16 June 2020
What is Talking Points?
Cambridge News asks a representative of each local political party to answer a question on a local issue in just 300 words. The answers are then published in the physical copy of the Cambridge News every fortnight. Here, we share our response to the question.
Today's Question: Are diversity and inclusivity encouraged enough in Cambridge?
Cambridge has a very diverse population. There are places of worship for different faiths, small and independent businesses that offer products or food from a variety of cultural backgrounds, charities and organisations that support people of various liberation groups, events such as the Ahbab Festival that celebrate a range of cultures, and many businesses highlight being ‘LGBT+ Friendly’ and do not tolerate any form of discrimination.
However, we are not immune to wider societal problems. At the Black Lives Matter protest, we heard many testimonials of both institutional and individual racism, lived and experienced in Cambridge. Vandalism and Islamophobia were reported during the construction of the Cambridge Central Mosque. As the Covid-19 virus spread in February, East Asian students reported racist abuse.
While Cambridge hosted its first Pride event last year, it took fifty years after the Stonewall riots to get there. There are also no queer spaces in Cambridge, not even an LGBT+ bar/pub. There is one club night and one pub night a month. Charities, LGBT+ staff networks, and independent groups also host events open to the public, but that is still not in a dedicated queer space.
It is also common knowledge that Cambridge is an expensive city. People on lower incomes struggle far more in Cambridge than they would do in many other cities. This is not just a north/south divide; Cambridge is relatively expensive when comparing with southern cities too. The private rent sector is a joke. Public transport is far more expensive than in other cities. Many people in Cambridge suffering from a decade of austerity have had to rely on food banks, even those with full time jobs.
Yes, Cambridge has a lot of diversity, and promotes equality and inclusivity BUT there is still much more that can be done.
Our response was written by Peter Price. Price moved to Cambridge to study Biomedical Science at Anglia Ruskin University. He now works at Addenbrooke’s Hospital and is the Social Media Officer for the Cambridge Greens.