• Saturday, June 25, 2022


Sadiq Khan launches new £190,000 fund to fight racism as London joins global cities to address the issue

London Mayor Sadiq Khan (Photo: Lia Toby/Getty Images)

By: Pramod Thomas

SENIOR LEADERS from cities across the world have joined London Mayor Sadiq Khan on Tuesday(8) as part of a shared commitment to putting the fight against racism at the heart of recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Khan also launched a new £190,000 Civil Society Roots Incubator for partnerships working to support communities disproportionally impacted by Covid-19.

It will provide micro awards of £5,000 and growth awards of up to £15,000 for organisations in London that are helping to build stronger communities by widening access to support services and mutual aid programmes, amplifying unheard Londoners voices and increasing feelings of belonging and tackling social isolation and loneliness.

In a first of its kind event, Toronto, Chicago, Rotterdam and Bristol have joined the ongoing collaboration to address racial injustice.

Deputy mayor for social integration, social mobility and community engagement, Dr Debbie Weekes-Bernard chaired the panel. Peer outreach worker Precious Azubuike and race equality expert and London Recovery Board member Lord Simon Woolley and poet James Massiah also participated.

“Racism is a virus which has infected too much of our world for far too long. If the Black Lives Matter protests of this year have taught us anything it is that it is simply not enough to not be racist, we must be actively anti-racist and seek partnerships with those who share this aim as we plan our recoveries from this devastating pandemic,” said Khan.

“The coronavirus outbreak has exposed and exacerbated gross inequalities in our society but, through the collective power of cities and our resilient and diverse communities, we can overcome the twin viruses of Covid-19 and racism in London and beyond, together.”

London mayor has launched initiatives to improve access to employment for young black men through the Workforce Integration Network and the Inclusive Employers Toolkit. He also established a new commission for diversity in the Public Realm.

In November, he also published an Action Plan designed to improve trust and confidence in the Metropolitan Police while addressing community concerns about the disproportionate use of certain police powers against black Londoners.

Candace Moore, chief equity officer, City of Chicago, said: “Racism and inequality affects all of us and we all have a role to play in building a more inclusive, more equal society. Governments, business and individuals – we all need to be prepared to tackle racial injustice head-on.

“Calling out racism and injustice is just the first step. We must now continue the conversation about how we can each work towards the cities and societies we deserve.”

Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson, Toronto said: “Systemic racism is unique to no one city or no one country; it is a global tragedy. Cities around the world have much to gain by sharing their perspectives, experiences, challenges and solutions, and by supporting each other’s efforts to suppress this persistent, corrosive and too often deadly societal pandemic.”

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