In May 2020, George Floyd, an African American man, was killed by a white police officer in America, sparking widespread protests across the world, including here in the West Country.
The Black Lives Matter movement called on authorities to take concrete action against racism and now, as a direct response, one council has become the latest to claim that it is doing just that. Torbay Council says it is beginning a review into racism across the area to understand more, it says, about how some communities are disadvantaged, and what the council can do to improve things.
Kofi Yeboah-Aidoo has helped organise peaceful demonstrations in Torbay to push for the review. The Black Lives Matter campaigner says people's voices must be heard.
"As soon as we've got the spotlight we have to use it. If you don't use it, it gets taken away from you. There's a lot of black people here. I work here, I work in the care industry and I love it and there's a lot of jobs here as well so we have to seize this opportunity and make use of it so we are not going to sit back and relax at all."
As tourism begins to pick up again following the lockdown, people in Torquay say they have noticed an increase in diversity among visitors but Torbay's first black councillor says there is still a lot of racism. Cllr Jermaine Atiya-Alla has experienced everyday prejudice and silent racism in public meetings and in the community. He has been pushing hard for the review.
Cllr Atiya-Alla says, "There is a problem to be dealt with. Let's see what the review comes out with. Once we get that review, then we will be able to implement policies and actually make Torbay a tolerant and respectful place for people to live, work and visit."
The review begins in September, with public meetings, and panels involving the NHS, education and local business - they're inviting everyone to come forward with their experiences - and a final report will be published in March 2021.
Steve Darling, Leader of Torbay Council, says: “The main question we want to answer with this review is “How do we make Black, Asian and minority ethnic lives matter in Torbay?
“As a council we are absolutely committed to respecting equality and diversity and we want to understand more about how some of our communities here are disadvantaged, and what we can do to improve things here in the Bay. It’s a global issue but we can all play our own part, however small, to make the world a better and more equitable place.”