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Welsh Government consults on actions to create a proudly Anti-Racist Wales

Llywodraeth Cymru’n ymgynghori ar gamau gweithredu i greu Cymru Wrth-hiliol falch

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.

Notes to editors

Notes to Editors:

A full list of REAP Action points will be outlined with the Race Equality Action Plan document. 

Covid19 Group Health Advisory Group

In March 2020, in response to the alarmingly disproportionate impact of Covid‑19 on ethnic minority groups, the First Minister acted quickly to set up a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Covid ‑19 Health Advisory Group.

This group has been led by Judge Ray Singh. Its two sub‑groups; the Socio‑economic Subgroup, and the Risk Assessment Sub‑group, had membership of medical experts, academics and community activists and policy officials.

Both acted rapidly to produce a series of recommendations and a highly commended Risk Assessment Toolkit. The sub‑groups were led by Professor Emmanuel Ogbonna and Professor Keshav Singhal respectively.

Cynefin and Monuments Advisory groups

The killing of George Floyd and the growth of the Black Lives Matter movement awakened many people to some of the undeniable disparities in life chances facing Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups.

For the Welsh Government, these events created an increased urgency to act. In response to these events, and debate about how our new curriculum can reflect the diverse experiences and contributions of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic peoples in Wales, two more Groups were established to advise on how to these issues should be responded to.

A link to the report of the First Ministers BAME COVID-19 advisory group report of the socioeconomic subgroup is below:

The Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities, Contributions and Cynefin in the New Curriculum Working Group, chaired by Professor Charlotte Williams OBE, has

published the first of its two reports. This highlights the need for more high‑quality learning resources, involving more positive representations, and detailing the contributions, of Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic groups in schools in Wales.

The Welsh Government has accepted the findings in their entirety.

The Slave Trade and the British Empire: an audit of commemoration in Wales Task and Finish Group, led by Gaynor Legall, has produced its first report identifying all monuments, street and building names in Wales associated with the slave trade and the British Empire. It also touches on the historical contributions to Welsh life made by people of Black heritage.