Stroud District Council’s draft Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy and Equality Objectives for 2021 – 2025, setting out the council’s commitment to equality and diversity, were unanimously approved at the March 18 full council meeting.

As a member of the working party that – with others - did the diligent research into writing the motion (proposed by Cllr Rachel Curley of the Labour Party and seconded by me, on behalf of the Green Party), in cooperation with Stroud Against Racism, I was delighted that the council agreed it, giving the go-ahead for the continuation of work to confront endemic unconscious racial bias in Stroud.

I was also pleased for more personal reasons. My ancestors fled to this country from Eastern Europe at the turn of the last century, and they met opposition and daily racism. Imagine how I felt when a close relative forwarded me, only a few years ago, a tweet - of which he approved - from the so-called English Defence League, railing against immigration and its effects on the ‘white’ population. I had to point out to him that the EDL didn’t much like Jews either.

My relation’s son happened to fall in love with a black Ugandan woman. She is an exceptionally well-qualified accountant and, helped by having an English name, she regularly makes the shortlist for job interviews. But after the employers have met her, and realised she is a woman of colour, she never gets the job.

This kind of low-level racism towards the BAME community is an effect of ingrained or overt bias by ordinary people; people who probably don’t even consider themselves to be racist.

I trust that my fellow councillors who voted for this proposal won’t now think that their job in fighting racism is done. Their childhood experiences, just like mine, were affected by the absorption of implied or unconscious racial bias. This bias has become endemic to our perception of others, and of the world, to the extent that it appears natural.

If this motion is to have real meaning, everyone on the council, every employer and everyone in the wider community must reflect on both their thinking and their actions to ensure that Stroud is a truly inclusive and welcoming community that values every resident for the contribution they make.

Norman Kay, Green Party District Councillor for Nailsworth