Your say / Black Lives Matter

‘Dramatic economic and social change is needed to make Bristol a more equal place’

By maya i franklyn, Tuesday Sep 8, 2020

Every city has its unique characteristics that make it what it is, and Bristol is no exception. Bristol is known as one of the best places to live in the UK. It’s cosmopolitan and a melting pot of ethnicities and cultures; exceptional people with fascinating stories to tell.

Bristol has a lot to offer the young, old and all those in between. For those who are looking for a cultural community Bristol is at the top of the list. From street art from world renown Banksy to Wallace and Gromit, there’s something for everyone.

However, for such a vibrant and diverse city, there’s an uglier truth.Bristol is an unequal city. A Runnymede Trust report stated that Bristol is amongst the worst city for racial equality in the UK. The report found that people from black and minority groups had poorer job prospects, the worst health indicators and fewest academic qualifications when compared to white people.

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So how can we Bristol more equal? As a young person living in Bristol, I am concerned that the businesses in Bristol are not as diverse as they should be.

We all know that a community united in equality will be a more attractive place for businesses to grow and thrive, and where graduates will want to live, and work.

In Bristol we have two major universities, and many impressive companies that have made the city their base. However, their workforce is sadly lacking in diversity and inclusion and does not represent the communities in which they’re based.

Another aspect of inequality that deserves attention is appropriate representation of people of colour. Every young person needs inspiring people to emulate. This becomes difficult when they cannot relate to what is been shown by the popular media.

The Bristol Black Lives Matter protest on June 7. Photo: Milk & Honey

Despite the diversity of the city, there are still some neighbourhoods that are predominantly white, with little or no interaction with people of colour. This lack of contact and discourse ultimately leads to misunderstanding and a widening of the racial division.  For some of these communities, much of the information about people of colour are from what is portrayed by the media.

Unfortunately, much of this information is flawed with stereotypes and biases. Bristol has a thriving creative hub and, with Channel 4’s intention of creating a media space in Bristol, they will undoubtedly utilise the diverse talents of our city ultimately shaping the dialogue.

Bristol has many dynamic, independent-minded neighbourhoods but there’s obvious social and geographical polarisation fuelled by economic inequality.

As affluence remain a powerful driver of economic inequality, there is a need for dramatic economic and social change to make Bristol a more equal place.

Maya hopes to become a humanitarian journalist and presenter. Photo: Maya I Franklyn

Maya I Franklyn is a 23-year-old journalism student and mindfulness blogger, with a passion for writing content that uplifts and motivates others.

Main photo: Creative Youth Network

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