Ian Thomas is used to tough jobs. The former children’s services director at Rotherham council is now chief executive of Lewisham, a London borough facing huge financial pressure, including a £15.6m overspend on children’s services.
Only two areas of public service better reflect the UK population: social work and the NHS. Latest figures show that around one-fifth of social workers and NHS staff are from BAME backgrounds, although given that 42% of medics are not white, diversity in non-clinical NHS jobs is very much lower.
The lack of diversity is even more acute at senior levels. Judges, senior civil servants, chief constables and NHS chief executives are still predominantly white. In local government, according to last year’s Colour of Power report, none of the 108 chief executives of England’s largest councils was a BAME person.
Kansas City is booming. Employers and investors have poured into the midwestern city since the recession. At least $1bn has gone into its sparkling new downtown, revitalized arts district and shiny new condos. So why is Sly James, its highly regarded outgoing mayor, so unhappy?
James, who steps down in July 2019, is leaving office with a sense of disappointment that despite Kansas City’s obvious accomplishments, the city’s recovery has left one large section of society behind: African Americans.
About 30% of Kansas City’s population is black. Every month, seemingly, Donald Trump uses Twitter to trumpet how well black people have done under his presidency. Nationwide African American unemployment is now 6.5%, down from a peak of 16.8% at the height of the recession.
But national numbers in a country as big as the US can be misleading. For many African Americans in the Kansas City area, the spoils of a roaring recovery have passed them by.
I am only 23, but I stand with the Windrush generation because I know what it’s like to suddenly feel unwelcome and unwanted in the country where you’ve lived most of your life, and which you thought was your home.
I was born in Jamaica but arrived in the UK aged eight to join my mum. I loved school, and in my final year was made head girl at Clapton Girls’ academy. I was so excited when I won a place at LSE to study law in 2013.
It was only then that I realised that my immigration status meant I would not be able to take up my place. I contacted the charity Just for Kids Law with a few questions about the Ucas process, but it became clear that my situation was far more complicated than I first imagined.
I spent the next few weeks in complete shock. I discovered that, rather than having “unsettled” status in the country I call my home, I had no “lawful” status at all. I made numerous phone calls to the Home Office, and was initially told that my family had a valid application and that our documents would be with us in a few weeks.
But this didn’t turn out to be the case. I was in the Just for Kids Law offices, desperate to take up my place at university, when I made the final call. I remember listening to the woman on the other end of the phone tell me that, despite what I had previously been informed, I had no status nor an active application at all. I went numb.
When is a dress just a dress? Remember those photos of the little cocktail number that looked blue with black lace to some and white with gold lace to others when they were in fact the same frock? American teenager Keziah Daum now possesses a prom dress with similar magical properties, and it’s landed her in hot water with culture pedants.
The attraction of the qipao (“cheongsam” in Cantonese) is obvious: a sexy, figure-hugging sheath of silk with a high mandarin collar balancing a va-va-voom flash of leg via a thigh-high slash. Its beauty, however, turned into a curse when photos posted on social media of her wearing her beloved vintage find made her a target for tens of thousand of tweets accusing her of cultural appropriation. That’s one heck of a fashion crime.
Certainly something needs to be done, for there should be zero tolerance on all forms of Hate Crime. The media can play their part to diminish this and to try to change peoples attitudes. However, the Government also has a role to play and they themselves should show in their comments, actions and legislature that Hate Crime will not be tolerated. A first would be to set out their views on record on how non-UK residents will be treated post Brexit and not leave it to the racists to decide.