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We stand together

Following the result of last month’s referendum, I want to reassure our friends and neighbours who come from the EU that your current rights and protections stand today as they did last week.

That is likely to remain the case for some time. The status of EU nationals will be protected as long as the UK remains a member of the EU, as it currently is.

Once talks on UK leaving the EU begin, no final deal could be reached for two years. As I write, those talks have not begun.

But I know that even though the legal situation may not have changed, too many of our communities nationally have faced abuse since the vote.

Across the country, the main brunt of this has been faced by residents from Eastern Europe, but hate has been directed to other groups too.

In London, we have seen completely outrageous graffiti posted on the Polish cultural centre in neighbouring Hammersmith & Fulham and local Police are trying to track a woman who racially abused a bus driver during the referendum campaign in Kilburn.

All Brent councillors, of all political persuasions, are united in their disgust of this rise in hate crime.

We will not stand for it and we will work with the police and other partners to push back against it.

Many of our councillors, like me, have lived in Brent their whole lives and raised our families here.

Just on Monday of this week, at the Full Council meeting, councillors on all political sides unanimously passed a motion condemning hate crime and celebrating our diversity.

We are proud to call Brent home because, although we are a borough of so many communities, we ultimately stand together as one. We care for each other and will stand up for each other.

So myself, and all of Brent’s councillors will do all we can to ensure that the borough remains a safe and pleasant place to live. It does not matter where you come from. We stand together.

All residents are invited to the Brent Civic Centre for an anti-hate crime event on 21 July. Let’s come together to maintain Brent as the open and tolerant place that it is.

It is an event which is part of our wider ‘It’s Time to Talk’ campaign, which aims to empower residents and community leaders to spot the signs of problem issues early-on and work with the authorities to tackle them.

I hope as many of you as possible will attend and take part, as we are always stronger when we are united and pull together to address the issues that we all face.

I also promise all our friends and neighbours from the EU that if there are any changes in circumstances, we will give you as much information as possible.

The next few years may include challenging times. There has been volatility in the economy since last Thursday which may go on for a while.

But I know that we in Brent will meet those challenges, together and as one people.

Written by Cllr Muhammed Butt

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