PROMOTING THE WELSH LANGUAGE AND RACE EQUALITY: NOT A MATTER OF “EITHER / OR”.

Dyfodol i’r Iaith has called for a national discussion on how to ensure that the needs of the Welsh language and racial equality can be harmonised and promoted. This is in response to the recent report on the opportunities provided by the Arts Council of Wales and the National Museum Wales for black people and people of colour.

In the press, particularly the English press, the report’s conclusions were reported as being an indictment of the Welsh language, as if language requirements are invariably a barrier to equality and diversity within these sectors.

Heini Gruffudd, Dyfodol’s Chair said:

“The press’s interpretation of this report was provocative and erroneous, suggesting that it is not possible for a black person or person of colour to speak or learn Welsh. We know, of course, that this suggestion is both offensive and nonsensical and that many more appropriate and flexible opportunities to learn the language are needed.

Promoting the Welsh language and ensuring racial equality is not a matter of choice or prioritisation; both must go hand in hand if the Welsh language is to flourish and be enriched by becoming the medium for diverse experiences.

Neither is the Welsh Government free from this fallacy. They have rightly decided to include the history of black people and people of colour within the National Curriculum, but have not acknowledged the need to learn about Welsh history. Once again, this is not a matter of either / or. History is key to our understanding of the present, and without the specific context of Welsh history, the history of black people and people of colour in Wales is deprived of the framework which is essential to our understanding of that history.”

LINKING THE FUTURE OF THE PLANET TO THE FUTURE OF OUR COMMUNITIES

Following reports that a company based at the Shard in London has bought farms in Carmarthenshire for planting forestry, Dyfodol i’r Iaith has called upon the Welsh Government to adopt comprehensive environmental policies which protect communities as well as the planet, based upon the principles of its own Wellbeing of Future Generations Act.

On behalf of Dyfodol, Cynog Dafis said:

*Burning fossil fuels has undoubtedly been the main cause of global warming, and while accepting the pressing need for more forests to capture carbon, it is a sorry situation that these large companies are now trying to greenwash their activities while accumulating grants and profit at the expense of Welsh communities, their culture and assets.

We therefore call upon the Welsh Government to keep in mind the principles of the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act and acknowledge that sustainability is based upon consideration of the environment, communities and the key role played by the economy. It should adopt policies which protect the prosperity of the community rather than selling local assets to those that, through greed, are mainly responsible for the precariousness of the planet.

We insist that the Welsh Government develops policies that are genuinely sustainable, and work hand in hand with rural communities to protect their ownership of the land while ensuring maximum carbon capture and carbon neutral use. Wales has an abundance of Agri-ecologists, who are as knowledgeable about the needs of the planet as the contribution of food producers and the local economy. This is the kind of extensive and balanced expertise that needs to inform policy-making, not a retread of the old disastrous route of prioritising the interests of those who are mainly responsible for the damage.”

CYMRAEG 2050 ACTION PLAN: DYFODOL’S RESPONSE

There would appear to be no shortage of goodwill towards the Welsh language within the Senedd, but the challenge of turning words into action remains. In our opinion the Cymraeg 2050 Action Plan raises more questions than answers and emphasises the urgency to act. Many of the goals and targets have been around since 2017 and point to an alarming level of delay. The work is complex and needs to be mapped out carefully, step by step, allocating resources and responsibility for each aspect of the plan. Again, it is pertinent to point out the need for a powerful Authority for the Welsh language to set a strategic direction and co-ordinate the responsibilities and contribution of each department, agency, and partner to this immense agenda.

The Welsh Language Minister has said that these are early days for the new Government and therefore there are, as yet few details. We would emphasise again that a strong Welsh Language Authority would lead to consistent and seamless policy development and action. This is what is currently missing and what is sorely needed.