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Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people make an immeasurable contribution to a prosperous, healthier, more equal Wales with vibrant cultures and thriving languages.
We profoundly regret those experiences in everyday life in which ethnic minority people have experienced racism as citizens, as service users, as employees and as applicants for jobs and opportunities. Not being valued or respected is heightened by seeing too few Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people as managers or leaders in the organisations they work for, or in public life. This must change, and the work on making that change has begun.
The plan has been developed in collaboration with a wide range of communities and organisations across all parts of Wales. The goals and actions have been shaped jointly with ethnic minority people and we made ‘valuing lived experience’ one of the values underpinning the plan so that it continues to underpin our approach.
We want to thank everyone for their contribution to this work and the willingness of ethnic minority people to extend their trust in securing the possibility of change and in providing their leadership and sharing their lived experiences to help making this plan what it is.
During the formal consultation on this plan, (then referred to as the draft Race Equality Action Plan), we formed a new Government. Then, in our new Programme for Government we reaffirmed that delivery of this plan remains one of our most important commitments.
So this is one of our key priorities. It is a real opportunity to make a difference as a catalyst to improving life chances and tackling poverty across all protected groups. We commit our leadership and our resources, and our influence on others to implementing this plan. But we also call on everyone working in our public services, at whatever level, to do the same. Leadership can be shown by everyone, at all levels of any organisation. We all have a part to play in tackling racism and being actively anti‑racist.
We do this work acknowledging the immense leadership within the ethnic minority communities and leadership at all levels as individuals, as political leaders, as community activists, as academics and as leaders of organisations. Without a wide range of lived experiences informing our work we limit our creative capabilities. We have therefore, purposely involved with these leaders to inform and inspire us collectively to do better.
We have shown that Welsh Government can make changes to what we do and how we work. The pioneering work led by Professor Charlotte Williams means that learning about the cultural heritage and ethnic diversity of Wales and the wider world is now a mandatory element of our national Curriculum. This has made history; no other nation is doing this.
Given our commitments to working in a more sustainable way for current and future generations, we prepared this plan, and the draft plan in 2021 through co‑design and coproduction with people and communities. The process was collaborative, innovative and inspiring, and was commented on positively by those working alongside us and those we consulted.
We know we need to ensure the voices and lived experiences of Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority people need to be not just heard, but acted upon. The way in which we developed this plan made sure that these stories and experiences were written in to this work. People gave generously of their time and many, at some personal cost, shared their experiences of discrimination and hostility as citizens of Wales; they also shared their achievements as entrepreneurs, workers and leaders; as researchers, experts and professionals and as communities.
This plan is a culmination of an effort to sustain open and dynamic dialogues within and between the Welsh Government, local government, academics, activists, the trade union movement, community group leaders, religious leaders and individuals from the breadth of the racial and ethnic minority groups in Wales. We are indebted to our community mentors and other ‘experts through lived experience’, who have supported both officials and the Steering Group. That dialogue and process of co‑design will continue and we will assess progress and identify where further action is needed together.
By involving people differently we changed our plan. We have given more focus on the articulation of the problems faced by people drawing on real life experiences. We have also been more confident and pointed in the actions that we propose to take, we are more ambitious as a result of the involvement of Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority people. This is how involvement should work. The actions in this plan are aimed at preventing problems from arising and are focused on the core of our systems, processes and behaviour, so as to tackle institutionalised racism.
We have also strengthened the ways in which we will deliver the plan and be held accountable for it. We will be driven by the need to close the implementation gap. These will help ensure greater compliance with the Equality Act 2010, and will also make use of better data, and so enable better analysis. Our aim is to close ‘the gap’ between publishing a plan, and seeing it implemented – to closing what has been called; the “implementation gap”.
Another key difference is the stronger commitment to anti‑racism. Indeed we have renamed the plan to the “Anti‑racist Wales Action Plan”. This is to emphasise our focus on proactively surfacing and tackling institutional and systemic racism.
We ask you now to work with us in delivering the Anti‑racist Wales Action Plan and in building an anti‑racist Wales: a Wales in which we can all be proud to belong and in which each of us can thrive. Taken forward in that way, we firmly believe that the successful implementation of this plan will benefit all citizens, now and in the future.
Rt Hon Mark Drakeford MS, First Minister of Wales.
Jane Hutt MS, Minister for Social Justice.
As a society, we are collectively perturbed by racism. However, for too long, we have believed that racial inequality will disappear without sustained efforts to challenge and eradicate it. In many respects, we have become conditioned to living with racial inequality
in a way that has made it a self perpetuating aspect of reality that has blighted the lives of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (herewith ethnic minorities) members of our society.
The An Anti‑racist Wales Action Plan (the plan) builds on previous Welsh Government initiatives on race equality. The urgency of the plan was laid bare and intensified by the COVID‑19 pandemic, and perhaps more acutely by the unparalleled visibility and reaction of the world to the killing of George Floyd in the USA. These two events brought the pernicious consequences of racism to the world’s consciousness and heightened the need for sustained action to eradicate racial discrimination.
The plan builds on the findings of the Welsh Government Socio economic Subgroup report on coronavirus (COVID‑19) and people from the ethnic minority backgrounds in Wales, and is distinguished by three inter related features. Firstly, the plan is built on the values of anti racism. This means that a common theme that runs across all the chapters is the desire to strive for a nation in which there is zero tolerance for racism in all its guises. In this regard, the plan is comprehensive and touches every institution over which the Welsh Government has influence.
The second factor that distinguishes the plan is that we followed the principles of co‑creation in that the plan is a culmination of open and dynamic dialogues within and between groups, including Welsh Government officials, academics, race/ethnicity activists and workers, Trade Unions and Wales TUC, officials from local government and non governmental organisations, community group leaders, religious leaders and, importantly, individual members of the multiple communities that comprise the breadth of the racial and ethnic minority groups in Wales. The outcome of this is a plan which represents what we have heard from our stakeholders.
The final feature that distinguishes this plan is the emphasis on closing the implementation gap. In developing the plan, members of the Steering Group were guided by the knowledge that previous Race Equality Plans with positive intentions have not resulted in meaningful improvements in the lives of ethnic minority groups. We were also mindful that the problem of implementation has marred the efficacy of the legislative framework (the 2010 Equality Act) which was designed to eliminate racial discrimination in society. We believe that the successful implementation of this plan will benefit all citizens, now and in the future.
The guiding principle of this plan is that the rhetoric on racial equality should be translated into meaningful action, with organisations and institutions made accountable for turning this into reality as is common with other important policy areas. It is for this reason that the plan identifies ‘goals’, ‘actions’ ‘timelines’, ‘outcomes’ and the role of the Accountability Group that will oversee the governance as critical to successful implementation.
However, the success of this plan does not depend on the actions of the Welsh Government and institutions alone, it also depends on the combined behaviours and actions of ordinary people in society. Individuals who believe that they are not racist but who are not actively engaged in eradicating racism may inadvertently be supporting the existing racialised system we are trying to change. This is why everyone has a role to play in eradicating racism. At the very least, we should all consider how the stereotypes we hold of people from ethnic minority backgrounds influence our behaviour towards them and we should do all we can to build fairness into our everyday lives.
We believe that the successful implementation of this plan will benefit all citizens. An equitable employment market that increases the participation of racial and ethnic minorities will improve the overall productivity and growth of the Welsh economy, which will benefit all. A fairer education and training system will harness the potential of all people in Wales. Finally, equalising racial opportunities and outcomes in healthcare and other social services will help to reduce the overall burden on the state and individuals and help to promote active citizenship.
In these regards, the imperatives for fully implementing this plan are derived not just from the moral and legal requirements, but also from the mutually beneficial nature of the outcomes: we all stand to benefit from racial equality.
Professor Emmanuel Ogbonna, Cardiff University.
Dr Andrew Goodall, Permanent Secretary, Welsh Government.