Here at Coventry we’re working hard to ensure that diversity and inclusion play a fundamental role in the way we operate as both an employer and provider of services for our citizens.
We’ve taken various steps on our journey so far including the writing of a new equality, diversity & inclusion (EDI) policy and the creation of an EDI Project Board which gives strategic oversight and direction at the highest level of the organisation.
We’re in the process of writing our new diversity & inclusion strategy that will contain an ambitious action plan to build upon our recent progress in areas such: as improving the diversity of the workforce so that it is more reflective of Coventry’s communities, the rollout of unconscious bias training and the support and development of our 5 employee networks and much more.
However, as we all know the month of October is Black History Month and we as a Council are celebrating the forgotten history of Black People from across the world. We have been working in partnership with our employee networks and have asked employees from across the organisation to nominate their Black Heroes and to write a piece on the impact they have had on their lives. There has been an overwhelming response that has resulted in multiple pieces going up each day during the month of October.
As well as starting a conversation, we’ve been keen to use this as an opportunity to educate colleagues on the contributions of Black people throughout history. Various articles such as key reading lists, podcasts and television programmes have been collated and shared.
This year’s Black History Month has taken on extra significance due to the untimely death of George Floyd and the resulting #BlackLivesMatter movement, and the additional impact of Covid-19 on Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic communities.
In addition an open letter from Cllr George Duggins, Leader of the Council; Cllr Abdul Salam Khan, Deputy Leader; and Martin Reeves, Chief Executive has been shared with all colleagues to reinforce the Council’s position on the need to have open and frank conversations about systemic inequality no matter how difficult that conversation it might be.
Grace Haynes – Head of Organisation Development
Coventry City Council.