Chair of racial inclusivity commission completes written and oral evidence stage

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Chair of racial inclusivity commission completes written and oral evidence stage

Stephen Bush conducted more than 20 meetings and roundtable discussions with faith and community leaders ahead of a report due to be published by January

Stephen Bush meeting with Chief Rabbi Mirvis over Zoom
Stephen Bush meeting with Chief Rabbi Mirvis over Zoom

The chair of the Board of Deputies’ Commission into Racial Inclusivity is “cautiously optimistic” about progress being made ahead of its finding being released early next year.

Stephen Bush, the political editor of the New Statesman, has spoken about communal leaders’ willingness to “hear the challenges and consider some really pivotal changes”, after taking written and oral evidence from individuals and organisations across the community.

He was speaking after the Commission completed its ‘stakeholder engagement phase’, during which he held over 20 meetings and roundtables with senior figures in the community – all virtually due to Covid. Bush reached out to leaders from all religious denominations, including holding a discussion with Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, as well as key charity, youth, educational and communal institutions.

The Commission will now begin work on a report of its findings, including a series of recommendations, as well as setting out a suitable period for implementation after which to review progress.

Stephen Bush meeting with youth group representatives

It was launched earlier this year following the growth of the Black Lives Matter movement, and will be published by January 2021.

Stephen Bush said: “I have been truly heartened by how constructive our stakeholder meetings have been. Having put some really tough issues and testimonies on the table at all these meetings, their reactions have been incredibly open-minded and extremely positive. While the testimonies we’ve received make clear that there is a long way to go, I am cautiously optimistic that we can make some significant progress for racial inclusivity, having now seen how willing our communal leaders are to hear the challenges and consider some really pivotal changes.”

Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl, said: “The Board of Deputies is totally committed to making this Commission a success. Stephen has my full support in this important work as it moves into the next phase, and I applaud him for all the progress he has already made. Together with Stephen, I’m determined to ensure that all institutions of our community – including the Board of Deputies – become fully welcoming and inclusive of Black Jews, non-Black Jews of Colour and Mizrachi, Sephardi and Yemenite Jews.”

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