Alex Neil MSP
Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Communities and Pensioners' Right
Scotland has a wonderfully diverse society and we are all, each and every one of us, equal citizens and stakeholders of Scotland. Our vision is that Scotland in 2030 is a Scotland where people are healthier, happier and treated with respect, and where opportunities, wealth and power are spread more equally.
The Scottish Government is determined that Scotland should be doing all that it can to advance race equality, tackle racism and address the barriers that prevent people from minority ethnic communities from realising their potential. We are clear about the centrality of equality and human rights to Scotland's future and the importance of inclusive growth, fair work and social justice to our economic success and social wellbeing. The Race Equality Framework's purpose is to put a lens on this work to ensure that this vision is achieved equally for people from all ethnicities, helping to build a Scotland where we all share a common sense of purpose and belonging.
The Scottish Government has an important leadership role to highlight civic rights and protect its people. However, the actions needed to eradicate racism are not just for the Scottish Government alone. Every individual and organisation in Scotland needs to play their role in creating a fair and equal Scotland that promotes and protects all people who live here regardless of race, religion, gender or any other differentiating characteristic. This matters to each of us and we all have a role to play across every ethnicity, every sector and every community. It's right that we all work to ensure that people are valued and respected, that we have diversity in our board rooms, across top jobs and in political office. It's right to build communities where minority ethnic people feel safe, protected and included and are given equal and fair access to services and employment.
We know that whilst progress has been made, there is frustration at the extent and pace of change. The publication of this Framework is the first step in shifting gear and making a difference. In the period ahead we will need to work together to further shape our actions and to deliver on the commitments that we outline here. We acknowledge the importance of building trust and confidence and this will involve continued engagement on priorities and feedback to communities on progress over the lifetime of the Framework. Investing in the relationships we have developed with individuals and communities, across civic society more broadly and with public authorities over the past year will be vital to making progress.
We commend the excellent work in local communities and by minority ethnic led third sector organisations who through their campaigns and work to fight racism and advance race equality have provided insight and perspective and presented us with a compelling vision for an equal society for all. Our gratitude goes to everyone who has helped us in this first phase of our work, particularly the many individuals who contributed their time as part of the Community Ambassadors' Programme. We hope you can see your influence in this Framework.
We thank the Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights for providing practical support, analysis and co-ordination to the Scottish Government, including designing the innovative Community Ambassadors' Programme which has given hundreds of people the opportunity to contribute to the framework directly.
We thank CEMVO Scotland, BEMIS, the Scottish Refugee Council, Interfaith Scotland, the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the Scottish Parliament's Cross Party Group on Racial Equality for helping us get to this point.
We thank the policy makers across the Scottish Government and the public sector who have contributed their expertise and worked with us to develop a bold set of initial actions. We look forward to continuing our work with everyone in the years ahead to make our ambitions for a fairer Scotland a reality; and we look forward to your continued involvement and support. The more diverse the audience we engage with, the greater is our understanding of the issues, and the more effective we will be in our collective response to create by 2030, a fairer and purposeful Scotland where everyone feels they belong and can achieve their full potential.
Alex Neil MSP
Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Communities and Pensioners' Rights