Published: 11:20, 13 July 2021
| Updated: 11:21, 13 July 2021
Gravesham council is inviting to people to show solidarity against racism at a specially arranged community event this afternoon.
People from around Gravesend are invited to Community Square at 4.30pm for the gathering, which has been organised in response to racist abuse directed at England footballers in the wake of England's loss to Italy on Sunday night.
"The vast majority of right-thinking people, whether they are football fans or not, are appalled by the behaviour of a minority who hide behind a keyboard to air unacceptable comments and views," said the council in a statement. "Racism has no place in sport or in society in general.
"Here in Gravesham we are proud of the way our diverse communities work together for the greater good of the Borough."
Those invited to Community Square will be able to take part in a photo opportunity to show the vast majority of fans have no time for racist and divisive behaviour.
Gurvinder Sandher of Cohesion Plus said: “I am proud to support the England team and the work we do in the Borough is all about bringing communities together to celebrate our shared values.
“We should be proud of the diversity of our England team as well as the diversity of our Borough and our nation.
“I strongly condemn the vile racist abuse that some of our players have been subjected to. It's important that we stand together as one community to not only reject racism but to also call it out when you hear and see it.”
Cllr Shane Mochrie-Cox, Gravesham Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Community and Leisure, said: “As well as calling out racism we also want to highlight that true England fans do not use the rollercoaster of success or defeat of the national men’s football team as an excuse for violence, criminal behaviour and especially domestic abuse within Gravesham or further afield.
“None of these behaviours are welcome in Gravesham. We are one community and wish to celebrate both the diversity of Gravesham and are proud of the leadership that the England men’s football team has shown in this tournament.”
If you can't make it to Community Square tomorrow but want to show your support, take a picture of yourself in England colours and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org