At Brighton & Hove City Council it is not enough to be ‘not racist’. We must be anti-racist. This is evidenced through systemic change which means looking at our policies, practice, procedures, and services and challenging ourselves with the questions, ‘are these actively anti-racist? Are we actively creating equitable voice, outcomes, and value for Black & Racially Minoritised people in the city? If not, why not and what needs to change?'
We made a pledge in 2020; worked on ourselves and our relationships with Black & Racially Minoritised residents, set this in writing. We want communities to feel able to hold us to account and, importantly, ensure that we hold ourselves to account. It is not for the communities to do the work. We must better understand the varied lived experiences and systemic barriers faced by Black & Racially Minoritised people who live, work, and visit the city.
We recognise that our initial anti-racism pledge was motivated by the severity of anti-Black racism. We commit to focusing on this when actioning anti-racism work.
We stand by the belief that “one either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an anti-racist. There is no in-between safe space of 'not racist.’ The claim of ‘not racist’ neutrality is a mask for racism.” (From the book ‘How To Be An Antiracist’, Ibram Kendi, 2019)
The council, councillors and staff know that achieving the vision and the aims of this foundational strategy will take some time. A strategic approach is important to clearly state where we want to get to and how we plan to get there. This is an ongoing journey, and the strategy sets out a framework for the first 5 years. We will review constantly and make it part of the operating principles of the council for the future. Residents rightly want to see action and change. So do we. However, disconnected individual action, no matter how good, does not create long-term change. We need a considered plan to achieve fundamental change ensuring we truly understand anti-racism, and anti-racist principles are embedded in how we work, think, and deliver. We hope this strategy sets us on the right path.
Read our anti-racism strategy
Read our Anti-Racism Strategy 2023 to 2028 and Anti-Racism Strategy Priority Actions.