The recent events in America and the Black Lives Matter campaigns in the UK have reminded us all of the importance of understanding and appreciating all aspects of our history.

The tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis has brought into sharp focus the reality of racism and injustice in today’s society. Xenophobia must be challenged wherever it is encountered. Both First Minister, Mark Drakeford and UK Labour Leader, Sir Keir Starmer have acknowledged the global sense of shock, anger and upset. We must stand in solidarity with other nations to act together as a catalyst for change.

Across Mid and West Wales, many people have shown their support for the Black Lives Matter movement. But we must not think for a second that Wales is immune from discrimination towards people of colour; neither must we tolerate the hatred shown towards people from all backgrounds who support the Black Lives Matter movement.

I have recently written to local authorities in Mid and West Wales, asking them what plans they have to review monuments and other historic artefacts in the light of this raised awareness. Some councils have already set out plans to review, others I hope will follow. I have been clear that the process must engage with local communities and be used as a positive step in contextualising and educating around the complex histories of controversial historical figures.

I am proud of the Welsh Government’s record in standing up to racism and prejudice. In the recent debate in the Senedd, the many diverse aspects of Wales’ history were discussed, including Wales’ role in the slave trade and the race riots. These are important parts of Wales’ past and must never be forgotten. Every October, we celebrate and commemorate Black History Month, remembering the contribution of Black people to the economic, political and cultural history of Wales.

In Westminster, Shadow International Trade Secretary, Emily Thornberry has written to the UK Government to call for an urgent investigation into whether British-made equipment was used in response to the recent protests in the United States, and to immediately stop further exports, should this be the case. The UK Government cannot hide behind the Special Relationship between the US and the UK as the reason to do nothing if the values that bind our two countries are being so flagrantly abused by Donald Trump.

For our efforts to have lasting impact, racism must be challenged both structurally and individually. Of particular importance is how our children and young people learn about the history, culture and society of Wales so that we can build a truly inclusive and tolerant nation.

The Welsh Government is committed to the histories and stories of Wales being a core aspect of learning and experience across the curriculum. In developing our curriculum for Wales, the Welsh Government holds regular meetings with Race Council Cymru and other key stakeholders. There are already opportunities within the existing syllabus for learners to study diverse history, including a wide range of resources on the central education Hwb on the subjects of Slavery and Wales, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Windrush Generation.

As the Education Minister has said previously, linking the local, national and international involves examining Wales’s role in the slave trade and our contribution to building the empire. History is not a matter for one lesson and one subject.

A working group has now been established to look at where gaps exist in current materials. This will ensure that, when the new curriculum goes live in 2022, a wide range of comprehensive resources will be available.

Finally, in raising awareness of racism across society, the Welsh Government is set to launch a new campaign to reduce hate crime incidents in Wales and promote positive messages about our long history of welcoming diverse and vibrant communities