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Festival of Politics 2021
20 to 24 October
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Saturday, October 23, 2021

Black History Month – Political Representation

Time: 12pm to 1pm

How much progress does the election of six ethnic minority MSPs show in a political world that needs to be representative of a Scotland with a 4% ethnic minority population?

Free

Event information

The Scottish Parliament elections in May resulted in six minority ethnic members – a positive leap on the previous two male ethnic minority MSPs. How much progress does this signal in a political world that needs to be representative of a Scotland with a 4% ethnic minority population? Why did it take so long and what are the barriers and solutions?

Join our panel to discuss ‘political window-dressing’, shortlists, diverse selection committees and deep-rooted inequalities in an on-going campaign to ensure political democracy and diversity.

This event is brought to you in partnership with the Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights (CRER). It is chaired by Alison Johnstone MSP, Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament.


Panellists

Kaukab Stewart MSP

Kaukab Stewart is an SNP politician, elected as the MSP for Glasgow Kelvin in May 2021.

She became the first woman of colour elected to the Scottish Parliament in 2021, having previously stood for election in the first Scottish Parliament elections in 1999 against Donald Dewar for Glasgow Anniesland and has also stood against former Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling at the 2010 general election.

Prior to her election, she taught as primary teacher for nearly 30 years across Edinburgh and Glasgow, having graduated from Moray House College of Education.

Kaukab has campaigned extensively on educational and equalities issues.

She is currently the Vice Convener of the Parliaments Education Children and Young Peoples Committee. 

Foysol Choudhury MSP

I was born in Bangladesh, then moved to Manchester before settling in Edinburgh for now 40 years. I have always been involved in the third sector – fundraising, volunteering and advocating for equality and justice. In 2004, I received my MBE for services to the community. This gave me the push me to be a voice for people and put communities at the heart of decision-making. It was a true honour to be elected as the first ethnic minority MSP for Lothian Region in May 2021. I am also proud to co-chair the Edinburgh and Lothians Regional Equality Council.

Jatin Haria

Jatin Haria is the Executive Director at the Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights (CRER), an anti-racist social policy charity that works to address issues of structural racism across Scotland
(www.crer.org.uk). CRER has previously served as the Secretariat for the Parliament's Cross Party Group on Racial Equality and (until the lockdown) ran a political shadowing scheme to encourage more BME people to be active in Scottish politics.

Jatin has a keen interest in race and representation, both in decision-making structures and in employment, and was a member of the Scottish Government's Expert Reference Group on Covic-19 and ethnicity.

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