Progress on becoming an anti-racist city

A new project looking at ‘Our Legacy’ will be starting discussions in the city around how we should respond to the slave trade and colonialism, and future memorials and celebrations in Brighton & Hove. 

The initiative is part of our work to become an anti-racist city, outlined in an update report discussed at the Tourism, Equalities, Communities & Culture committee on Thursday 10 March.

Exploring the city’s legacy

The ‘Our Legacy’ project aims to examine local heritage and history to discover more about the city’s shared colonial legacy. We’re aiming to explore the extent to which the prosperity which helped build the city was dependent upon colonial exploitation. 

The first stage is to commission an independent evaluation and planning programme of strategic forums and community engagement activities to develop the ‘Our Legacy’ project. 

Key to this is a thorough planned and inclusive approach to debate and plan any significant future action.

Commemorating Manoj Natha-Hansen

As a starting point to the legacy work, we’ve renamed our temporary accommodation in Hartington Road ‘Manoj House’ following an engagement with the local community and the primary school.

The name ‘Manoj House’ is in commemoration and respect for Manoj Natha-Hansen. Manoj was a teacher at St Martin’s Primary School who sadly died suddenly in September 2020. 

Manoj was a teacher for 18 years, specialising in Special Educational Needs. Manoj won awards from the National Education Union for his campaigning work for minority groups working in education. 

Plans are underway for a celebration and unveiling of the new name in due course.

Supporting the BME community

The anti-racism progress report also includes an update on a commitment for more funding to support an ever-stronger Black, Asian and ethnic minority led community and voluntary group sector in the city.

This follows the cancelling of 'The World Reimagined' art education project planned for the city and the reallocation of the budget committed to the project. 

Funding of £110,000 will be allocated to support the BME community and voluntary sector. The aims of what the funding will support will be agreed through the cross-party Members Advisory Group and managed through the existing council grant programme processes.

There will also be funding to cover cultural recovery work in the city, lead through further discussions and co-production with communities. 

Becoming an anti-racist council

Councillor Steph Powell, the co-chair of the Tourism, Equalities, Communities & Culture committee, said:

“I’d like to thank the family of Manoj Natha-Hansen and everyone who got involved in the renaming of Manoj House. We are proud for the building to honour the legacy of such a valued member of the community.

“We pledged to become an anti-racist council to do everything in our power to tackle racism and racial inequality in the city. 

“There’s a long way to go but it’s good to see the progress being made. 

“A vital part of this work is to examine our local heritage and history to discover more about the city’s shared colonial legacy. 

“We fully appreciate there are deeply held views concerning our common colonial history and links with enslavement. 

“It’s important to look at this in detail through a sensitive, thoughtful and inclusive approach to the debate. 

“This will make sure we’re able to plan any significant future action and the impact on our past and present from a range of perspectives.”