The title ‘Councillor’ does not protect you from the overt and covert discrimination at Havering Council. Following empty promises and several correspondences to Havering Council, I have concluded that Havering Council is institutionally racist. Therefore, I am publicly calling out Andrew Black-Herbert, Chief Executive and Councillor Damian White, Leader of Havering Council to respond to the following demands;
1. Switch on the Town Hall lights to purple in memory of George Floyd and in support against the fight of racism on Friday 12th of June. This is being done across the country by other Councils. Havering Council has also done this before, and therefore, it is not a policy issue, but merely a decision to show solidary or not.
2. Launch an inquiry into the entrenched racial inequality at Havering Council which affects its workforce and Councillors. This should be an independent Investigation – and not someone on Havering Council’s retainer as this will lead to a whitewashed report. Recommendations must be adopted within 5-10 years.
3. Havering Council should set up a task group including the BME forum and their BAME employee forum to provide solutions to tackle racial inequality in our community.
4. Havering Council should create an equality fund by the next Budget Council meeting. Members in the community can apply and use the funds for projects which will bring about better community cohesion and inclusion.
5. Havering Council does not know the ethnicity or race of over 40% of its workforce. How can they aim to want to achieve the ‘Excellent’ rating in the Equality Framework for Local Government when they struggle to capture or monitor such data about their employees? That is basic for any organisation and this failure shows clearly how much their employees’ lives matter. Havering Council must close the data gap by April 2021.
6. Havering Council should diversify its Senior Leadership Team and Senior Managers within 5-10 years. At the Senior Leadership level, there is not a single black or Asian director in 2020.
7. Havering Council should work with Councillors to achieve more Councillors from BAME backgrounds.
George Floyd’s death and the outcry for justice has shown me that several voices are powerful, and it will take a collective, to push the race agenda in Havering. If you care deeply about using your words to tackle the racial discrimination in our community and at Havering Council, then write to the Andrew Black-Herbert, Chief Executive and Councillor Damian White, Leader of Havering Council demanding the above change for all.