06 Jul The Mayor’s vision for a diverse and inclusive city
London’s rich diversity and proud tradition of openness towards people of all faiths, nationalities and backgrounds, is what truly defines us and sets us apart as the greatest city in the world.
For generations, London has served as a shining example of how people from different countries, cultures and classes can live side-by-side and prosper together. That’s because, by and large, Londoners don’t just tolerate each other’s differences, they respect, embrace and celebrate them – recognising that our diversity is not simply an added extra but one of our most valuable assets.
One in three Londoners were born outside the UK, while more than 300 languages are currently spoken on our streets. Today, London is home to a million EU citizens and you’d be hard pressed to find a nationality that isn’t represented in our city.
From our food and drink to our culture and economy – across the fields of sport, entertainment and the arts – the advantages of London’s amazing diversity are clear for all to see. Indeed, we draw huge strength from the contribution made by immigrants who have chosen to make London their home. Not only are we grateful for the economic benefits they have brought to our city, we are also conscious of the many ways in which they have enriched our society, our communities and our shared way of life.
It’s a privilege to serve London as Mayor and represent every single one of our many diverse communities. I want London to remain a beacon of tolerance and diversity – one that other cities around the world look to for inspiration. However, I know that won’t be possible unless our diversity goes hand-in-hand with an inclusive approach that ensures every Londoner – irrespective of their age, disability, gender, gender identity, marital status, race, religion, sexual orientation or social class, or whether they are pregnant or on maternity leave – gets to share in the prosperity generated by our incredible city.
As someone who’s broken my fast in a London synagogue and marched in solidarity with members of our city’s LGBT+ community, I know only too well that a commitment to diversity is at the very core of our identity as Londoners. But I also know that we are not perfect and that more needs to be done to build bridges between our communities and strengthen the bonds between Londoners from different walks of life. This task is all the more urgent following the Brexit vote and with London facing some huge challenges – from the widening gap between rich and poor to a rise in the number of hate crimes, the growth of online radicalisation and the continued risk of terrorist attacks.