SEVERAL of Bradford's leading speakers on racial equality have called for more action on the matter for the sake of future generations.

Six people from organisations across the city spoke on a Race Equality Network (REN) webinar, chaired by Shadim Hussain of Bradford Foundation Trust.

It was in honour of the UK's first Race Equality week (February 1-7) which aims to unite communities of all ethnicities, tackle racism and celebrate diversity.

Sofia Mahmood, founder of Empowering Minds, believes we are ‘united, yet divided’ and thinks we need to hone in on the finer detail for change to happen.

She said: "Race equality is about inclusiveness, not excluding anyone, and making it inclusive for everyone.

"We have got issues with people using sweeping statements and these cause issues within communities.

"My pledge is to address racial issues which has led to inequality, to be a voice of change that leads to impact, and to not get lost in today’s headlines and tick boxes.

"There is always a solution for these issues, open and honest conversations and no blame game. It is all about engage, educate and inspire."

Lead coach at NAFS Fitness Nadera Amini and director of Bradford Hate Crime Alliance Charles Dacres have both been impressed by REN's work so far in bringing communities together.

Charles said: "This notion of identity and belonging, our young people are still struggling to find it. We are all trying to do something about it but that needs to be joined up thinking. I see REN being instrumental in making that happen.

"We need to recognise that not everyone is equal, and it requires us to make sure everyone is around the table."

Humayun Islam, of BEAP Community Partnership, highlighted his Bangla Bantams, a multicultural initiative aimed at bringing more inclusivity to football in Bradford, as something that has helped the city on the subject in recent years.

He added: "Race equality is about inclusion and using sport, food and culture to bring people together, it is natural.

"It is about understanding our differences but discovering our similarities."

Peter Tate, who has been part of West Bowling's MAPA for almost half a century, has seen enough to know what is needed.

"I think it is about actions, not words," he added. "We need an action plan. We would like to get ideas from everyone.

"It is good talking about things but let's get some action done."

Anne-Marie Smith, of the African Caribbean Achievement Project, stated a person's race should not be a barrier anymore in society and it is crucial this is addressed for those in the future.

"No longer should black people have to work twice as hard as their white counterparts just to succeed. Black people should have the same opportunities as their white colleagues.

"It is important to address these racial inequalities so our children and generations to come have opportunity and they can feel that they can achieve whatever they want without racial bias."

Shadim ended the event by saying: "We need impact and change. I think everyone on the REN board, including our senior members, have made that clear."