Declare Brighton & Hove to be an Anti-Racist City - Items referred from the Special Council meeting held on the 13 August 2020

Date of Meeting:

24 September 2020

Report of:

Executive Lead Officer for Strategy, Governance & Law

Contact Officer:


Mark Wall


01273 291006



Wards Affected:









1.1    To receive the following petition for consideration which was debated at and referred from the Special Council meeting held on the 13 August 2020.




2.1    That the petition be noted.



3.1      The petition is detailed below:


Declare Brighton & Hove to be an Anti-Racist City


On 12th June 2020 Brighton & Hove City Council issued a statement pledging to be an anti-racist council. We welcome this statement and ask the council to go further and declare the city of Brighton & Hove to be an Anti-Racist City. To drive inclusion in our city, embrace cultural diversity and encourage equity of opportunity, our community must work together to be actively anti-racist.


Building on the history of the people of Brighton, who have always turned out on mass to protest against far-right marches and meetings that have descended on our city, including the landmark moment when Mosely gathered the far-right at The Level in 1948 and the people of Brighton turned out to protest and successfully halted this event.


          Lead Petitioner – Mo Kanjilal


          Additional Information:


Brighton has the spirit to lead the way in being the beacon city for anti-racism and true empowerment to black people and people of colour, as it has shown for our LGBTQIA+ community. Brighton is a city of inclusivity, recognised both nationally and internationally, and we believe this city is capable of setting the example for what it means to be a truly Anti-Racist City.


Brighton And Hove City Council has already demonstrated the commitment and ambition to achieve this, however, it is vital that this is demonstrated through concrete and visible actions. By bringing all of our city’s organisations, services, community groups and individuals together to combat racism and prejudice. We can make Brighton & Hove an example to the rest of the country on how to create a truly inclusive city.

Our requests are:

·           Terminology - Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC) should use appropriate terminology when referring to people who are targets of racism because they are not white. People of Colour is the appropriate term to use. BAME and BME also refers to minority ethnic people, which can include any group of people that find themselves in an ethnic minority, but they may not experience racism due to the colour of their skin. To address the needs and lived experiences of people who have experienced racism, People of Colour is a good term to use.

·           Schools - we welcome the news that BHCC are working on a schools’ program. The council should actively work with schools ensuring a safe, anti-racist, non-hostile environment is created for children, families and staff. This work should address recruiting People of Colour to redress the lack of representation throughout the hiring in schools for teachers, head teachers and governors. Schools should recruit at least two parent governor positions for POC and actively recruit for the positions to be filled. There should be a format for people to raise concerns about racism they are experiencing or witnessing within their school anonymously with a link directly to the council which is monitored and responded to. Brighton schools should have anti-racism, history of POC, British imperialism and colonialism taught at a significant level throughout the school curriculum across all year groups. Schools should also be included in the education program in the next point.

·           Adult education program- an anti-racism education program needs to take place in workplaces, and service providers throughout Brighton. The most effective delivery of this is through specialised theatre education projects that involve both performance, interactive workshop, and in-service training. This is an effective delivery system which has proven  success in  both delivery and outcomes. BHCC should commission this work to be created and delivered throughout education establishments, workplaces and service providers to ensure effective education to facilitate the creation of an anti-racist city.

·           Businesses - BHCC should not purchase the services from any provider that has not demonstrated that they have anti-racist policies and employ POC as full-time staff members. Businesses should commit to anti-racism processes in order to bid for council tenders and show that they are actively addressing diversity and anti-racist policies in their businesses. There should be initiatives run with Brighton’s business community to set targets and timeframes to increase diversity in these organisations.

·           Council BAME group- BHCC should create a second paid position on the currently named The BME Worker's Forum, to ensure that it is successful in its ability to take an active role in driving change in the future city council, so the burden is never left to just one person, to be the lone voice in any meeting. There should be a facility for all council staff to anonymously raise concerns about racism they are experiencing or witnessing within their workplace, that is monitored and responded to.

·           Festivals - BHCC should commit to being the new hosts for the RISE festival, which was ended through funding cuts. As Brighton has proven itself to be outstanding hosts to PRIDE, it can now demonstrate that it leads the way as a city of anti-racism by hosting RISE festival, giving it a new permanent home. BHCC should ensure that Brighton Festival, Brighton Fringe, and the film festival all demonstrate substantial representation of POC and this should be the key factor in them allowing the festivals to take place in the city.  Each festival should have a specific space dedicated to showing the work of POC as well as included throughout the festivals.

·           Policing - Brighton & Hove City Council need to take an active role in addressing the detrimental actions of Sussex Police towards People of Colour, particularly Black people, that have resulted in hostile experiences for POC to live in or visit Brighton. BHCC must conduct an inquiry into Sussex Police practices which disproportionately target and impact Black people and People Of Colour. Particularly the practice of Stop and Search, high amounts of Use of Force, and application of PREVENT involving children and families of People of Colour.  Social justice groups and the media have raised concern that Brighton has one of the highest disparities in the country, with 3.5 white people in every 1000 stopped by Sussex Police in the last year compared to 38 in 1000 black people. We find this inequality unacceptable in a council that declares itself anti-racist. BHCC needs to outline an action plan for working with Sussex Police to change this culture in order to ensure their human rights are respected as residents or visitors of Brighton. 

·           Funding for cultural research & community spaces - funding cuts have stripped away services and projects for people of colour in our city such as the Black and Minority Ethnic Young People’s Project (BMEYPP). The Black and Minority Ethnic Community Partnership (BMECP) is a useful and highly valued facility, however, People of Colour still feel disenfranchised in our city. Brighton & Hove’s Black History Month has done fantastic work and the council could add to this by funding research into the history of People of Colour in Brighton and Hove, and the history of anti-racism, by collaborating with the city’s two universities. The research could be displayed on a website. We also propose the council works with residents of colour to create a community-run hub in a central Brighton location. This space could include a community café, workshop training areas, and a performance area to provide a permanent venue for people of colour to share their creativity with our city. This would demonstrate a genuine commitment to anti-racism. 

·           i360 Sponsorship- the council should end sponsorship of council managed spaces by brands that support racist policies - British Airways is the sponsor for the i360 and many residents were appalled at the council lighting it purple to demonstrate an ‘anti-racist’ stance. British Airways are complicit in the hostile environment and make £30 million per annum from deportation contracts. These deportations of People of Colour are to countries where their lives may be in danger, where they may have no family or friends, and may have never lived there. British Airways have not investigated the death of Jimmy Mubenga who was suffocated whilst being deported on a British Airways flight in October 2010. His last words were ‘I can’t breathe’. As Brighton and Hove city council are so moved by the last words of George Floyd, they should be equally as moved by the final words of Jimmy Mubenga and end relations with British Airways. They owe the council £3.1 million (10% of annual profits from deportation contracts). We ask that this £3.1 million be ring-fenced for targeted community support for people of colour.

Brighton & Hove has a reputation as an open and inclusive city, but we know there are areas in which we fall woefully short. We ask you to build on the brave ideals this city is known for and lead the way for this country by demonstrating the power of Brighton & Hove as an Anti-Racist City. 


3.2      An extract from the minutes of the special council meeting held on the 13 August 2020 is detailed below setting out the petition and recommendations for the committee to consider:




4.30pm 13 August 2020


Virtual Meeting - Skype





Present:   Councillors Robins (Chair), Mears (Deputy Chair), Allcock, Appich, Atkinson, Bagaeen, Barnett, Brennan, Childs, Clare, Deane, Druitt, Evans, Fishleigh, Fowler, Gibson, Hamilton, Heley, Hill, Hills, Hugh-Jones, Janio, Knight, Lewry, Littman, Lloyd, Mac Cafferty, McNair, Miller, Moonan, Nemeth, Nield, O'Quinn, Osborne, Peltzer Dunn, Phillips, Pissaridou, Platts, Powell, Shanks, C Theobald, Wares, West, Wilkinson and Williams










Declare Brighton & Hove to be an Anti-Racist City


32.1      The Mayor stated that where a petition secured 1,250 or more signatures it could be debated at the council meeting.  He had been made aware of six such petitions and would take each in turn, although those relating to Madeira Drive and Old Shoreham Road would be taken in one debate as there were petitions in favour and against the proposals.


32.2      He noted that there were amendments to the cover reports’ recommendations for the first petition, the second and third petitions which would be taken as part of the debate on the matter in question.


32.60   The Mayor then invited Mo Kanjilal to present the petition concerning the prioritisation of affordable housing in the city.


32.61   Mo Kanjilal thanked the Mayor and stated that the petition which had been signed by 1,949 people called on the Council to declare Brighton and Hove as an Anti-Racist City. She noted that the petition had reached the required 1,250 signatures within two days and had then reached a total of 2,380 which showed the desire to be seen as an anti-racist city. There was a clear need to address the spectre of racism that existed in the city and action needed to be taken so that real change could be made, and this could be demonstrated to the rest of the country. She hoped that such change would be led by the city council and a clear pathway for a truly anti-racist city to be created.


32.62   Councillor Powell thanked Mo for presenting the petition and noted that a report had been considered at the special meeting of the Tourism, Equalities, Communities & Culture Committee on the 29 July outlining the council’s commitment to becoming an anti-racist city. The report had been unanimously agreed and set out the work programme to achieve the objective. The Council recognised the need for it as an organisation to change and intended to work with community groups to help to achieve that and to lead the city in becoming an anti-racist city.


32.63   Councillor Appich welcomed the petition and stated that the Labour Group would continue to support the work required to implement change that was required. She noted that the proposed anti-racism strategy had been approved at the Tourism, Equalities, Communities & Culture Committee meeting. She stated that it was a hugely important piece of work that had to be undertaken and welcomed the full support of all the Groups on the council.


32.64    Councillor McNair welcomed the petition but felt that there were questions that needed to be considered in taking matters forward such has how issues would be raised in schools, how would businesses ensure they can employ the best people for the job, and how will a holistic approach be taken to ensure all aspects of diversity are included as anti-racism was not just about colour. He hoped that in looking to the future people would also look to where we have come from.


32.65   Councillor Brennan welcomed the petition and stated that with the recent death of George Lloyd the need for action had been highlighted. In looking across the council chamber she was mindful of the need for the political groups to take action and encourage people from all ethnic groups to get involved and stand as councillors to reflect the community make-up of the city. She was pleased to see the anti-racism strategy had been agreed and looked forward to seeing that taken forward and the council taking action to become an anti-racist authority.


32.66   Councillor Powell noted the comments and thanked councillors for their contributions and noted that there was a lot to do. She believed that a start had been made and by working together change could be achieved.


32.67   The Mayor thanked Mo for joining the meeting and presenting the petition. 


32.68   The Mayor then put the recommendation to the vote and called on each of the Group Leaders to confirm their position as well as the Groups in turn and each of the Independent Members:


Councillor Mac Cafferty stated that the Green Group were in favour of the recommendations as amended and this was confirmed by the Green Group Members;


Councillor Platts stated that the Labour Group were in favour of the recommendations as amended and this was confirmed by the Labour Group Members;


Councillor Wares stated that the Conservative were in favour of the recommendations as amended and this was confirmed by the Conservative Group Members;


Councillor Brennan confirmed that she was in favour of the recommendations as amended;


Councillor Fishleigh confirmed that she was in favour of the recommendations as amended;


Councillor Janio confirmed that he was against the recommendations as amended;


Councillor Knight confirmed that she was in favour of the recommendations as amended.


32.69   The Mayor confirmed that the recommendations as amended had been carried.


32.70   RESOLVED: That the petition be noted and referred to the Tourism, Equalities, Communities & Culture Committee for consideration.