said: “This will make a big difference. I have been involved in this from day one and I know it will make a difference for the future.”

The council has been one of the main players in getting the document set up, and believes it will provide a huge boost for the area.

Much work on the project has been carried out by Melinda Dolan. She said: “There are a few different parts to the document.

“One is about raising awareness of the different cultures and traditions of various groups.

“It is important that people understand the multicultural balance. It is about partnership, working and building bridges between communities and cultures.”

Andrew Campbell

“It is aimed at tackling racism, and will look at different communities and what their needs are.“

Convener Andrew Campbell said: “It is important that people understand the multicultural balance.

“It is about partnership working and building bridges between communities and cultures.

”We don’t have a big population of ethnic minorities in Dumfries and Galloway, but making people aware is important.”

The document marks the starting point of a range of initiatives to be set up in the region with these aims firmly in mind.

Chief executive Phil Jones said: “The initiatives and joint work within communities in Dumfries and Galloway contributes to the diverse way of life that this region can so rightly be proud of.

“Much of this has been taken forward by the various community groups because they feel it’s the right thing to do.

“This is coming ahead of any legal requirements in this area.”

Police have been heavily involved from the outset, with much work on the project being set up by former chief constable Willie Rae.

His successor David Strang said: “We’re happy to work with our partners to improve racial equality within Dumfries and Galloway.

“Part of the problem lies in people’s unwitting mistakes through lack of awareness, so part of this will see awareness of the issues affecting ethnic minority communities in the region.

“It’s something that has to be addressed.

©Copyright 2002, Dumfries and Galloway Standard (Scotland)

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