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New focus on doing community work: Mohammad Fayyaz

July 13, 2020 3:30 PM
By Mohammad Fayyaz in Your Chesham

Mohammad Fayyaz

"I can't breathe!" echoed around the world. These were George Floyd's last words as he was being murdered by a police officer in Minneapolis. The policeman knelt on Floyd's throat for nine minutes when he arrested him after a local store cashier alleged he had passed a dud $20 note. Three other policemen stood by and did nothing to stop it.

Let us hope that the shock waves from this brutal murder really do bring about some positive changes across the globe. The US has a long history of racism and although slavery ended more than 150 years ago, an equal right continues to be an issue in many states. Martin Luther King, who spearheaded the civil rights movement in the 1960s, was planning a national occupation of Washington DC when he was murdered in Memphis, Tennessee.

It would be far too easy for us who live here in Britain to be complacent. Although we do not have the overt racism of the USA, here it can be more like the three cops who did nothing. Passive racism is far more damaging because it stops people reaching their potential, either in education, employment, health or even access to public services.

The murder of George Floyd has become a global symbol of racial injustice. It is easy for us to think that this event is not relevant to us, but it is. While there are those in our society that are disadvantaged by their race or colour, it is relevant. Passive racism is hard to see, we can only see the outcomes of under achievement, lost opportunity, or being disadvantaged.

We are very fortunate to live here in Britain and more specifically to live in Chesham. I found the community of Chesham both generous and welcoming when I arrived more than 50 years ago from Pakistan with my parents. Having lived here happily raising my family, enjoyed my career, been privileged to serve as a Town Councillor and to become Mayor, Chesham people have welcomed and treated me well. We must all continue to be kind to each other as members of not just the local community but also the global village.

Cllr Mohammad Fayyaz

Asheridge Vale Ward

mo.fayyaz@hotmail.co.uk

This article is reproduced with permission from Your Chesham magazine. The magazine is available at https://en.calameo.com/read/0052756022c71c42a57cb