Race Alliance Wales (RAW) is an initiative which aims to act as a collaborative and self-directed platform for individuals and organisations interested in achieving race equality in Wales.
Our vision, through collaborative work, is to contribute to a more equal, cohesive and globally responsible Wales. Making Wales a welcoming place of safety where rights are enjoyed and BAME people can thrive.
It is important to remember and be grateful to those that came before us. Some of us have been carrying this fight for decades. Let’s make a difference so we’re not here again in another 30 years’ time.Faith Walker, Race Alliance Wales Steering Group
Race Alliance Wales held its inaugural meeting in Butetown Community Centre on 7th December 2018, where attendees agreed the working name of the group, the need for the group and its broad objectives.
The group aims to provide a self-directed space where BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) organisations and individuals can come together to discuss experiences as ethnic minorities in Wales, share information and develop new ideas and solutions to the growing challenge of racism in Wales.
The group also aims to act as a supportive space for BME individuals who may face a range of personal and professional challenges. The group commits to always act in the best interest of ethnic minority people and communities in Wales, to ensure that our resources are used to best effect and to speak with a coherent and strong voice on policies and practices affecting minority ethnic people in Wales.
The establishment of Race Alliance Wales (RAW) is the first of its kind operating in Wales.
Race Alliance Wales held its official launch event on 19th December 2019 at the Senedd in Cardiff. The event was sponsored by Deputy Minister and Chief Whip Jane Hutt AM and included speeches and presentations by: Faith Walker, Abyd Quinn Azim, Rocio Cifuentes, EYST Wales, Hilary Brown, Virgo Consultancy Ltd, Brian Amos, Gwent Police, Sahar Al-Faifi, MEND, Nirushan Sudarsan, Victim Support, Sheila Hendrickson-Brown, C3SC, Shahab Miah, EYST, Marco Gil-Cervantes, Promo Cymru and Abdul-Azim Ahmed, Muslim Council of Wales.
Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust generously awarded funding to the alliance after its formal launch. This funding allowed the alliance to employ a development worker, hosted by EYST Wales, to develop RAW over two years and untap the huge potential of the alliance.
Jami Abramson and Leila Usmani were appointed to the role in a job share capacity starting February 2020. They are currently working towards building a research base and engaging with policy in four key areas: Racism, Racism in Education, Racism in Employment and Representation.
Jami has worked in the BAME voluntary sector since 2014, working with Ethnic Minorities & Youth Support Team (EYST Wales). Born and raised in Swansea, Jami has worked with young people in Wales through heritage volunteering projects. Notably, Jami worked on two young person-led volunteer projects called, ‘Chips, Curry & Cappuccino’ and ‘Young, Migrant & Welsh’ encouraging young people to explore diversity in Wales through food heritage and what it means to be Welsh, respectively. Through a typically varied job role in the third sector, Jami has developed knowledge and experience in youth work, volunteer management, and research methods – and even a bit of photography!
She is currently finishing up her Research Masters in Global Migration at Swansea University. Jami comes to this role with enthusiasm and passion for reducing inequalities in Wales. Jami is looking forward to matching her ‘on the ground’ experience to develop research – collaboratively through peer research – and critique policy in Wales.
Leila came to work for RAW driven by her passion for race equality & having experienced a white washed career in the #charitysowhite sector in Wales. With experience in project delivery supporting a range of people, followed by her creation of a training consultancy focussed on anti-discrimination, intercultural sensitivity and social change, Leila moved into equality focussed policy development in 2019. This role has allowed her to apply her passions to a structured position, and is learning a lot about policy development and its impact on the BAME population. Leila sits on an Intersectionality Working Group, looking at established and developing policies to ensure their broader application and benefit to all, strongly opposing prevailing ‘one size fits all’ approach.
Leila is originally from London, first-generation raised by a feminist engineer mother of Pakistani/Indian origin, and a human rights activist father of Argentine/British origin, together with her siblings and extended family from Mexico and Poland. She enjoys travelling, scuba diving and Carnival culture.