THIS morning the Welsh Government has published An Anti-Racist Wales – the Race Equality Action Plan for Wales.
The draft Plan, which has been launched for a twelve-week consultation, draws on lived experiences of racism and has been constructed with Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic researchers, policy officials, communities and other key race stakeholders.
This process has created a set of deliverable, achievable actions to tackle racism and inequality across Government, ranging from education to health, housing to the economy, and more.
Also set out are the actions that Welsh Government will itself be taking, at an organisational level, to tackle systemic racism and inequality within its own structures.
The urgency of the Plan has been laid bare and intensified by the impact of the Covid‑19 pandemic, and the unparalleled visibility and reaction of the world to the killing of George Floyd in the US.
Last summer, a report on the impact of Covid-19 on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people, commissioned by the First Minister, highlighted that racism and long-standing socio-economic inequalities had been exacerbated by the pandemic.
This led to Jane Hutt, the Deputy Minister responsible for Equalities, asking Welsh Government officials to develop an ‘ambitious and radical’ Race Equality Action Plan.
The Minister also invited Professor Emmanuel Ogbonna of Cardiff University to co-chair a Race Equality Action Plan Steering group with Dame Shan Morgan, the Permanent Secretary for the Welsh Government.
The Deputy Minister and Chief Whip, Jane Hutt, said:
“Successive Welsh Governments have worked hard to reduce racism and race inequalities. We have made some progress, but in many areas, inequality remains a stubborn stain on our society. As we begin to recover from the pandemic, we have an opportunity to create a fairer, more equal Wales. It’s up to those of us in positions of power to lead the way through action.
“The publication of today’s plan for consultation is just the start of our journey to tackle these inequalities and become an anti-racist nation by 2030. Being anti-racist requires us to all make a conscious, active effort to call out racism wherever we see it.
“We know that our partners in public services want to come with us on this journey, but being anti-racist means being honest, asking serious questions of ourselves, having difficult conversations about how we can best tackle racism and inequality – and then taking the appropriate actions.
“We are also calling on the public to be part of this conversation – it’s vital that we have your input on the actions that we’re setting out.
“Today is just the start of what will be a long process. If we get this right, we will create a society where everyone is valued for who they are and the contribution they make. When that happens, we all win.”
Co-Chair of the Action Plan Steering Group, Professor Emmanuel Ogbonna, said:
“The Race Equality Action Plan is built on the values of anti-racism. I’m delighted that we’re finally looking towards a society in Wales where there will be equality for all, where there is zero tolerance for racism in all its forms, and a conscious effort to take action to stop racial disadvantage.
“This plan was co-constructed with a number of stakeholders: race/ ethnicity activists, academics, Trade Unions, local government, community leaders, religious leaders, and members of the public.
“This is a first: a radical new way of implementing achievable objectives.
“We have leaders at the heart of Welsh Government who have been bold in taking this first step, and are committed to implementing change. I feel hugely encouraged that this different approach will lead to meaningful change.”
The Race Equality Action Plan is the result of months of extensive collaboration between the Welsh Government and many contributors, including Community Mentors. As a result, senior civil servants have been able to access the expertise and lived experience Community Mentors have of racism and effective policy making.
In a statement, the Community Mentors said:
“We believe the Action Plan demonstrates an ambitious and radical vision for an anti-racist Wales. The consultation is of course just the beginning of this process and we look forward to seeing how the Welsh Government carries on with this vital work.”
Last week, the Education Minister, Kirsty Williams, accepted all of the recommendations of a report on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities, Contributions and Cynefin in the new school Curriculum.
The Minister has also confirmed £500,000 will be provided to support the implementation of the report’s recommendations, as part of the delivery of the new Curriculum for Wales.