A NEW chair has been appointed to lead the West Midlands Race Equalities Taskforce.
Sharonjit Clare has taken over the role from Yetunde Dania, who has led the taskforce to the publication of its first five-year strategy which aims to ensure local people have the same opportunities regardless of their race, ethnicity, and heritage.
The independent taskforce – which was set up by West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street – looks at specific issues facing under-represented communities to make sure everyone benefits from the success of the region.
Sharonjit has a professional background in financial services.
Her powerful advocacy for equality and inclusion has seen her address a number of areas of West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) work including economic policy and improving women’s safety as co-chair of West Midlands Women’s Voice.
Sharonjit said: “I am focused on action that can build on the fantastic foundations the taskforce has laid with its strategy.
“My call to local people and those in power is to work with us to bring forward tangible activity that makes a difference to people’s lives and truly harnesses all talent. This is about meritocracy not bureaucracy.”
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “Yetunde has done a tremendous job of leading the delivery of the first phase of the strategy and I’m committed to working with Sharonjit and the rest of the Taskforce to bring about tangible change that positively impacts the lives of local people.
“I look forward to working closely with Sharonjit to drive this agenda forward. I have no doubt she will bring her considerable policy and professional services experience to bear as we focus on this important mission.”
The West Midlands is one of the UK’s most ethnically diverse regions with around 1.3 million (45 per cent) of residents not identifying as being from a White British background.
In March, the taskforce published its strategy, titled Race Forward, to guide the work of the WMCA and its partners to ensure people in racialised communities can access and benefit from better jobs, transport, and housing.
It also aims to tackle disparities in education, health, and criminal justice, and influence diversity among the leadership of local organisations to bring about lasting change.
Under the new chair, the taskforce is embarking on its delivery phase with a Members’ Advisory Group now set up to guide the taskforce as it looks to connect with communities, advocate for local priorities, navigate potential challenges and add value to the activity already underway across the West Midlands.