Open letter to Bristol City Council

The events of the last few days have created an energy for change across the city.

SMV’s members share a view that our role is to listen, understand and commit to how we can be a part of resolving the structural, social and economic inequalities that exist in Bristol.

The Black Lives Matter demonstration in Bristol on Sunday amplified the message from the black community that they are tired of this being seen as their fight and their issue. It is not – it is one that belongs to everyone, which was illustrated by the thousands of non-black people of all ages who also joined the demonstration to protest peacefully against racism. The statue of Edward Colston has come down and the question now is ‘what happens next?’.

Ultimately any decision to prosecute or not is a matter for the CPS.

As we take ownership of our history this includes identifying a forward path of truth and reconciliation. The world is looking at Bristol to see which road we choose to take next and where it leads. The Mayor has talked about a restorative process that would enable everyone, especially those most impacted by racism and disadvantage, to be part of finding a resolution and we support that approach wholeheartedly.

The Society of Merchant Venturers is committed to challenging racism and inequality in all its forms and we will work hard to improve transparency.

We will accelerate our part in ensuring that the city overcomes disadvantage wherever it exists. Our schools educate some of the most disadvantaged children in Bristol and we are determined to ensure that our students receive the best and broadest education to enable them to become leaders of the future. Using our combined networks and skills, SMV will continue to explore new ways of providing affordable housing and developing new forms of social ownership.

Working collaboratively with civic institutions and a range of stakeholders, we will help make the Mayor’s One City Plan a reality, which includes supporting the creation of jobs, apprenticeships and new businesses. Above all, we are committed to working with others to achieve real and lasting change in Bristol – building an inclusive, sustainable and successful city where inequality no longer exists and the place of your birth or the colour of your skin is not an obstacle.

The Society of Merchant Venturers
11th June 2020