Cllr Joe Carlebach is the Conservative Vulnerable People’s Champion and a councillor for Avonmore and Brook Green Ward. this is his speech to the Hammersmith and Fulham Unity Rally which took place today in Ravenscourt Park.
I want to thank the Council for the invitation to speak today. It is a rare and unusual sight to have Labour and Conservative politicians gathered together, sharing the same platform. It is even more unusual to have them all sending out the same message, however this is one of those occasions.
We have all been appalled by the shocking and unpleasant rise in racism and xenophobia that we have seen across the UK and in our Borough in recent times.
I was appalled and saddened when I learnt of the disgraceful attack on the Polish Cultural Centre, when I heard about people being told to ‘go home’ just because they looked or sounded different, of women being spat on just because they were wearing the hijab, of anti semitic abuse being hurled at members of our Jewish community.
These are all unacceptable and disgraceful examples of the pain caused by racism that from time to time blights our nation until men and women of good character stand up and say NO MORE. As Martin Luther King said “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter”.
So let me be very clear, on behalf of my fellow Conservative Councillors, our Conservative MP, our activists and the many thousands of Conservative voters in this Borough and beyond: We unequivocally condemn all forms of racist abuse, bigotry, intolerance, and prejudice. These behaviours have no place in modern Britain and we will do everything in our power to eradicate this evil.
I am the eldest son of an immigrant. My father arrived in England just before the outbreak of the Second World War on the Kinder Transport. He was a child refugee from Nazi Germany. I have personally experienced the bitter taste of discrimination and I know what it feels like to be racially abused. As a result I have been active in the anti racist and anti fascist movements in this country for over forty years.
I know that if we stand together as one, irrespective of our country of origin, race, religion, disability or sexual orientation we can put an end to racism and bigotry. We can send it back to the darkness from where it originated and where it belongs.
Eli Wiesel the Nobel Laureate and holocaust survivor who passed away recently once said: “No human race is superior, no religious faith is inferior. All collective judgements are wrong.” So let me say again, we have a zero tolerance for all forms of racism, xenophobia and prejudice.
The diversity of our nation is what makes us great and brings us prosperity. We will not stand by or remain silent when we see acts of racism and discrimination.
Together we can and we will put an end to this evil.