This past weekend I caught a brief story on CBC news about how UK Prime Minster David Cameron is considering assistance from New York Police Commissioner and Los Angeles police chief Bill Bratton to help address the violence that has shaken cities in England this month.
Whether this partnership proceeds or not, or the merit of it, is not what struck me as I listened to the news. What caught my attention was the short clip of David Cameron, where he said that this was about “dealing with people that we have ignored for too long.” That caught my attention.
Think about it: people who feel valued and acknolwedged, have enough to eat, have meaningful work, and feel a sense of agency and hope don’t riot.
It was refreshing to hear the Prime Minister of a country recognize the impact of marginalization. It shows recognition and thoughtfulness about the existence and impact of systemic discrimination.
It’s an important place to start. I hope that David Cameron can lead his party and country to look inward, and reach out to communities to hear their realities – in order to find the sources of marginalization and the systemic remedies that will help communities not only heal, but see and experience a brighter future where their cultural & ethnic origins, skin colour, or faith don’t stack against them.
We could learn a thing or two here in Canada, just from his comment alone.
copyright 2011 Annemarie Shrouder