The young Cardiff woman leading the fight against racial inequality in Wales

  • By ITV Wales journalist Katie Fenton

A young woman from Cardiff has been praised for her pioneering work in leading the fight against racial inequality in Wales.

Christina Tanti published a report - the first of its kind - investigating the scale of hate crime, discrimination and racism.

It will now be submitted to the United Nations to assess how successful Wales has been in tackling the issues.

Christina's report is the first of its kind in Wales.

The 25-year-old said her drive for change has been inspired by her own experiences of racism as a child.

She is now a finalist in the 'Rising Star' category of this year's Womenspire Awards, run by gender equality charity Chwarae Teg, which celebrates inspiring women in Wales.

"Within the report we've highlighted that hate crime is increasing in Wales," she said.

"We've highlighted issues with racial bullying still taking place in schools, and issues with ethnic minority individuals struggling to progress in the workplace - which are problems that have been going on for a long, long time unfortunately.

"It's really important for us to extract the data and the lived experiences and the findings and have that all in one place, so that public bodies and institutions are aware of where the issues are and what they need to do to make Wales a fairer place for everyone."

Christina was inspired to tackle racism after experiencing it herself as a child.

Christina knew she wanted to make a positive difference from an early age.

She supports victims of hate crime and discrimination through her work with Cardiff-based charity Race Equality First.

This involves working closely with the police and the CPS to understand why prosecutions of hate crime remain low, while reports of it rise.

"I'm from an ethnic minority background and I have been on the receiving end of racial slurs, and that was predominantly when I was growing up or in school.

"I think when you experience these things it can sort of foster a feeling of not belonging and sort of being aware that you're different and not necessarily in a good way at a young age.

"While people's lived experiences certainly should never be up for comparison, I do want to say that the experiences that I've had with racism certainly do not compare to the daily abuse that many ethnic minority individuals face in their lives and the institutional racism that they experience."

Christina's colleague, Himalee Rupesinghe, said she is setting an example for other young minority ethnic women.

Himalee Rupesinghe, from Race Equality First, said Christina is paving the way for others.

She said: "For someone of such a young age, it's just incredible that she pulled all this content together, working with the volunteers, steering group members, funders, committee members, to really bring all this information together into a report that will change legislation.

"Whether you're young, whether you're from an ethnic minority, whether you just have a drive to want to see change - I think seeing a young woman driving that change is incredibly important."

Christina hopes her research will help to create more role models for young people from ethnic minority backgrounds.

She added: "Seeing those faces growing up would make a really important difference to ethnic minority children who are growing up at the moment.

"It's really important that we do take on board what needs to be changed in certain aspects of life in Wales, so we can ensure that ethnic minority children aren't reliving the past that some individuals have unfortunately had to go through."

The winners of this year's Womenspire Awards will be revealed in a virtual ceremony on Thursday 30 September.