SOME councillors could take the knee at a meeting tonight to pay respects to all those who have died through discrimination.

The idea has come from Labour group leader Jim Grant, who wants to add power to a motion in front of members of Swindon Borough Council.

Proposed by Conservative members Bazil Solomon and Robert Jandy, it says: “Swindon has a rich tradition of attracting and welcoming people from all backgrounds regardless of their place of origin, race, religion, beliefs, age, gender, sexual orientation or disability.

"We are proud of our town’s diversity with its strong community relations reflected in events such as Pride, the Mela, Polish Day, the Goan, Nepalese and Bangladeshi festivals, and also the Indian and Caribbean festivals.”

It says people should be able to protest, but the police must be able to uphold the law and urges the authority to implement the 2010 Equality Act.

It added: “The council resolves to ensure all views are heard and everyone is treated equally.”

Coun Grant has asked mayor Garry Perkins to hold a minute’s silence before the motion is heard and debated in honour of all those who have lost their lives through racism and discrimination.

His letter to the mayor said: “This will allow council to show it respect for all those who have lost their lives because of discrimination and related issues throughout history.

“The minute’s silence will also allow those members who wish to take the knee but we only expect all members to respect the minute's silence."

Coun Grant told the Adver: “It is a gesture – but the motion is a gesture really. But it adds to it. It allows us all to remember those who have lost their lives through this.

“All the members will be at home attending over the web, so those that wish to take the knee will have to arrange their camera to show it, if they want to be seen.”

Coun Perkins has agreed to the request but prefers to have the silence at the start of the meeting.

He said: “I’m very happy for it to go ahead, but I’d prefer it to be at the start of the meeting – that’s where we normally have minute’s silences on other occasions.

“It would avoid it getting tangled up in any political arguments – the motion isn’t very political, but people will have things to say."

“I think if it’s about paying our respects it would be better to do it at the start of the meeting.”

The meeting begins at 7pm tonight and there will be a link available from the meeting agenda page on to allow the public to attend.

What does taking the knee mean?

Why has kneeling on one knee become synonymous with the Black Lives Matter protest movement? And why is it called taking a knee?

Both the phrase and the practice come from sports in the United States.

When players huddle round their coach for instructions or a pep talk, they are often told to take a knee and they kneel. This is more comfortable on one knee and allows the coach to be seen and heard by everyone.

As a symbol of protest it was begun by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016.

He didn’t stand for the playing of the US anthem in a silent protest against what he saw as police brutality against black people in the US, and institutionalised prejudice.

After a couple of games he changed from sitting down to kneeling. A number of players on his and other teams joined in the practice, which became controversial, until it was banned by the NFL.

That decision was reversed recently and leagues bosses apologised.

After the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May protests about police discrimination and racism in general have seen thousands of people kneel in a gesture that has become entwined with the Black Lives Matter movement.

When Premier League games began again after lockdown players wore Black Lives Matter badges on their shirts and all kneel just after the whistle blows for kick-off.

Foreign secretary Dominic Raab was criticised when he said he wouldn’t take a knee, adding he thought it was a submissive gesture which had been taken from the TV show Game of Thrones.