Local governments are at the forefront of demographic and social change. This is when effective and courageous leadership is needed to ensure that all people feel they are treated fairly. NGO networks, such as UNITED, are vital in the fight against racism and extremism in its various forms, but elected officials must, at the same time, address the realities and challenges in their societies. Our own research has shown that where there is engagement and dialogue between local government and its communities, and when there is a recognition and will to combat prejudice and unfair treatment, then there is a greater degree of trust towards government and meaningful participation from individuals and groups, creating a strong sense of belonging and responsibility, beneficial for all in society.
Nazia Hussain, Director, At Home in Europe, Open Society Initiative for Europe (OSIFE)