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Black Lives Matter: Cardiff taskforce to tackle racism

media captionWhen Neville Howard arrived in the UK in 1947 society was very different

Work to tackle racism faced by black and minority ethnic (BAME) people in Cardiff must go beyond removing statues, the council's leader has said.

In the wake of the Black Lives Matters protests, there have been calls for the bust of slave owner, Thomas Picton, to be removed from City Hall.

Council leader Huw Thomas said while these were important "gestures" people were still dealing with racism daily.

The council has now set up a taskforce to tackle inequality.

Mr Thomas said the Race Equality Taskforce would be made up of people from communities across the city to hear "new voices" and would not "be a talking shop where the same discussions we've heard for decades are repeated".

An estimated 74,600 people living in Cardiff are BAME, 20.7% of the population. This is compared to 6% of the total population of Wales.

media captionDr Chris Evans explains Thomas Picton's links

Black Lives Matter protests took place around the world earlier this year, following the death of George Floyd in the United States.

The 46-year-old black man died after a white police officer was filmed kneeling on his neck during an arrest.

The Lord Mayor of Cardiff has called for a bust of of slave owner Thomas Picton, to be removed from City Hall.

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Mr Thomas, leader of the council, said he had asked the council to debate and vote on the removal of the statue as soon as possible, but it was "not enough" to tackle the issues facing people in their daily lives.

"However, whilst gestures such as this are important, they cannot deflect us from the harder task of trying to address the challenges still experienced by Black communities today," he said.

"Although Cardiff has a proud history of multiculturalism, and a tradition of celebrating diversity, this cannot be an excuse for complacency or inaction, and we must acknowledge that there are people of colour in this city today who must deal with racism as a feature of their everyday lives," he added.

"It is important therefore in my view that we too reflect on how we can address the issues faced by black communities in the city."

image captionPeople took the knee outside City Hall as part of the Black Lives Matters movement

The taskforce, made up of representatives from communities, will look at:

  • How to boost the number of BAME councillors and council staff, to represent the diversity of the city
  • Issues accessing employment
  • Auditing statues, street and building names to address Wales' connections with slave trade, as part of the Wales' wide audit

Butetown councillor Saeed Ebrahim, who will chair the taskforce, said he wanted to "tackle and find solutions for the discrimination and disadvantages faced by the BAME community in Cardiff".

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