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2008 National Black Members' Conference
21 December 2007

Conference notes the recent spate of knife, gang and gun-related murders of Black youths is deeply concerning. However, former Prime Minister, Tony Blair’s comments that Black communities fail to denounce these crimes and that Black culture is responsible for these tragedies is completely wrong.

Black community groups and activists have highlighted that government response to their requests for resources to address this issue have been entirely inadequate.

Conference believes that Black communities should not be used as scapegoats for the failure of government to effectively tackle the causes of gun crime.

Blair’s comments also fails you explain why there are 3.5 times as many gun and knife murders in predominately white Strathclyde than anywhere else in Britain.

Conference further believes recent reports highlight that Britain has the highest rate of child poverty in Europe. This obviously has a disproportionate effect and impact on Black communities, while institutional racism and discrimination in education and employment marginalises and alienates Black youth. Inadequate funding of local youth services mean that young Black people have less access to structured recreation and employment opportunities.

Black communities have consistently denounced gun crime and are working hard to find solutions. Condemnation and portioning blame on Black culture as the cause of gun crime and gang violence does not deal with the issues which are contributing to the actions of a minority within Black communities. What is need is adequate support for public services for Black communities instead of new laws and over-zealous policing of Black communities which may lead to an escalation of police harassment of young Black people, especially young Black men.

Conference instructs the NBMC to work with the NEC to:

1.Ensure that the issues raised are worked into and supported by UNISON community cohesion strategy.

2.Continue supporting the work being undertaken by the National Labour Link Committee to deal with gun crime.

3.Support Black Community initiatives and campaigns to tackle gun and knife crime.

4.Work with, and support, Black community groups and organisations such as 100 Black Men, the National Black Police Association and the National Union of Students (NUS) Black Students’ Campaign.