'Will Black Boy Lane ever be renamed?'
Vivek Lehal, Haringey Stand Up To Racism
- Credit: PA
An open letter to Cllr Peray Ahmet, leader of Haringey Council.
Nearly a year and a half has passed since a full council meeting proposed to rename Black Boy Lane in Tottenham.
However, that proposal has been frustrated and no steps have been taken to implement it. Instead, a report from your office has buried the name change into a convoluted and endless "strategic framework" of panels, processes, boards and "conversations", such that there is no discernible route or timeline for the name change to ever occur. Is the aim to prevent Black Boy Lane being renamed?
There is a current consultation on Haringey's Renaming Black Boy Lane page – with drop-in sessions at St Ann’s Library and the Chestnuts Community Centre – but it has been nearly 18 months and this third consultation (nearly a year since the first) is just further prevarication.
It is impossible not to view the council’s failure to rename Black Boy Lane against the context of the so called “culture war” a crude attempt to undermine progressive changes, led by a right-wing Tory government and their allies.
The Black Lives Matter movement, energised by the murder of George Floyd and against the backdrop of the racial inequalities exposed by the pandemic, has raised many questions about the presentation of the history of racism in the UK and the use of monuments, statues, street names and the naming of public buildings.
Haringey Council has an opportunity to take a step forward on this blatant and offensive example and rename the street in honour of someone who did so much for our community.
Haringey is a multi-ethnic and multicultural borough with a proud history of challenging racism.
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As part of Haringey’s contribution to changes demanded by the Black Lives Matter movement, I call on you to expedite the renaming of Black Boy Lane without any further delay. Either this council is part of the fight against racism, or it is part of the problem. The time to decide is now, the time to stand up to racism is now.
I look forward to your response and would welcome the opportunity to discuss this matter with you directly.
Vivek Lehal is secretary of Haringey Stand Up To Racism.