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Eradicating Race Inequality

April 27, 2019 4:56 PM

At the party's spring conference in York a comprehensive motion identified a number of key areas on which to focus, in pursuit of our commitment to celebrate the racial and cultural diversity of people living in the UK. There were impressive presentations from a wide range of speakers who illustrated the need to grapple with the multiple problems facing ethnic minorities, as well as the heart-warming stories of good work being down to solve them. It was evident that there is still a great deal to do to overcome inequality. Ed Davey MP spoke passionately about the need to establish 'Hope, not hate'.

Contributors from up and down the country emphasised how inequality pervades all aspects of life including, for example, in the NHS, whether in treatment received by patients, in NHS staff or on NHS trust boards.

Identifying the "people like us" mentality, and calling out discrimination when it is manifested, is easier said than done. But there are steps we can all take, including undertaking unconscious bias training. [ Chiltern Liberal Democrats have a session on the subject to which members are invited, on 18 May]

On a positive note, evidence suggests that in a more equal society our economy could be £24 billion richer! So, we have plenty to aspire to and work to achieve. The motion was unanimously carried.

In particular the conference called for:

1 The celebration of the UK's diversity by:

(a)investing in projects to promote ethnic minority roles models in all walks of life;

(b)using teaching on citizenship as part of the curriculum for life' in schools; and

(c) introducing a day to celebrate the positive impact of ethnic minority people on the UK over the centuries.

2 Measures to address clear cases of discrimination, prioritising:

(a)ending hostile environments:

(b)exposing and confronting stereotyping (including in the media that leads to spikes in hate crime), and supporting the work of organisations that tackle hate crime;

(c)reducing the number of school exclusions;

(d)tackling health inequalities;

(e)reducing the number of ethnic minority people criminalised,with a drug policy that has a public health focus;

(f)strengthening the equality duty for mainstream housing associations and tenant management organisations.

3 Improvement of representation at all levels through fairer processes in admissions, recruitment and promotions within companies and organisations.

4 Getting Government to work with professional organisations and the public sector to agree and introduce 'targets with teeth', to drive a move to greater transparency around ethnicity statistics; and

5 Protecting the funding to services that disproportionately benefit ethnic minority people, including ensuring the powers and funding of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission are restored to 2010 levels, and that there is a new cabinet Minister for Race Equality.

The party has taken its own steps to address the need for representation of ethnic minority people, with the appointment of a new Vice President BaME, Isabelle Parasram. She was born in east London to Indo-Caribbean parents who emigrated from Trinidad. She is a barrister and head of her Chambers. Our Diversity Officer, Rachel Dineley, was very pleased to have the opportunity to meet Isabelle (among other speakers) at the conference - see picture below. It was clear to Rachel that Isabelle shares her passion for tackling equality issues of all kinds. Isabelle is a former PPC, spokesperson on Brexit in the West Midlands and Vice Chair of the London Region.

Rachel Dineley and Isabelle Parasram

They will be keeping in touch, to exchange ideas and share experience on addressing diversity issues.