We have signed an open letter with partners in Exeter – the University of Exeter, Exeter City Council, Devon and Cornwall Police and Exeter College – on tackling hate crime and racism in our community, particularly in light of recent incidents in relation to coronavirus. This is a time when we must work together and support each other – not create more division and hurt.
We will stand together to tackle hate crime and hateful people, and in equal measure promote and celebrate diversity to ensure that love and respect always conquers hate. Please work with us and support us to make Exeter the best city to live in the world.
Read the letter in full:
We are proud of our diverse community in Exeter and the huge benefits people from around the world bring to our city and society. Regardless of race, background, belief or nationality everyone has a right to thrive in Exeter and feel welcome in the place they have made their home.
We know that the vast majority of people in Exeter share these values and that for most people Exeter is a warm, friendly and welcoming community. Indeed it is why Exeter is one of the fastest growing cities in the UK and people are choosing to come here from all over the world to live a better life.
It is in this context that we find the recent incidents of hate crime and racism to be so vile and abhorrent. The attacks on people in recent weeks in relation to coronavirus on the basis of ethnicity are cowardly and ignorant. Coronavirus is not associated with any one ethnic group or community, and we are all just as likely to get the virus as each other. In particular, we are very disturbed by the assumption that Chinese, Asian or Italian individuals in Exeter are responsible for the spread of the virus. They are not. This is a time when we must work together and support each other – not create more division and hurt.
As leading organisations in our community we wanted to send a message of unity and partnership so that everyone knows that we will stand together to tackle hate crime and hateful people. We want people who experience hateful and racist abuse to report it, get the support they need and ensure those who commit these crimes face justice. We will do everything in our powers to achieve this.
In equal measure, we will work closer together to build an inclusive and welcoming community for everyone so that we promote and celebrate diversity and ensure that love and respect always conquers hate.
Please work with us and support us to make Exeter the best city to live in the world.
- Professor Sir Steve Smith, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Exeter
- Adrian Harris, Medical Director at the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust
- John Laramy, Principal and Chief Executive of Exeter College
- Karime Hassan, Chief Executive & Growth Director, Exeter City Council & Phil Bialyk, Leader of Exeter City Council
- Shaun Sawyer, Chief Constable at Devon and Cornwall Police