The death of George Floyd at the hands of the police in Minneapolis was horrific and another brutal reminder of too many incidents that have been constantly occurring. We at the Bristol Chamber of Commerce & Initiative, part of Business West, condemn racism in any form and as leaders and representatives of the business community, we pledge to always stand up for fairness, equality and inclusion. We pledge to call out injustice.
We recognise there is much to do in our city and region. In Bristol, the life expectancy of our BAME communities living in the inner-city is 10 years lower than those who live in more affluent areas. COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting BAME communities. These communities are more at risk, many key workers in frontline roles come from BAME backgrounds putting them more in danger of contracting the virus, 90% of BAME run businesses have lost considerable amounts of income and 67% have had to close.
We recognise structural inequality exists and we believe it is not the responsibility of our black community to convince us why we need to tackle social, structural and institutional racism. As leaders of the business community we all need to challenge the way that we run our businesses, to overcome complacent acceptance of the status quo, to eradicate racism and seize the opportunity that diversity brings to our city and region. As a membership and leadership body we will be taking action and commit to work with our members and partners who include Bristol One City, Black South West Network, Babbasa, Bristol Stepping Up Programme, St Pauls Carnival, 91 Ways and Be On Board. We commit to working with our members and partners to understand how we address these problems and contribute to making progress. Only by working with our communities do we build trust, and ensure our city and region is safe and prosperous for everyone.