A Black Man Just Made History As The First Black Leader in Europe


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On Wednesday, Vaughan Gething was elected as First Minister of Wales, becoming the first Black leader in Europe, per CBS News.

Self-described as “a Welshman born in Zambia,” Gething recalls experiencing racism after his family relocated to Britain. He joined the Labour party when he was 17-years-old “after being inspired by articles about Nelson Mandela he read.”

Last September, Gething visited Birmingham, Ala. as a representative for Wales “at the 60th anniversary of the racist bombing of the 16th Street Baptist church in which four Black girls were killed. The people of Wales raised money for a stained glass window depicting a Black Christ to be installed as part of the church’s restoration.”

“Even in Birmingham, Alabama, a very Black city, they didn’t expect someone who looked like me to stand up from Wales,” Gething commented.

50-year-old Gething “won 51.7% of the votes cast by members of the party and affiliated trade unions,” over his opponent Education Minister Jeremy Miles, who had 48.3%.

After being elected, Gething said, “It is a matter of pride for a modern Wales, but also a daunting responsibility for me — and one that I do not take lightly.”

“Today, we turn a page in the book of our nation’s history. A history we write together,” stated Gething during his victory speech. “Not just because I have the honor of becoming the first Black leader in any European country — but because the generational dial has jumped too.”

Once King Charles III approves his appointment, which is only a formality, Gething will be officially sworn into office.

This is the first time in history that a white man isn’t running the government in the U.K. The other three U.K. governments are led by “U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak [who] has Indian heritage, while Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf was born to a Pakistani family in Britain, [and] Northern Ireland is led jointly by Michelle O’Neill and Emma Little-Pengelly.”

According to head of British Future, an equality think-tank, Sunder Katwala, “ethnic diversity right at the top has become the ‘new normal.’” However, despite this increase in diversity within elected leadership, racism still persists.  

“Sayeeda Warsi, a former chairwoman of the Conservative Party, said she felt there was more overt racism now than in 2010, when she was the only person of color in the then-Prime Minister David Cameron’s Cabinet,” the Associated Press reports. And data reveals that Black and other minority groups continue to be worse off when it comes to poverty and health outcomes than their white counterparts.


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