Brighton Deputy Leader slams City Council over remark on council’s diversity


THE council’s vice-chairman has criticized a conservative councillor, which described itself as the only councilor for ethnic minorities in the city.

She said he “erased the identity” of a Jewish council member and another Irishman.

Councilor Samer Bagaeen criticized the lack of diversity in Brighton and Hove City Council, particularly after the Labor group was given the power to select candidates in the local elections, which was stripped from it over concerns of anti-Semitism and a lack of representation.

Council member Hannah Clare, however, criticized the council for describing itself as the “only ethnic minority representative on the council” in a blog post on the ConservativeHome website.

She told Cllr Bagaeen on Twitter, “It doesn’t look good to erase the identity of an ethnic Jewish council member who also identifies as Black and ethnic minority (Bame).”

She pointed out that council member Leo Littman is Ashkenazi Jew and that the council chairman, Phelim Mac Cafferty, is white Irish.

“While we know that black, brown and Asian people often experience a different kind of racism that most white minorities typically avoid, it’s also true to say that many different communities experience racism,” she said.

Cllr Clare accepted that the City Council should be more representative of the people who live in the city and said the Green Party is actively encouraging people from minority backgrounds to throw their hats in the ring for a council candidate in next year’s local elections will.

She said: “We recognize that the City Council is not as diverse as the communities we serve and that all parties have a responsibility to do better.

“In light of this, we have already started to actively invite people from communities experiencing racism to run for Green Councillors.

“While we know there is much more work to be done, we are proud of our work to combat racism in Brighton and Hove.

“In the past, in 2013 we began a review of the experiences of Black and minority ethnic staff, helped shape an action plan, and committed to nominating a co-opted from a community experiencing racism in the 2019 local elections.

“Over the last few years we have worked hard and made a commitment to dismantling racism both within the council and in the city, while taking the lead in communities experiencing racism.

“But we know there’s more work to be done — and that includes having a council that more fairly represents the city’s broad diversity.” Brighton Deputy Leader slams City Council over remark on council’s diversity

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