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CRER’s election manifesto demands action on race equality from new parliament

 

Scotland has reached a historic moment for action on race equality.

With the Black Lives Matter movement prompting protests at home and abroad, the recent denial of institutional racism in the UK Government’s Sewell Report and the Covid-19 pandemic highlighting the stark inequalities Black and minority ethnic (BME) people face, racial injustice cannot continue to go unchallenged.

The evidence speaks for itself on the extent of inequalities which persist in Scotland. There are huge gaps in the employment rate for minority ethnic people, including those with good qualifications. BME households are twice as likely to be in poverty and almost four in ten minority ethnic children face growing up in poverty. Someone is charged with a racist hate crime on average every three hours, 365 days a year.

As the new MSPs are settling in after the election, the harsh realities of the pandemic will continue for many people. Racial inequalities, particularly economic ones, have only been heightened by the last year and the ramifications of the pandemic will continue far into the next Scottish Parliament term.

CRER’s manifesto - launched last month as a demand for action from Scotland’s political parties – makes it clear that vague, positive statements of intent are not enough. We need action, not just action plans. We don't need more research or inquiries to understand the problems – they've barely changed in a decade. Black and minority ethnic communities are tired of waiting for change.

In producing our ten commitments, which we have asked Scotland's political parties to adopt in their own manifestos, we have been aspirational but realistic, reflecting issues the Scottish Parliament could act on immediately.

The Race Equality Framework for Scotland 2016-30 is the national strategy on race equality. There is only nine years remaining of the Framework, however, there has been little progress on most actions. Our manifesto calls for parties to renew their approach to implementation of the Framework, with appropriate action planning and transparent progressing reporting.

In producing our ten commitments, which we have asked Scotland's political parties to adopt in their own manifestos, we have been aspirational but realistic, reflecting issues the Scottish Parliament could act on immediately.

Black history is Scotland’s history. We’re calling for parties to support the development of a national museum, archive and learning centre dedicated to illuminating Scotland's histories. Our vision is that, within the next decade, Scotland will have its own museum of empire, slavery, colonialism and migration.

In schools, too many young people are missing out on opportunities to learn about the diverse histories, heritage and cultures of Scotland. Our manifesto calls for a specific change to the social studies curriculum to ensure future generations aren’t asking ‘why didn’t we learn about this in school?’.

Underpinning changes to the curriculum, we need action to address racism and prejudice-based bullying. Without this, anti-racist education efforts will fail. We’re calling for a mandatory, Scotland-wide approach to monitoring and reporting on racist incidents and prejudice-based bullying in schools. Accountability for the welfare of minority ethnic young people is urgently needed.

The Scottish Parliament has the power to take action for race equality. The experience of the pandemic makes it clear that incremental progress is simply not good enough. As Scotland moves towards the long process of recovery, we need decisive action on race equality. Our manifesto is a challenge to political parties to take the first crucial steps to kickstart the road to change on race equality in Scotland.

The full Race Equality Manifesto 2021 and other commitments relating to health, poverty, employment, the public sector equality duties, community cohesion and housing can be read at: www.racemanifestoscotland.org

Read more of TFN's Holyrood 2021 coverage at our portal for TFN's coverage of the Scottish Parliament battle

 

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