BAME LEADERSHIP: A DEMAND FOR A COVID-19 RACE EQUALITY STRATEGY
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An initial group of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) leaders and friends, including the award winning writer Afua Hirsch; Mayor Marvin Rees, Deputy Mayor Asher Craig; David Weaver, President of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP); Tracie Jolliff, Head of Inclusive Leadership-NHS, Lord Simon Woolley, Director, Operation Black Vote have come together in this Covid-19 crisis to think about how we and our government respond to the devastating impact this virus is having on BAME communities.
• Black people are 4.2 times more likely to die from Covid-19
• 6 of every 10 Covid-19 care worker deaths have been BAME
• More than 50% of bus drivers’ Covid-19 deaths have been BAME
• First 20 doctors who died from Covid-19, 90% were BAME.
• 2 racist murders by purposely infecting the virus along with hurling of racial abuse.
For many of us there has been much heartache and at times anger in watching this crisis unfold and seeing many brave lives cut short. Furthermore, we are acutely aware of perhaps an even greater impact; socially, educationally and economically BAME communities could face as we confront an unprecedented economic downturn.
We believe that BAME leaders and our supporters must build something positive and long lasting from this deadly Covid-19 crisis.
In many ways this must be our 1945 moment, when out of the debris of the 2nd World War we established the National Health Service, which today still is the jewel in the nation’s crown. Our demand is for a Covid-19 Race Equality Strategy that will not only deal the immediacy of saving lives, but also fundamentally rebuild many of our institutions that this disease has exposed as having huge racial disparities, often weak and at times discriminatory.
• NHS: of 279 Chief Executives only 7 are BAME
• Black people twice as likely to be unemployed
• BAME 48% more likely to in zero-hour contracts.
There will be some who in effect would blame us - BAME individuals - for the devastating impact Covid-19 deaths have had within our communities. For example, headlines such “Structural racism doesn’t explain why Black people are likely to die from Covid-19”. The Telegraph 7th May 2020 seems to be in utter denial of structural inequalities and links to Covid-19.
They and others will say: ‘It’s our genes, our culture, our preferred lifestyle’ - and if we dare speak out about being overly exposed to this deadly virus, caused in part by frontline occupations, health inequalities, social and economic disadvantage , they say we’re pursuing a ‘Victimhood’ agenda’ or we are the ‘Victimhood mob’. We profoundly reject both. We will not be blamed.
To be clear: Covid-19 does not target anyone’s race, but it does lay bare racialised systems that leave BAME communities even more vulnerable to such a deadly virus.
When we follow those key areas in our society that Covid-19 has exposed for having profound inequalities, such as health, employment, housing, criminal justice and education, we strongly feel that these are the areas we need to drastically put right.
If anything good is to come from this awful disease, it is that we track what’s been exposed and amplified as discriminatory and we fundamentally fix it. That starting point is a Covid-19 Race Equality Strategy, and it is something that we believe will form part of a new Social and Race Equality Contract. This is a non-political party initiative.
Please sign up and support the demand for this Covid-19 Race Equality Strategy.
Lord Simon Woolley Operation Black Vote
Afua Hirsch Writer, Guardian writer and broadcaster
Marvin Rees Bristol Mayor
Asher Craig Bristol Deputy Mayor
David Weaver, President, British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
Tracie Jolliff. Head of Inclusive Leadership NHS
Baroness Bennett, Green Party
Baroness Ece, Liberal Democrats
Baroness Jones, Green Party
Clive Lewis MP, Labour Party
Dr Muhammad Bari, Trauma & Orthopaedic Surgeon
Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, Lawyer, Political & Women's Rights Activist
Edie Freedman, Director, JCOR
Ganesh Sathyamoorthy, Senior Researcher at Imperial College
Harun Khan - Secretary General, MCB
Leroy Logan, Race Advisor, Liberal Democrats
Minna Salami, Writer, Presenter and Blogger
Nero Ugwujabo, Former No.10 Special Advisor, Conservative
Prof Francesca Klug, Human Rights Academic and Advocate
Prof James Nazroo, Department of Sociology, University of Manchester
Prof Kay Hampton, Professor of Communities & Race Relations
Rabbi Barbara Borts, Movement for Reform Judaism
Rabbi Danny Rich, Senior Rabbi and Chief Executive of Liberal Judaism
Rabbi Dr Deborah Kahn-Harris, Principal of Leo Baeck College
Rabbi Dr Jackie Tabick, Reform Judaism
Rabbi Irit Shillor, Harlow Synagogue
Rabbi Monique Mayer, Bristol & West Progressive Jewish Congregation
Rev David Shosanya, Baptist Minister
Siobhan Benita, London Mayoral Candidate, Liberal Democrats
Sir Iqbal Sacranne OBE, Senior Advisor, Muslim Council of Britain
Yvonne Field, Founder and Managing Director,The Ubele Initiative
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