This past week, Action for Arts ran a special series of free virtual ‘heart-to-heart’ sessions over four nights, featuring members of the Advisory Board who are in consultation for the Welsh Government’s Race Equality Action Plan, covering themes of education and employability, to leadership, social partnerships and entrepreneurship.
Business News Wales spoke to the host of the sessions, Aaron Casserly Stewart, a musician and activist who is the Vice-Chair of Leeds Conservatoire, and the Chairman of Black Lives Matter in Leeds. We asked Aaron what he and the Advisory Board were hoping to bring further awareness to in these sessions, and what the Welsh Government could improve to promote racial equality throughout all the Welsh working sectors.
The Race Equality Action Plan is a Welsh Government consultation that was launched in March this year, which seeks to hear the views on the Government’s vision, purpose and values for an anti-racist Wales. It seeks to troubleshoot areas of government that that may have been missed, the barriers in achieving these goals, points of action and overall outcomes. Most importantly, it also seeks to investigate the use (or misuse) of language and how it affects ethnic minority communities.
“Each night we had a special guest that came in and spoke on each of [the themes], the sessions were free, and we invited people from around the world to participate in it. Obviously, the emphasis is on Wales but we [also] wanted input from people around the globe. As a matter of fact, we did have a couple of folks who joined us from the [United] States that offered some insight into how things work there, but each night, the guests just spoke on their life experiences.”
“The hope is really just to highlight the issues surrounding people of colour in Wales, the racial injustices that happen within each of those sectors, and try to change that.”
Aaron Casserly Stewart also expresses a keen optimism in having more of these virtual sessions take place soon.
Alison Carter, the Charity Founder of Action for Arts, also added further comments about the success of the initiative and the benefits it brings to positively promoting ethnic minority individuals within Welsh business:
“Action for Arts is leading a 2 year research and development initiative ‘It Takes A Global Village' – funded by Arts Council Wales, which is invested in advancing Race Equality and Cultural Development in Wales. By adopting a partnership approach, we have formed a professional advisory group to help steer the project and inform the Government. We are also funding a programme of engagement and education events, creating an international showcase platform, raising awareness of Wales based African/Caribbean/Asian business start ups, and supporting emerging creative/tech talent.”
The Welsh Government’s consultation for the Race Equality Action Plan ends on Thursday 15th July 2021.