OPEN LETTER TO COVENTRY COUNCILLORS, BABLAKE WARD
Thursday 16 January 2020
Dear Councillor Jaswant Birdi and Councillor Tarlochan Singh Jandu
I hope that this letter finds you both well. I write to you today, weary, emotionally exhausted, with an extremely heavy heart but with the hope that you will demonstrate your support to myself, as Vice-Chair of Coventry Pride and as one of your constituents, as well as in solidarity with LGBT+ individuals and allies within Bablake and across Coventry.
Further to Councillor Glenn William’s latest vile comments, we at Coventry Pride are calling for his immediate resignation as a Coventry Councillor. Cllr Glenn Williams has a history of racism, bigotry and homophobia. This is not reflective of the diverse community of Coventry, City of Peace & Reconciliation and City of Culture in 2021.
His hatred towards marginalised groups is well-known and well-documented. And it can no longer be tolerated. Everything that he seems to stand for is in direct contradiction with the values, aspirations and ambitions of the average Coventrian. And as a resident of Coundon, I am particularly distressed that this individual is Councillor for Bablake Ward.
I am sure that you share the same view and this open letter, which will be shared on all Coventry Pride channels, is my call for you to demonstrate your solidarity with the LGBT+ community and your morality and values as fellow human beings.
I know that our region’s leadership is very concerned with the diversity of our workforce and senior leaders. The excellent Leaders Like You report highlights the issues that disadvantaged and marginalised groups face. To quote the LGBT+ overview, ‘Barriers faced particularly by LGBT include: Lack of confidence; Having to conform to stereotypical machismo; Banter which should be considered homophobic; Use of language which is exclusionary.’ Read more: https://www.wmca.org.uk/media/2218/leadership-diversity-in-the-west-midlands_-002.pdf
Councillor Glenn Williams is clearly perpetuating many of the barriers stated above; it is indefensible that he remains one of the region’s senior leaders and an active member of Coventry City Council Ethics Committee (a body which should surely be investigating their ‘colleague’).
As a Black LGBT+ woman, my intersectionalities already place me in a vulnerable position. To think that one of my political representatives has disgust, hatred and disdain for me because of my race, my gender or sexuality is beyond demoralising. It is deeply distressing, and I know that I am not alone in feeling this.
And, I am sure, though you do not share all intersectionalities with me, as Men of Colour, you would not wish to see individuals who spread hate, continue to hold positions of power within your city either.
And so, I call for you both, to lead from the front. To demonstrate the courage of your conviction. To stand with us against bigotry. Because enough is enough. Hate is hate. Love is love. Coventry Pride calls on Cllr Glenn Williams to resign. Will you join us?
Nyasha Pitt, Vice-Chair, Coventry Pride