A menu for change that will tackle Dundee’s past and present responses to racial inequality and injustice is set to be discussed by councillors.
Dundee City Council’s policy and resources committee will be told that while the council has an important role in taking the agenda forward, Black and Minority Ethnic communities across the city will be critical to any future action.
Cllr Lynne Short Dundee City Council’s equalities spokesperson said: “This council unequivocally stands against racism wherever it rears its ugly head and that is a stance that extends into the past as well as to the here and now.
“While we have not seen an overwhelming appetite in Dundee for the removal of statues and the alteration of street names or public buildings which have a direct and/or indirect association with slavery and its impact, this report offers up a number of ways that we as a community can provide honest explanation, education and public information about the involvement of the city.”
The report, which will be considered next week, lays out a proposed programme of action outlining eight possible elements that could be delivered over the next two to three years.
• a permanent exhibition in the McManus telling the full story of the city’s involvement in slavery, which could have a travelling element to help with outreach and education;
• potentially commissioning a new and appropriate public art work in a key city location;
• more active support and participation in Black History Month in October each year;
• reassessing the council’s work on Fair Trade and examining what more the city could do to support Fair Trade with a new three-year business plan;
• further developing the approach to tackling racism and telling the story of slavery in Dundee’s primary schools; and
• a review of the city’s approach to dealing with human trafficking, exploring how best to raise awareness and education in the city about the issues involved.
Councillors will be asked for their views on establishing a short life cross party working group of elected members, chaired by the council’s equality spokesperson, to provide guidance and direction to officers and the Dundee Partnership in shaping a way forward.
Cllr Short added: “We stand with black and minority ethnic communities and we want to listen to what should be done to root out the evil of racism once and for all.
“It has no place in our world and together we can defeat it.”
The policy and resources committee meets on Monday (September 28).
Dundee draws skilled workers from a 60-minute catchment population of 640,000 and has a local population of over 140,000. The availability of a large pool of highly skilled labour is a key feature in the Dundee economy. Flexibility in the labour force is currently more prevalent in Dundee than in Scotland as a whole. All forms of labour market flexibility - part-time, temporary employment, self-employment and shift work - are widely operational within the city. Labour force stability in the city is excellent, enabling companies to plan with confidence. Labour turnover levels are less than 5% and absenteeism averages 2%.