Elections were held at the V4CE Inaugural AGM, held on 26th October, which they used to stage a debate on the future of race equality, asking ‘Fair, Equal and Inclusive – what is the future for race equality?’
As the first national BME-led membership organisation in England, V4CE invited Trustee nominations from across their wide VCS membership base. All present members voted on the day and democratically elected the following Trustees:
• Neena Samota of Coalition of Racial Justice UK
• Rita Chadha of Refugee and Migrant Forum of East London (RAMFEL)
• Baljit Banga of Newham Asian Women’s Project
• Mir Juma of Centre for Youth and Community Development
Elizabeth Balgobin, Chair of V4CE says:
“With the expertise and commitment of our new and original Trustees, V4CE embark on a new chapter, strengthened as advocates for fairness, equality and inclusivity across public policy and the VCS.
Our sector and our communities face some of the biggest challenges and instabilities of a decade. It is always in times instability that the political narrative is contested and re-shaped. V4CE will be there at the forefront of the debate on race equality, using our unique position and Board of talented Trustees to powerfully advocate for the BME VCS.
The need for coherent leadership on race equality has never been greater. We find ourselves facing a society where casual racism and a disregard for equality legislation are fast becoming the acceptable norm. Race equality has slipped from the policy agenda and it comes under increasing threat, from national government and statutory agencies unclear how to interpret their duties. V4CE are calling for a national strategy from Central Government on race equality. We stand side by side with our members, who are increasing in number by the day, to stand up for a healthy civil society based on fairness, equality and inclusivity.”
Rita Chadha, CEO of RAMFEL says:
“As a Trustee of V4CE, I will bring the skills and expertise to challenge discrimination and prejudice towards BME organisations within the wider VCS family.
As Chief Executive of RAMFEL, I am passionately involved in campaigning around equality and in particular race equality issues. I also currently chair and facilitate Barking & Dagenham BAMER Forum, based in a London borough where the BNP at the last election more that doubled their share of the vote.
In Government there is a lack of understanding about what race equality really means. The BME VCS needs to speak out now to shape the narrative on race equality. We need to constructively criticise policies and develop convincing arguments for race equality based on evidence and a cutting edge understanding of legislation, reforms and power relations.”
Elections were followed by a dynamic debate on the future of race quality. Speakers, V4CE staff and members from the audience shared creative, unified solutions for challenging negative media stories, meeting the needs of rural BME communities and addressing persistent prejudice and stigma.