Residents’ calls to set up a new Race Equality Council for Cornwall were agreed by Cornwall Council and supported by all partners at a meeting of Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Leadership Board last week as the significant next step to promoting greater inclusivity and tackling racism.

Key organisations from Cornwall’s Leadership Board will support the creation of the council with financial or ‘in-kind’ contributions.

Cornwall Council Leader, Julian German presented the proposal to the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Leadership Board, which brings together the leaders of all the key organisations and partnerships from across the county.

Julian German said: “Racism has no place in our society. The wide range of important work that has already taken place shows how passionate we all are about making Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly more inclusive and becoming an exemplar in tackling racism.

“We have a long way to go but we will continue to prioritise race equality and work in partnership to further strengthen our efforts for a fair, inclusive and anti-racist Cornwall.”

Other proposals agreed at a meeting of were the creation of a multi-agency hate crime steering group and adopting a shared data collection approach.

These steps are part of an ongoing and broad range of work that has been undertaken since September in response to recommendations from the CIOS BAME Steering Group. This includes the establishment of a new Race Equality Forum which attracted over 150 people to the first meeting last month.

He continued: “I’m extremely grateful for the commitment from Board member organisations to support this important work and I also thank our voluntary sector partners who have made extensive progress in the proposals for this new Race Equality Council.”

A number of people’s lived experiences of racism in Cornwall have helped contribute to the work.

Chair of the BAME Steering Group, Justin Olosunde said: “A significant distance has been travelled by the Leadership Board since the Leader initiated a response to the Black

Lives Matters movement resulting in the creation of a Steering Group that, within the context of the wider “Cornwall We Want” campaign, supported the first forum to address racism in Cornwall.

“The BAME Steering Group “asks” to date have been supported and the Steering Group has now been disbanded to enable a wider engagement with our community and a fully inclusive forum that can take the next effective steps in eradicating racism within Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. The forum has taken the decisive step to seek a Race Equality Council for our community. To date this initiative has met with support from both the local authority and the wider Leadership Board.

“I commend this further work but caution that the road yet to travel to achieve our collective goal is a long one and can only be achieved by working collaboratively and seeking best practice from both within and beyond our immediate community.”

Patrick Gilbert, the Bishop of Truro’s Advisor on BAME, said: “As someone who grew up in Cornwall and experienced racism from a young age, I am well aware of some of the racial inequities that still exist in in our county today. I believe the church has a responsibility to oppose racism of every kind, embracing a Christ-centred radical love for our neighbour. It is time to unite as one church across denominations demonstrating the love of Jesus to all people in the hope that we can change the wrongs of the past moving forward in a shared vision for a more welcoming and loving Cornwall.

“We must continue to take a stand against all forms of racism and help Cornwall become a more inclusive and welcoming place for all.”

Toby Parkins, President of the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce said “The Chamber fully supports this initiative and, as the private sector champion on the Leadership Board, will be at the forefront of tackling racism, where necessary influencing behaviour of businesses and the business-facing elements of public sector, academia and voluntary sector.”

You can find out more about the work that has taken place on the council’s website.

You can find out more about the Race Equality Forum on the Let’s Talk Cornwall website