A review of monuments, buildings and street names has been launched by Stroud District Council to ensure they represent Stroud’s inclusive values in light of the Black Lives Matter movement and the attention it brought to on-going racism in the UK.
This will include a public consultation on the statue named ‘Blackboy Clock’ and the building it is situated on, ‘Blackboy House,’ Stroud, which a council report described as coming about “directly or indirectly through the influence of slavery and colonialism.”
Residents have also been asked to nominate names of people, particularly from under-represented groups, who the district should celebrate.
“In 2020, the Black Lives Matter movement brought to the world’s attention important issues relating to on-going racism in society,” said a spokesperson for Stroud District Council.
“An important issue that was raised related to ensuring that commemorations of history are appropriate to the current time, and the Council committed to consult with the community on any street names, buildings and statues within the district that may be considered offensive.”
Feedback from the consultation will be used to help determine Stroud District Council’s approach to public spaces.
A review panel made up of community representatives, councillors and historians will review the findings to determine any action that should be taken.
This could result in relocation, the addition of explanatory information, renaming or removal.
“We want to ensure that statues and commemorations, as well as the names of streets and buildings, are representative of local people’s values and those of a modern, inclusive Council,” said Cllr Natalie Bennett who chairs the Review Panel.
“We have an opportunity to celebrate the diverse communities which make up the Stroud District and to recognise the achievements of people from black, Asian and ethnically diverse communities and from other underrepresented groups that may have been overlooked in the past.
“Hearing from people through this consultation about what’s important to them will help us achieve this.”
The news comes as Stroud District Council publishes their draft Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy for public comment until September 1.
“Your feedback is really important so please get involved,” said Cllr Norman Kay, Chair of the Council’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Working Group.
“We need to hear from as many people as possible in the district.”
The draft policy proposes how the council will act on equality, diversity and inclusion over the next four years and details the work the council have committed to undertake from April 2021 – March 2022.