“When I suggested that there is racism in Bath, some residents took offence,” said Wera Hobhouse. “But knee-jerk reactions tell us nothing. They only distract us from the real issue."
“We need to provide safe opportunities so that we can hear the lived experiences of black people in Bath. I convened an online meeting - ‘Black Lives in Bath: A Community Conversation’ - on Wednesday 24th June, so that we could hear directly from black members of our local community. We had 100 people in the audience."
"Here are just a few examples of what our panelists shared with us:
- “There isn’t one bit of Bath & North East Somerset that hasn’t had an incident or a case...We’ve had pretty much every village, every community have a case of racial harassment or hate crime.” (Director of a local anti-racism charity)
- “This false sense of security - of the positive facts about Bath - can override the lived experiences of the victims of racial abuse when it becomes an issue.” (Local resident)
- “I went to an all-boys school in Bath…the racism was very overt and very covert and…nine times out of 10 unchallenged by the authority in that space. And that has a real effect on you.” (Local resident)
- “Growing up here I experienced racism at school, in shops, in my first places of work in the city, from the police. And I was also racially attacked, completely unprovoked, and thrown through a window. But yet I still love it here.” (Local resident)
- “All of the black people on this panel I’m sure, as well as in the audience, will have been told at some point in our lives ‘If you don’t like it here, why don’t you leave?’” (Local resident)"
"What we heard left us in no doubt: there is racism in Bath. We all need to work together to tackle it."
"I urge everyone in our city to listen and learn for yourself. Imperial Voice Radio has made a special two-hour programme about the event. It is available in Radio Garden at https://radio.garden/listen/imperial-voice-radio/5ELfOWMZ.