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Thursday 23rd June was a day of historic significance for the United Kingdom: in a closely contested referendum the UK voted to leave the European Union. Tensions have run high on both sides of the debate and the focus upon migration as a key consideration has had a profound impact upon many EU citizens currently living in the UK.
The initial implications of 'Brexit' will not be clear for some weeks and months to come as the government reforms following the Prime Minister's resignation and develops a strategy for managing the transition. However, as a nation the work begins now: bridging the 'leave/remain' divides that have fragmented our societies on both a local and national level.
At Dorset Race Equality Council we appeal to all members of our community to proceed in a spirit of mutual respect: seeking dialogue and understanding of the complex arguments upon which voters have based their choices. Moreover, we call upon all members of the community to be mindful of the thousands of EU citizens currently resident in Dorset, who may not have had the opportunity to vote, but are nevertheless impacted by the result of the referendum.
We recognise that throughout the referendum campaign emotive language and images have been used around the issue of migration: some of which have been widely considered to incite racism against migrants living in our communities. We have also been approached by individuals who feel targeted by some referendum campaign materials and perceive increased hostility from certain members of the community as they go about their daily lives.
Dorset Race Equality Council recognises the important contribution that migrants make to our local economy and community and emphatically rejects any form of hostility towards an individual or group upon the basis of their migratory status. We encourage anyone who experiences any such form of racism or discrimination to report their experiences to Dorset Police and/or approach us for advice and support.