A member of Hackney Council’s review of public spaces named after slave and plantation owners has been selected to join the Mayor of London’s new Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm.

Toyin Agbetu, a founding member of the Council’s naming review – Review, Rename, Reclaim – will join the Mayor’s Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm, which is co-chaired by Dr Debbie Weekes-Bernard, Deputy Mayor for Social Integration, Social Mobility and Community Engagement, and Justine Simons OBE, Deputy for Culture and Creative Industries. 

The Mayor’s new Commission shares the community partnership values of Review, Rename, Reclaim, which launched in June 2020, by identifying the contributions of London’s diverse population and ensuring historical names and figures are celebrated in the public realm.

Since the launch of Hackney’s naming review, Toyin Agbetu has been a member of the borough’s community steering group and has advised the Council on how public places named after slave and plantation owners could be renamed. Hackney’s community-led and public learning approach has helped inform the GLA’s London-wide Borough working group and has led the way in how councils and residents can actively reconcile with their own contentious past. 

Toyin Agbetu said: “It’s a wonderful privilege to take on this role to help make London reflect and respect the entirety of our diversity. I look forward to working with the Commission to ensure the public spaces in the city we call home is a beautiful model of inclusivity.”

    Notes for editors 

    • Toyin Agbetu is a scholar-activist and community-educator at Ligali, a Pan African, human-rights based organisation that challenges Afriphobia and the misrepresentation of African people, culture and history in the British media. He is an award-winning, independent filmmaker who participates in numerous panel and broadcast discussions addressing Afriphobia, reparations, decolonisation and the repatriation of cultural artefacts from British museums. Toyin is currently based at University College London’s anthropology department where he is completing his PhD on gentrification and institutional forms of activism in East London.

     

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