‘POCKETS of racism exist in Tynedale’ claim a group of anti-racism campaigners aiming to arrange a protest in Hexham.

Hexham Against Racism - Action Group was formed by residents of the Tyne Valley at the weekend following a contentious post on Facebook group Hexham Matters that called for a Black Lives Matter protest in the town.

The post was later deleted by the Facebook group’s admin after it attracted more than 1,000 comments and led to numerous arguments.

People on social media questioned whether the Tyne Valley was a racist area, however, group member Katie Osborne claimed there was certainly some evidence it existed.

She said: “In our rural Northumberland community, where the population is predominately white, the murder of the George Floyd in the USA, and the subsequent Black Lives Matter protests can seem far removed from our own lived realities.

“But this is not the case. A wealth of academic research shows that systemic and institutional racism still exists across the UK, and experiences of racism by local people of colour, highlight that there are urgent problems to address on our own doorstep.

“This is not to say that the people of Hexham are racist, as we know this is certainly not the case, but that there are pockets of racism that are unacceptable and must be addressed.”

A provisional date of Saturday, July 11 in Hexham has been set for the protest.

Katie added: “In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist. Therefore, we are calling on the people of Hexham to engage with the Black Lives Matter movement, to accept on our own uncomfortable history of racism in the UK and to educate ourselves about how best to strive for equality.

“We hope to have a day of action to express solidarity with BLM and the worldwide anti-racist movement. We would love to see you there. The anti-racist movement in Hexham needs support and will one day be seen as a proud aspect of our history.”