The tragic death of George Floyd last month and the subsequent Black Lives Matter protests have demonstrated again the issue of racism that sadly still exists in society.
This is a difficult, complex and emotional issue for all of us, and one that has also rightly caused much concern at the City of London Corporation and the Square Mile as a whole.
In the face of racism, we all need to stand up and play our role. As an organisation we are committed to equality, inclusivity and diversity and we stand in solidarity with BAME colleagues and communities.
This is why we have signed the Race at Work Charter and we aim to be a leader in diversity and reflect the communities we serve across London and the UK. We have also pledged to tackle racism and fulfil our responsibility to create a fair and inclusive society.
But words are not enough, and concrete actions are needed to address concerns in our organisation and local communities about diversity and longstanding historical issues.
To this extent we’ve held a number of meetings to examine how we should respond to issues that have been raised, and how we can actively be part of the solution of tackling racism at all levels of society.
One practical outcome that has emerged from discussions is a decision to set up a new body to explore these challenges. The Tackling Racism Working Party will consider what the City Corporation currently does to tackle racism in all its forms, but more importantly assess whether any further action can be undertaken to promote economic, educational, and social inclusion through our activities.
This will include discussions about any historical issues with a view as to how we might respond to them, and will no doubt touch on the various statues and monuments across the City that have been at the forefront of many media stories as of late.
Nothing is off limits, and no topic will be overlooked. Once its work is concluded the Tackling Racism Working Party will report its findings as soon as possible. I am confident that we will agree practical steps that will make a significant contribution to the fight against racism.
Alongside this work, we will work closely with the Mayor of London’s Commission to review the diversity of the public realm in the capital, as well as the Government’s new commission on racial inequalities.
Let’s also not forget that as individuals we all have unconscious biases that we must address, and in the City Corporation are also taking actions to address these through appropriate training for officers and members when necessary.
As society begins to return to normal, with businesses and shops starting to tentatively reopen their doors to residents from the City, it is vital that the momentum behind tackling this issue does not stall. There is a clear moral, social and business case for ensuring the Square Mile is diverse and inclusive at all levels.
Black Lives Matter.