On the 5th of December 2017, we saw an article introducing “the new global ambassadors chosen to represent Manchester on the world stage”, appear on our Twitter feeds. Six people have been added to the list, and something in particular stood out to me. Sheona Southern, Managing Director of Marketing Manchester, states:

“These individuals support our work to raise the profile of the city region, and attract inward investment to boost the local economy.”

When I look at the list, there’s a point of my own I would like to make regarding a few common details of the new, high profile people, who are expected to attract interest to Manchester. They are predominantly white, mostly over the age of 40, and not representing the background I come from. Now what does that say to you about Manchester?

Why is it black people aren’t making the list? Is it because there are no black people out there who are worthy? No, of course not, it’s because we live in a society where we are led by a minority who are generally elite, white men, who are not representative of all the influential people we see in our communities on a daily basis. We live in a society that fails to acknowledge black people as positive role models. Many still try to claim we are “all equal”, yet it seems we are failing to be treated equally.

It feels like there is often only one story about black communities in our headlines. And they are all to do with gang or drug related crimes; demonising black people from working class communities like my own. It still feels like today black people are treated as if they are the problem, when really the reality is society has been racist for centuries. The ignorance in society is what causes negative stereotypes today, and something seriously needs to change.

Something needs to change, when on the full list, a photo of a Simpsons character (representing Josh Weinstein) makes the list, before a black role model.

The truth is, there are lots of positive black role models in Manchester who I would want to be part of ‘promoting a positive perception’ of our city, and as a young mixed race girl, it really frustrates me not seeing all of these people represented in society today. Here’s our list of excellent black role models, who come from, work in or support Manchester:

(From top left to right: Dawn Edge, Tony Morris, Diane Modahl, Bugzy Malone, John Amaechi, Jackie Kay, Lemn Sissay, Erinma Bell, Rowetta Idah, Geoff Thompson, Keisha Thompson, Akeim Mundell)

Taesia Mack (14), RECLAIM Alumni