Declare Brighton & Hove To Be An Anti-Racist City
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On 12th June 2020 Brighton & Hove City Council issued a statement pledging to be an anti-racist council. We welcome this statement, and ask the council to go further and declare the city of Brighton & Hove to be an Anti-Racist City. To drive inclusion in our city, embrace cultural diversity and encourage equity of opportunity, our community must work together to be actively anti-racist.
Building on the history of the people of Brighton, who have always turned out on mass to protest against far-right marches and meetings that have descended on our city, including the landmark moment when Mosely gathered the far-right at The Level in 1948 and the people of Brighton turned out to protest and successfully halted this event.
Brighton has the spirit to lead the way in being the beacon city for anti-racism and true empowerment to black people and people of colour, as it has shown for our LGBTQIA+ community. Brighton is a city of inclusivity, recognised both nationally and internationally, and we believe this city is capable of setting the example for what it means to be a truly Anti-Racist City.
Brighton And Hove City Council has already demonstrated the commitment and ambition to achieve this, however, it is vital that this is demonstrated through concrete and visible actions. By bringing all of our city’s organisations, services, community groups and individuals together to combat racism and prejudice. We can make Brighton & Hove an example to the rest of the country on how to create a truly inclusive city.
Our requests are:
Terminology - Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC) should use appropriate terminology when referring to people who are targets of racism because they are not white. People Of Colour is the appropriate term to use. BAME and BME also refers to minority ethnic people, which can include any group of people that find themselves in an ethnic minority, but they may not experience racism due to the colour of their skin. To address the needs and lived experiences of people who have experienced racism, People Of Colour is a good term to use.
Schools - we welcome the news that BHCC are working on a schools program. The council should actively work with schools ensuring a safe, anti-racist, non-hostile environment is created for children, families and staff. This work should address recruiting People Of Colour to redress the lack of representation throughout the hiring in schools for teachers, head teachers and governors. Schools should recruit at least two parent governor positions for POC and actively recruit for the positions to be filled. There should be a format for people to raise concerns about racism they are experiencing or witnessing within their school anonymously with a link directly to the council which is monitored and responded to. Brighton schools should have anti-racism, history of POC, British imperialism and colonialism taught at a significant level throughout the school curriculum across all year groups. Schools should also be included in the education program in the next point.
Adult education program - an anti racism education program needs to take place in workplaces, and service providers throughout Brighton. The most effective delivery of this is through specialised theatre education projects that involve both performance, interactive workshop, and in service training. This is an effective delivery system which has proven success in both delivery and outcomes. BHCC should commission this work to be created and delivered throughout education establishments, workplaces and service providers to ensure effective education to facilitate the creation of an anti racist city.
Businesses - BHCC should not purchase the services from any provider that has not demonstrated that they have anti-racist policies and employ POC as full time staff members. Businesses should commit to anti-racism processes in order to bid for council tenders and show that they are actively addressing diversity and anti-racist policies in their businesses. There should be initiatives run with Brighton’s business community to set targets and timeframes to increase diversity in these organisations.
Council BAME group - BHCC should create a second paid position on the currently named The BME Worker's Forum, to ensure that it is successful in its ability to take an active role in driving change in the future city council, so the burden is never left to just one person, to be the lone voice in any meeting. There should be a facility for all council staff to anonymously raise concerns about racism they are experiencing or witnessing within their workplace, that is monitored and responded to.
Festivals - BHCC should commit to being the new hosts for the RISE festival, which was ended through funding cuts. As Brighton has proven itself to be outstanding hosts to PRIDE, it can now demonstrate that it leads the way as a city of anti racism by hosting RISE festival, giving it a new permanent home. BHCC should ensure that Brighton Festival, Brighton Fringe, and the film festival all demonstrate substantial representation of POC and this should be the key factor in them allowing the festivals to take place in the city. Each festival should have a specific space dedicated to showing the work of POC as well as included throughout the festivals.
Policing - Brighton & Hove City Council need to take an active role in addressing the detrimental actions of Sussex Police towards People Of Colour, particularly Black people, that have resulted in hostile experiences for POC to live in or visit Brighton. BHCC must conduct an inquiry into Sussex Police practices which disproportionately target and impact Black people and People Of Colour. Particularly the practice of Stop and Search, high amounts of Use Of Force, and application of PREVENT involving children and families of People Of Colour. Social justice groups and the media have raised concern that Brighton has one of the highest disparities in the country, with 3.5 white people in every 1000 stopped by Sussex Police in the last year compared to 38 in 1000 black people. We find this inequality unacceptable in a council that declares itself anti-racist. BHCC needs to outline an action plan for working with Sussex Police to change this culture in order to ensure their human rights are respected as residents or visitors of Brighton.
Funding for cultural research & community spaces - funding cuts have stripped away services and projects for people of colour in our city such as the Black and Minority Ethnic Young People’s Project (BMEYPP). The Black and Minority Ethnic Community Partnership (BMECP) is a useful and highly valued facility, however, People Of Colour still feel disenfranchised in our city. Brighton & Hove’s Black History Month has done fantastic work and the council could add to this by funding research into the history of People Of Colour in Brighton and Hove, and the history of anti-racism, by collaborating with the city’s two universities. The research could be displayed on a website. We also propose the council works with residents of colour to create a community-run hub in a central Brighton location. This space could include a community café, workshop training areas, and a performance area to provide a permanent venue for people of colour to share their creativity with our city. This would demonstrate a genuine commitment to anti-racism.
i360 Sponsorship - the council should end sponsorship of council managed spaces by brands that support racist policies - British Airways is the sponsor for the i360 and many residents were appalled at the council lighting it purple to demonstrate an ‘anti-racist’ stance. British Airways are complicit in the hostile environment and make £30 million per annum from deportation contracts. These deportations of People Of Colour are to countries where their lives may be in danger, where they may have no family or friends, and may have never lived there. British Airways have not investigated the death of Jimmy Mubenga who was suffocated whilst being deported on a British Airways flight in October 2010. His last words were ‘I can’t breathe’. As Brighton and Hove city council are so moved by the last words of George Floyd, they should be equally as moved by the final words of Jimmy Mubenga and end relations with British Airways. They owe the council £3.1 million (10% of annual profits from deportation contracts). We ask that this £3.1 million be ring-fenced for targeted community support for people of colour.
Brighton & Hove has a reputation as an open and inclusive city, but we know there are areas in which we fall woefully short. We ask you to build on the brave ideals this city is known for and lead the way for this country by demonstrating the power of Brighton & Hove as an Anti-Racist City.
The People of Brighton & Hove who have signed this petition
Note: This petition was created by several residents of Brighton to present at an open council meeting
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