Tower Hamlets Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Inequalities Commission

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In June the Council worked with the Canal and Rivers Trust and the Museum of London, Docklands to remove a statue of former slave owner Robert Milligan from West India Docks

The shocking and public killing of George Floyd, and subsequent Black Lives Matter demonstrations across the world has shone a light on the subject of racial inequality in our society.

Tower Hamlets is a place that has for generations welcomed people from all over the world, and at times has come together in solidarity to stand up to racist attacks from those who wish to divide local people.

However, we understand that for all our of success and progress there remains much room for improvement to achieve greater equality in the borough. We know that racial discrimination means some people

The shocking and public killing of George Floyd, and subsequent Black Lives Matter demonstrations across the world has shone a light on the subject of racial inequality in our society.

Tower Hamlets is a place that has for generations welcomed people from all over the world, and at times has come together in solidarity to stand up to racist attacks from those who wish to divide local people.

However, we understand that for all our of success and progress there remains much room for improvement to achieve greater equality in the borough. We know that racial discrimination means some people have neither had equal access to public services or employment, nor fair treatment and life chances.

In addition to the Black Lives Matter movement, the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic population has served to expose the severe consequences of the structural disadvantages and discrimination faced by these communities. Public Health England’s review of disparities in the risk and outcomes of Covid-19 found that embedded inequality means that the likelihood of testing positive and dying with Covid-19 is higher for Black and Asian ethnic groups when compared to White ethnic groups.

In recognition of the high level of concern raised about the longstanding levels of racial inequality in the borough, Mayor John Biggs announced that Councillor Asma Begum, Deputy Mayor for Community Safety, Youth and Equalities would lead a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Inequality Commission.

The commission is tasked to deliver tangible and practical actions which will deliver real change to the lives of our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities, and allow the council and its partners to champion the enormous impact these communities can contribute to the borough.

The key aims of the commission are:

  1. Engage and operate at the heart of Tower Hamlets’ communities to hear about people’s lived experience and solutions, specifically Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic women and young people who experience higher levels of inequality.
  2. Work with institutions to advance and prioritise race equality to achieve an inclusive, cohesive, thriving and representative Tower Hamlets.
  3. Influence local, sub-regional and regional leaders who have significant influence on Tower Hamlets, particularly in the development of policy and strategy practices and the allocation of resources.

It will be based on evidence, with the following areas of focus:

  1. Community leadership
  2. Employment & education
  3. Health

The commission will listen to the views of residents and organisations to understand how the lived experience and chances for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people in Tower Hamlets differ significantly and detrimentally from those of White people. The commission will deliver tangible and practical actions which address the systemic discrimination and disadvantages experienced by Tower Hamlets residents because of their race or ethnicity and ensure they feel valued and empowered to fulfill their potential. It will use existing data, commission new research where needed and invite responses from individuals and businesses through the submission of written evidence or attendance at the commission’s formal meetings.

Full list of commissioners:

  • Cllr Asma Begum, Chair (Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Youth and Equalities)
  • Cllr Mufeedah Bustin (Cabinet Member for Planning and Social Inclusion)
  • Lord Simon Woolley (Director of Operation Black Vote)
  • Safia Jama (Director of Womens Inclusive Team)
  • Dr Kambiz Boomla (Senior Lecturer in the Institute of Population Health Sciences at Queen Mary University of London)
  • Ian Parkes (Chief Executive, East London Business Alliance )
  • Vivian Akinremi (Deputy Young Mayor Tower Hamlets)
  • Edwin Ndlovu (Director of Operations for East London NHS Foundation Trust)
  • Pam Bhamra (Chair of the Tower Hamlets Housing Forum)
  • Graeme McDonald (Managing Director of Solace and Solace in Business)

The commission will aim to report its findings on the priority areas of employment, health and community leadership by January 2021.

You can find out more on the work of the commission by visiting www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/raceinequalitiescommission


  • The commission wants to hear your views about health inequalities facing Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. 

    We want to understand how racial bias can impact on access to healthcare and ultimately health outcomes. 

    Your views and experiences are really important and will be used as evidence to inform the commission.

    These issues are being discussed by the commission at its meeting at 11am on Tuesday 3 November. Details on how to follow the meeting will be published nearer the time. However, you will also be able to give your views on the subject after the meeting.


    The commission wants to hear your views about health inequalities facing Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. 

    We want to understand how racial bias can impact on access to healthcare and ultimately health outcomes. 

    Your views and experiences are really important and will be used as evidence to inform the commission.

    These issues are being discussed by the commission at its meeting at 11am on Tuesday 3 November. Details on how to follow the meeting will be published nearer the time. However, you will also be able to give your views on the subject after the meeting.


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  • The commission wants to hear your views about community leadership. This can be before its first official meeting at 11am on Thursday 8 October. However, you can continue to answer these questions after the meeting and they will still form part of the evidence gathered.

    This will give commissioners a sense of what community leadership means to you, whether there are enough opportunities for you to get involved and to understand any barriers. The commission wants to hear from individuals and local organisations representing communities, and for women and young people, as they are often under-represented in community leadership roles.  

    The commission wants to hear your views about community leadership. This can be before its first official meeting at 11am on Thursday 8 October. However, you can continue to answer these questions after the meeting and they will still form part of the evidence gathered.

    This will give commissioners a sense of what community leadership means to you, whether there are enough opportunities for you to get involved and to understand any barriers. The commission wants to hear from individuals and local organisations representing communities, and for women and young people, as they are often under-represented in community leadership roles.  

    Your views and lived experiences are really important. They will be used as evidence to inform the commission.

    Tell us your thoughts
    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link