A taskforce designed to tackle race inequalities and racial injustice in Cardiff could be set up this summer by Cardiff Council.
The taskforce was proposed by the Leader of Cardiff Council, Cllr Huw Thomas, in response to the tragic death of George Floyd in the USA, and the campaign by the Black Lives Matter movement in the UK calling for greater justice and equality for Black Communities.
Cllr Thomas said: "There have been well-publicised calls in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement for a reassessment of how individuals in British history with involvement in slavery are commemorated. Specifically in Cardiff the debate has focused on the statue of Sir Thomas Picton in City Hall.
"I have publicly indicated my support for this call, and asked that the Council as a whole give a democratic mandate for the removal of this historic monument through a debate and decision by
Full Council at the earliest possible opportunity.
"However, whilst gestures such as this are important, they cannot deflect us from the harder task of trying to address the challenges still experienced by Black communities today.
"Although Cardiff has a proud history of multiculturalism, and a tradition of celebrating diversity, this cannot be an excuse for complacency or inaction, and we must acknowledge that there are people of colour in this city today who must deal with racism as a feature of their everyday lives. It is important therefore in my view that we too reflect on how we can address the issues faced by Black communities in the city. This is why I am committed to setting up a task force to work with Black and BAME communities in Cardiff to establish what more the Council can do to support them. I am eager that this avoids just being a talking shop where the same discussions we've heard for decades are repeated. Rather, I want to hear from new voices, and focus on tactical issues where the Council can act quickly, and galvanise change in others, responding to the real needs of our communities."
The Leader of the Council has invited the local Butetown councillor, Saeed Ebrahim, to chair the Race Equality Taskforce, which could have up to 14 members plus the chair. A public appointment process will be undertaken to identify candidates for positions on the taskforce.
Cllr Ebrahim said: "We want to tackle and find solutions for the discrimination and disadvantages faced by the BAME community in Cardiff. The taskforce will need insightful individuals with an interest in race and human rights. We need people with the ability, experience, opportunity and influence to make real changes in their sector, industry or organisation.
"We will consult with the BAME community in August to gather their views on what the taskforce's priorities should be. This will help us shape the taskforce's agenda. I want us to produce regular reports to Cabinet complete with recommendations for action to be considered. I am eager to get started. I know this Cabinet wants to see real change and this taskforce is a way of ensuring the voice of the BAME community is heard when new policies are being drafted."
The Council has also identified initial areas it proposes to be considered by the taskforce, including:
On Thursday, July 16, Cabinet will receive a report recommending the setting up of the taskforce. Once agreed work will begin on recruiting members and on consulting with the BAME community on taskforce priorities.
The taskforce will provide an annual report to Full Council, in line with the reporting schedule for the Council's statutory Equalities Annual Report, as well as reports to Cabinet throughout the year with recommendations for action in prioritised areas.