Statement from the Society of Merchant Venturers

Following the Black Lives Matter protest in Bristol on 7th June, the energy for change across our city continues to grow.

The statue of Edward Colston was removed from Bristol’s city centre last weekend and the fact that it has gone is right for Bristol.

To build a city where racism and inequality no longer exist, we must start by acknowledging Bristol’s dark past and removing statues, portraits and names that memorialise a man who benefitted from trading in human lives.

It was inappropriate for the Society of Merchant Venturers to get involved in the rewording of the Colston statue plaque in 2018 and we have listened to the constructive comments put to us over this past week.

As we look forward, we are examining our own role within the city, how we collaborate with others and accelerate our part in ensuring that Bristol overcomes inequality and disadvantage wherever it exists.

As the co-sponsor of Colston’s Girls’ School, we are fully supportive of their plans to conduct a transparent consultation to consider renaming the school. We welcome a new name that accurately reflects the school’s vision and values. We also support Colston’s School as they too enter a process of discussion about the school’s name.

It is inexcusable that racism and inequality still exist today. We share a determination for Bristol to become an inclusive, sustainable and successful city where the place of your birth or the colour of your skin is not an obstacle.

12th June 2020