• Panel’s 24 members announced, bringing wide experience and skills
  • They will provide insight, challenge and support to public services
  • Mayor urges panel to help bring about more substantial change to tackle inequality

A new panel set up as tackle racism and discrimination has met for the first time.

The Greater Manchester Race Equality Panel brings together a set of experts and leaders from across the city region’s diverse communities.

The panel’s 24 members were welcomed by Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and Councillor Brenda Warrington, leader for Age Friendly Greater Manchester and Equalities, at a meeting last week.

They were chosen for their skills, knowledge, connections into their communities and their willingness to use their own personal experiences to challenge and support public services to tackle systemic inequalities, racism and discrimination.

Mayor Andy Burnham announced a plan to create the panel in 2019 but recruitment was delayed partly due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, Greater Manchester’s leaders promised to speed up progress as part of their response to the Black Lives Matter movement this summer.

Applications were invited in September and October and 163 people expressed their interest.

The panel agreed two areas of work to address early in 2021:

Providing insight and input to the Independent Inequalities Commission report into systemic racism in Greater Manchester

Responding to and shaping the planned Race Equality Policing report from Greater Manchester Police. Publication of this report was another of the leaders’ pledges made in response to the Black Lives Matter movement.

The panel will elect a chair, or co-chairs, at a future meeting.

Mayor Andy Burnham said: “We had a very high quality field of applicants for this panel and the 24 people chosen have all already made a real difference in their communities through tackling racism and discrimination.

“We have not been good enough making the changes that are needed to eliminate discrimination and ensure fairness.

“This panel will now be a platform to bring about further more substantial change and to turn our words into actions.

“The panel will provide challenge and support so Greater Manchester can achieve its goal of being a place where all voices are heard and where, working together, we can shape our future.”

Brenda Warrington, leader for Age Friendly Greater Manchester and Equalities, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement have shone a light on the long-standing inequalities and discrimination that exists in our society.

“We have to do more to increase equity and to improve relationships across our communities and with public services.

“This panel will provide valuable insight into our diverse communities and enable political leaders to listen and act in a more targeted way.”

The panel’s remit will include:

  • Educational inequalities and achievement
  • Employment and labour market inequalities
  • Financial inclusion and poverty
  • Hate crime and preventing discrimination
  • Health and wellbeing inequality
  • Housing and homelessness, including hidden homelessness

The Race Equality Panel is latest addition to the Mayor’s advisory groups. It will work alongside the other panels which include the Ageing Hub, Disabled People’s Panel, LGBT Panel and Adviser, Women and Girls Panel, and the Youth Combined Authority. It is planned to establish a Faith Advisory Panel next year.

The panel’s members are:

Maqsood Ahmad: Joined the British Muslim Heritage Centre (April 2019) as the chief executive officer from Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP); also a former cohort director for the Nye Bevan Leadership Programme for the University of Manchester.

Janice Allen: Secondary headteacher of a large, diverse school in Rochdale; and has worked in education across Manchester and Salford secondary schools since 1998.

Adam Danquah: Senior lecturer in clinical psychology and has experience working in mental health services in the NHS.

Sophia Begum: Supports vulnerable adults and families with disabilities in Tameside.

David Berkley: Lawyer committed to equality and making faith a force for good.

Faye Bruce: Champion for addressing health inequities and the wider determinants to improve health.

Elizabeth Cameron: Equalities warrior, trainer and public speaker in race equality and diversity, specialising in people’s experiences in work as well as society; specialist in women sexual violence; personal performance coach; child and youth work manager.

Kailash Chand OBE: Honorary vice president of the British Medical Association and passionate about equality and diversity.

Jay Charara: Social psychologist, skilled expert in diversity and integration; lifelong campaigner for equal access to public services for all.

Elinor Chohan MBE: Led awareness raising of the Bosnian genocide across the region; and a 35 year career and experience in healthcare, education, welfare and a strong involvement in interfaith dialogue.

Priya Chopra: Worked within the domestic abuse field for over 20 years; passionate about raising awareness of the causes and consequences of violence against women from ethnic minority backgrounds, working to change the attitudes and behaviours that tolerate and perpetuate violence and gender inequality.

Kush Chottera: Passionate about empowering communities and individuals by focusing on their assets and achievements.

Khadijah Diskin: PhD candidate and activist; research and activism centres around youth experiences of violence and trauma, racial literacy, anti-racist education and LGBTQ people of colour’s experiences.

Falah Ghafori-Kanno: Born in Iraq/Baghdad, lived in Manchester for over 35 years, liaising with other communities to promote better understanding and contribute to the tackling of discrimination and prejudice.

Aba Graham: Everyday changemaker, inspirational motivator educating services and communities about equality and cultural issues, helping people to develop a conscious mind about equality and its impact, and creating platforms that create opportunities within the Black community.

Martin Ingham-Griffith: Worked in youth and community work for various organisations across Manchester over the last 12 years, incredibly passionate about creating opportunities for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and using sport to drive social change.

Sharmila Kar: Senior workforce and organisational development and Inclusion professional in the health and care sector. Originally from West Bengal, India, passionate about intersectionality and understanding how multiple forms of inequality or disadvantage sometimes compound themselves and create obstacles that are not clearly understood.

Dr Charles Leyman Kachitsa: Community leader, academician and entrepreneur who is passionate about making a contribution to society to make people realise their full potential and live a positive harmonious life.

Alyson Malach: Background in teaching over a 20-year period, in post-16 education, special educational needs and with disadvantaged groups, lifelong learning, and as an equality and diversity consultant.

Zara Manoehoetoe: Youth worker with 10 years’ experience, with a passion for grassroots community work, supporting and promoting community consultations to drive policy development and implementation, ensuring that lived experiences are valued and central in decision making, delivery and evaluation processes.

Saba Mirshafiei: Middle Eastern immigrant, raised and educated in Manchester since the age of three months old; working with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds; committed trade unionist.

Parkash Bobby Singh: IT professional and member of the Sikh community in Manchester for more than 30 years.

Circle Steele: Chief executive of Wai Yin, which supports the Chinese and South East-Asian community.

Dr Maria Zubair: Academic researcher from a minority ethnic background, with expertise specifically within the fields of the sociology of ‘race’ and ethnicity and health and wellbeing inequalities.


Article Published: 14/12/2020 09:49 AM