A HISTORIC session was held last week in Edinburgh City Chamber to advance the rights of Black and African people living in Scotland.

The organisation, Black Alliance Scotland, held its inaugural ­meeting to establish a collective effort to influence government and local ­authority policies to be inclusive and cognisant of the growing identity of the Black and African populations in Scotland.

The launch of Black Alliance ­Scotland is significant as an ­established coalition of Black and ­African-led organisations on a ­national scale in Scotland has not ­existed before.

The initiative, spearheaded by ­Silence Chihuri, the founder and CEO of the Fair Justice System for Scotland (FJSS) Group, and Enoch Adeyemi, the founder and CEO of Black Professionals Scotland (BPS), was attended by around 50 leaders of Black-led organisations across ­Scotland.

The launch was attended by the deputy lord provost, ­Professor Sir Geoff Palmer OBE and Christine ­Jardine, MP for Edinburgh West.

Councillor Lesley Marion Cameron, deputy lord provost of the City of Edinburgh Council, said: ­“Edinburgh is proud to be leading the way on ­decolonisation with the work the city has done recently to review ­Edinburgh’s connections to slavery and colonisation.

“We have a long history of welcoming people and other cultures into the city over the years, and this brightens up our city.

“I hope that this inaugural summit is a success and I want to thank you for choosing Edinburgh as the city to hold this meeting.”

The National: Sir Geoff PalmerSir Geoff Palmer

Professor Sir Geoff Palmer said: “It is important that for such a set-up to work, the people need to know the system, lobby, and advocate for change. Where you do not have the expertise, bring in the expertise to help make things work.”

Black Alliance Scotland has been formed to bring together Black and African led organisations in Scotland and advance their agenda for access to opportunities across all the sectors in the country.

It is a collective made up of ­representatives from a large ­representation of organisations in Scotland ­including businesses, not-for-profit organisations, faith and religious groups, and community groups.

The inaugural meeting took place on Wednesday, April 6, at Edinburgh City Chambers.