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


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    We need to hear a wide range of views on a range of topics. We'd encourage you to share your own lived experiences and ideas so that commissioners get a wider sense of local feeling, thoughts and experiences.

    This ideas board is publicly viewable for others who are also interested in the commission's work.

    We need to hear a wide range of views on a range of topics. We'd encourage you to share your own lived experiences and ideas so that commissioners get a wider sense of local feeling, thoughts and experiences.

    This ideas board is publicly viewable for others who are also interested in the commission's work.

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