Amid a surge in opposition to systemic racism underway across the US, UK and beyond, and championed by the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, community members in Epsom and Ewell are making their voices heard in a defence of equality and defiance of xenophobia.

In recent weeks, a new movement under the name Epsom and Ewell - We Stand Together has emerged, encouraging businesses and organizations in the borough to join in their message of inclusivity and firm opposition to discrimination.

Dozens of shops and centres have since displayed the group’s posters, most recently on August 31 Bank Holiday with a call to “bank” on them to be anti-racist.

A spokesperson for the campaign told the Epsom Comet the initiative was designed to “raise awareness about the initiative and the fact that there is still work to be done around racism / inequality in the area.”

“It really was great to see so many local businesses get involved. We are looking forward to starting work on the main goals of the initiative in the months to come,” they added.

Meanwhile, the fledging group who are largely social-media based have attracted the attention and praise of Epsom and Ewell Borough Council (EEBC).

At a recent full council meeting, councillors voted a motion of support for the organization.

“We proudly support the We Stand Together campaign and call on all borough residents and businesses to be anti-racist and to stand up against racism in all its forms,” a motion proposed by Councillors Hannah Dalton and Alex Coley read.

“Our council recently gave its full support to We Stand Together and...we strongly encourage others to join us and be a part of We Stand Together...”

Meanwhile, Epsom Hospital have also signalled their support for the growing anti-racist sentiments gaining moment in the borough.

The hospital recently held it’s first ever digital Annual Public Meeting amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and placed anti-racism at the heart of the proceedings.

Included on the agenda were both the publication of the Trust’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Annual Report and a grand unveiling of a new equality and anti-racism pledge in the form of a massive banner hung on the facade of the hospital itself.

The banner included portraits of intensive care healthcare workers and words describing the hospital’s commitment to anti-racism.

NHS London’s Director of Workforce Race Equality Yvonne Coghill described the banner as “brilliant” in a short statement in which she also praised the leadership of Epsom-St Helier Chief Executive Daniel Elkeles on the issue:

“Your banner says absolutely everything there is to say about our NHS, about diversity and the importance of inclusion. The hope and the wish going forward is that all staff, regardless of background, will be treated fairly in our NHS,” she said.