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Brent: A community united

I am sure that we will all have been moved by the seventieth anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, and the televised images from earlier this week of the camp where, during WW2, Nazi soldiers mercilessly murdered over one million Jews.

It will never cease to horrify me just how one group of people, in an era not so long ago, set out to completely wipe another race off the face of this earth.

The anniversary made me reflect upon more recent atrocities, such as the Peshawar School massacre just before Christmas, where 145 people were murdered, and the recent massacre at the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

It deeply saddens me just how, 70 years after the Holocaust, there are still people in the world who still seek to focus on our differences and what separates people, rather than focus on what joins us all together.

Thankfully, Brent is a very diverse and tolerant community, where those who live here share the same values and respect for one another.

This was ever so clearly demonstrated on Tuesday of this week, when over 300 members of the community from all faiths and backgrounds came together for this year’s Holocaust and Genocide Memorial Day Service at Brent Civic Centre, which remembered not only the Holocaust in WW2, but other genocides also, including Rwanda in the 1990s. What it showed, was that Brent is united borough. We are all united by our sense of community, of humanity and compassion.

We are also joined together by our common goals, such as wanting the best education possible for our children; wanting proper care for vulnerable members of our community; and ensuring that those who fall upon desperate economic times can receive the help that they need from society.

But we are not without our challenges. Cuts in council funding from central government mean that many of those services that our residents rely on and value are under threat.

The simple truth is that the way in which council services used to be provided in the past, can no longer be sustained. We need to find new and innovative ways of ensuring that our shared goals can still be achieved.

These cuts will have a deep affect on our borough, but every resident has a part to play in ensuring that the impact is kept to a minimum. Whether, for example, it is in putting yourself forward for a voluntary role, to checking in on an elderly neighbour to help them retain their independence, or by simply taking part in a consultation event. There is an opportunity for everyone to do their bit.

I’d ask of everyone in the borough to never forget our shared values. Let us all keep pulling together in the same direction to achieve our common goals. And let’s ask not what Brent can do for us, but what together, we can all do for Brent.

Written by Cllr Muhammed Butt