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'Little has changed,' say leading figures

SPEAKING OUT: Patsy Mckie

TWO LEADING members of Manchester’s black community say that there has been little progress since the Macpherson report.

Benji Reid, artisitic director of the Breaking Cycles Theatre Company and Patsy Mckie, founder of campaign group Mothers Against Violence, said that despite the report’s recommendations to tackle institutional racism, and the recent convictions of Gary Dobson and David Norris for the murder of Stephen Lawrence in April 1993, race relations have not improved.

Reid, 44, told The Voice: “Having encountered two racist incidents this year alone, seeing the BNP winning seats in the north west, and seeing black footballers being abused by other players, things seem to be much the same. You may be able to change the law but changing people’s attitudes is another story.”

Mckie agrees. She said: “I think people have to change, I don’t think a law or a report can make a difference in the community. It’s people who make the difference.

“The politicians are not prepared to get their hands dirty, and there aren’t enough resources. I believe black people need to rise up when they see a problem and not just be apathetic about the situation and complain and do nothing.”

Mckie added: “In some ways there has been a little bit of change but there will always be police who think they can do what they want to do because they have a bit of authority. "

“But if you just complain and don’t do anything about it then nothing will change. It’s no use moaning and groaning. I’m not into moaning and groaning. I’m into doing something about it. I’m willing to lay my life down for what I believe.”

According to a Voice poll, 83 percent of readers believe that race relations have not improved since the Macpherson report was published in February 1999.

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