A major conference on community relations and hate crime in the wake of the Brexit vote is to take place in the West Midlands later this month.
The event will take place at Warwick University on Friday March 24 and will involve senior figures from the fields of politics, policing, education and employment, plus a wide range of community organisations.
It has been organised by West Midlands Together, a cross-party group formed by MEPs Anthea McIntyre and Neena Gill in response to evidence of a spike in racial and religious hate crime in the weeks following the June 23 EU referendum.
Details of the conference were agreed at a meeting of the West Midlands Together steering group in West Bromwich today (Friday).
Miss McIntyre, Conservative MEP for the West Midlands and Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party, said: “Our aim is to get to grips with the increase in racism and intolerance, to understand the nature of what is happening and to examine ways of offering both protection and reassurance to minority groups who may feel targeted.”
Ms Gill, Labour MEP for the West Midlands, said: “We know that most people in this country are welcoming to minority populations and want to treat them in a friendly and fair way. Some people seem to think the referendum result has given them a licence for intolerance.
“We cannot let a few hot-heads use the Brexit vote as their excuse to abuse and attack others.”
Former Liberal Democrat MEP Phil Benyon, who joined the steering group today, said: “A whole range of community groups representing European, Asian and Afro-Caribbean communities will be at the conference – and we want them to know that the decent people of this country will not stand by and see them marginalised or menaced.”
Provisional details of the March 24 conference are attached. Please get in touch if your media organisation wishes attend.