Deputy Leader column, 29 January 2021

Published Friday, 29th January 2021

Sutton Scene column from Councillor Manuel Abellan, Deputy Leader of the Council

The contribution of different minority groups to the cultural, political and civic life of our country has often been ignored and misrepresented. This past year especially has brought into painful focus the inequalities that Black, Asian and minority ethnic people, and religions still face and the challenge to have their voice and experiences heard.

In Sutton, we value and support our increasingly diverse community and celebrate the richness that it brings to our borough. As a council, we have been reflecting and listening to the local experiences and concerns of residents and community partners to understand what we can do locally to make a difference within our own communities now and in the future. 

We are committed to bringing about meaningful change that gives everyone confidence that we are determined to root out racism and challenge it wherever and whenever we see it. 

Last night, the Council’s Environment & Sustainable Transport Committee agreed plans to commission a new piece of public art in Sutton Town Centre, to promote inclusion and equality in the borough. 

The mural will be made up of four parts, each promoting and celebrating Sutton’s diverse communities, who make up 23% of Sutton’s residents. The design and representation of each of the four parts will be agreed with local artists who will also represent the talent and diversity within Sutton’s communities. 

There will be a major engagement exercise on the design, including with community and faith groups, the voluntary sector and the wider public. Engaging with black and minority ethnic residents and artists in Sutton will be key to ensuring the public art installation represents those communities, as well as providing a form of art that people can relate to and get involved in. 

The new diversity mural in Sutton Town Centre will serve as a reminder that in Sutton there is no room for racism. It will start to tell the story about the immense contribution to our borough by our Black, Asian and minority ethnic residents and people from different faith groups.