We all have a part to play in combating racism

Sheriff of Norwich, Dr Marian Prinsley. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

Sheriff of Norwich, Dr Marian Prinsley. Picture: Victoria Pertusa - Credit: Archant

The people of Norfolk have a rich and diverse history, settling here over many centuries from continental Europe.

Indeed, Norfolk could be considered the first truly international county, we all know of our important Roman heritage and of the Dutch and French immigrants bringing a whole swathe of new skills to the county. Such richness of diversity presents differently in the 21st century but to see how valuable our ethnic diversity is, just look at our hospitals and the care sector.

We applaud the EDP for the candid coverage of racism and anti-Semitism at a local school.

Mr Griffiths, Headmaster of Norwich School, will hopefully do whatever he can to address the problem and call to account those who are responsible, as well as putting in strategies to support the students and to educate staff and pupils.

But he is quite correct that the problem is not confined to his school or to any other school in the county. It is in the homes, the families, and the organisations and institutions across Norfolk that racism should be tackled.

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During our year as Sheriff and Consort, it has been an honour and a privilege to speak to so many people, but nothing has shocked us more than the racist incidents we have heard of both in the city and in the county.

Racism exists here, more so than many would believe. We all have a part to play in combating it, and systemic change is needed in Norfolk.

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We need to find more ways of celebrating our cultural, religious, and ethnic diversity and to acknowledge the huge benefits this brings to all of us as people. We should all be striving towards a more tolerant and just society where all people are valued equally.

Why not stop for a moment and think about how it feels, to be the subject of a racist comment, to be left standing at the roadside by a taxi or bus or to feel excluded from life opportunities because of the colour of your skin. We like to call this the “In Your Shoes Test”.

Norfolk is a brilliant place to live and work. Let’s work together to make it a brilliant place for everyone.

“You shall love your neighbour as yourself” (Leviticus 19:9-17).

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