The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, will today bring together senior leaders from cities across the world as part of a shared commitment to putting the fight against racism at the heart of
recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
Today’s event, which is the first of its kind, unites Toronto, Chicago, Rotterdam and Bristol, diverse cities committed to ongoing collaboration to address racial injustice.
The virtual event will feature a panel chaired by Deputy Mayor for Social Integration, Social Mobility and Community Engagement, Dr Debbie Weekes-Bernard. It will also include a performance by poet James Massiah and speeches by senior city delegates as well as peer outreach worker Precious Azubuike and race equality expert and London Recovery Board member, Lord Simon Woolley.
In his speech, Sadiq – who declared City Hall an actively anti-racist organisation in October - will launch the new £190,000 Civil Society Roots Incubator.
The incubator is a new grant funding initiative from City Hall, which will provide micro awards of £5,000 and growth awards of up to £15,000 for organisations in London that are helping to build stronger communities by doing any of the following:
1. Widening awareness of and access to support services and mutual aid programmes
2. Amplifying unheard Londoners voices to enable them to play an active part in London’s recovery
3. Increasing feelings of belonging and tackling social isolation and loneliness
Despite Britain’s diversity, stark inequalities persist with people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities more likely to experience child poverty, deprivation and unemployment, and they are more likely to die from Covid-19 than White people.*
The Mayor believes such injustice is not inevitable and has introduced a transformative series of initiatives to reduce racial inequalities. These include improving access to employment for young Black men through the Workforce Integration Network and the Inclusive Employers Toolkit, providing millions in funding to BAME-led organisations impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic through the London Community Response and establishing a new Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm.
In November, Sadiq also published an Action Plan designed to improve trust and confidence in the Metropolitan Police while addressing community concerns about the disproportionate use of certain police powers against Black Londoners.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Racism is a virus which has infected too much of our world for far too long. That is why I am proud to come together with leaders of other global cities to lead the way in pursuing a cure.
“If the Black Lives Matter protests of this year have taught us anything it is that it is simply not enough to not be racist, we must be actively anti-racist and seek partnerships with those who share this aim as we plan our recoveries from this devastating pandemic.
“The coronavirus outbreak has exposed and exacerbated gross inequalities in our society but, through the collective power of cities and our resilient and diverse communities, we can overcome the twin viruses of Covid-19 and racism in London and beyond, together.”
Candace Moore, Chief Equity Officer, City of Chicago: “Racism and inequality affects all of us and we all have a role to play in building a more inclusive, more equal society. Governments, business and individuals – we all need to be prepared to tackle racial injustice head-on.
I applaud the work that my colleagues in London, Toronto, Bristol and Rotterdam are doing to put anti-racism at the core of their work. Calling out racism and injustice is just the first step. We must now continue the conversation about how we can each work towards the cities and societies we deserve.”
Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson, Toronto said: “Systemic racism is unique to no one city or no one country; it is a global tragedy. Cities around the world have much to gain by sharing their perspectives, experiences, challenges and solutions, and by supporting each other’s efforts to suppress this persistent, corrosive and too often deadly societal pandemic.”
Photo by Alisdare Hickson, Wikimedia commons.