The Sheffield Race Equality Commission has appointed 24 commissioners to join its board and lead the city’s inquiry into the nature, extent and causes of racism, racial disparities and how to tackle them.
The Commission, chaired by Emeritus Professor Kevin Hylton, from Leeds Beckett University, was established earlier this year and will provide a non-partisan strategic assessment of these significant issues in the City.
Following an open call for local people to apply for the role, the Commissioners have been drawn from elected representatives and communities in Sheffield. The Commissioners will offer their expertise throughout all areas of the Race Equality Commission, rather than represent specific interests.
The newly appointed commissioners include ex-professional footballer, Winston Campbell; Yuen Fong Ling an Artist and Lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University; Sheffield Star’s Editor Nancy Fielder and Queen’s Counsel Barrister Gul Nawaz Hussain.
Explaining why he wanted to get involved in the year-long project, Artist and Lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University Yuen Fong Ling, said “After seeing the Black Lives Matter movement unfold this Summer, it forced me to acknowledge that we’re still living in a system of racial inequality. I wanted to do something to ensure I continued to challenge these issues and the Race Equality Commission is providing a platform that allows people to do that.
“It’s giving Black, Asian, Chinese and racialised people others, a forum to be heard and represented in Sheffield. I feel it’s important to question, challenge and to listen carefully to those who have previously been silenced so we can make a new way forward together.”
Gul Nawaz Hussain, Barrister and newly appointed Commissioner on the panel added: “Sheffield is a fantastic city well known for its diversity and warmth. However, we cannot be complacent; now is an opportune time to take stock of where we are, what problems exist, where responsibility lies and how we can best address issues together. That is why I wanted to be a commissioner. I will discharge my responsibilities fearlessly and without favour.”
The Commissioners met at the inaugural meeting where they discussed the aims, expectations, and scope of the project.
Cllr Abtisam Mohammed, who is leading the work on the Race Equality Commission, said: “Sheffield City Council remains committed to take the real actions that are needed for longstanding change in the city. The inaugural meeting brought together a high calibre group of individuals who recognised the enormity of the work ahead.
“This is a crucial long-term piece of work for our city and presents an opportunity for the major organisations and institutions to join together to show their commitment to change and addressing the racial inequalities and disparities that still prevail in our city.”
With the Chair of the Commission, Professor Kevin Hylton, the new Commissioners will carry out short inquiries, taking oral and written evidence from the public and will produce a report that details the long and short term measures that are required to disrupt systemic issues concerning race and racialised inequalities in Sheffield.
Professor Kevin Hylton*, Chair of the Sheffield Race Equality Commission, said: “The newly appointed commissioners bring with them a wealth of expertise and experience that will help take this important inquiry forward to the next step. I look forward to working with the Commissioners and reviewing evidence from the people and key organisations of Sheffield about their experiences with racism and racial disparities.
“We will work to identify ways we can better achieve racial equality and social justice for the city. The call for evidence is now ongoing and I urge the people of Sheffield to come forward and share your experiences.”
More information on how to submit evidence to the Race Equality Commission, or how the Commission will work can be found here.
*Professor Kevin Hylton is Patron of the Equality Challenge Unit’s Race Equality Charter, member of Sport England’s Talent Inclusion Advisory Group, and former Head of the Research Centre for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.