The UK Government has issued a controversial new coin into circulation, paying lip service to heaping pressure from various minority groups off the back of a summer marred by protests and violence over the recrudescent Black Lives Matter movement.
The new 50 pence piece will contain the slogan “diversity built Britain” and 2.5 million units of the new coin will enter circulation next week. According to the UK Government website: “The coin features a geodome, which represents a community of connection and strength, with each section working together to build something greater.”
The coin was designed by a mixed-race coin maker and activist Ms. Dominique Evans who reportedly used her experience growing up as a mixed-race woman in Britain to inspire the 50p piece’s design. Ms. Evans “has previously designed coins to mark VE Day, the Sapphire Coronation and Jane Austen.”
Minority representative group “We Too Built Britain” engaged in talks with the UK Government before the decision to launch the new coin was revealed.
Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, met with “coin designer Dominique Evans, Blondel Cluff CBE (CEO of the West India Committee), campaigners Zehra Zaidi, Professor Patrick Vernon, and Deputy Master of the Mint Anne Jessopp” before marking the release of the new coin.
Sunak, speaking about the coin, said:
I have seen first-hand the contribution made by ethnic minority communities to Britain’s history. That is why I backed the “We Too Built Britain” campaign and requested that the Royal Mint introduced this coin to celebrate it.
This coin, and the rest of the series, will act as a fitting tribute to the very profound impact ethnic minority communities have made on Britain, and I am grateful to the Royal Mint for turning this around at record speed.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson also chimed in the release of the new coin, saying:
Congratulations to Dominique Evans the designer of The Royal Mint’s new 50 pence coin – ‘Diversity Built Britain’.
Her design is the first in a series of coins The Mint will be producing, celebrating those who have helped shape our national history and culture.
I had the great pleasure of welcoming Dominque to a Cabinet meeting, along with Anne Jessopp, the first female Deputy Master of the Mint and Blondel Cluff CEO of the West India Committee and Advisor to The Royal Mint.
This new coin echoes the government’s commitment to building a fairer society for all.
And following the release of the new coin, education packs are scheduled to be rolled out across schools in England and Wales for children to learn about the contributions of minority groups in the formation of Modern Britain.
However, the release of the new coin was not well-received by all. Some claimed that the slogan on the coin alienated a silent majority and overlooked pre-World War II history, while others called the coin “propaganda.”