Last month George Floyd, an unarmed black man, was killed when a white police officer knelt on his neck for over 8 minutes. After his death, Black Lives Matter protests have been held around the world, with thousands turning out to march against police brutality and systemic racism.
Let’s be clear, this is not just about the USA. In the UK black people are statistically more likely to have police force used against them. Black people are also four times more likely to die of coronavirus. Last year the #CharitySoWhite campaign highlighted the underrepresentation of BAME people in charities and the discrimination many face.
Charites have always been key figures in addressing societal issues but how can we make sure we’re creating real change? It’s easy to write a supportive statement on social media, but we need to back up our words with actions. Both Coronavirus and the Black Lives Matter campaign have highlighted critical injustices in our society. We now need to look at how we can firmly establish fairness and equality within our own organisations first, addressing racism and other forms of discrimination including sexism, ableism, and LGBT rights. We need to remember that charities are not immune to these biases.
We can start by doing what we do best, bringing high level training to local charities. BVSC will be providing training for the sector in Equality and Diversity over the coming months. We regard it as essential training for ALL organisations to ensure the Black Lives Matter campaign is a catalyst for real and lasting change in our sector. We will post details of training and events in future bulletins.
We know our community can be a force for positive change. We’ve seen volunteers turn up in their hundreds to help people in need because of coronavirus- we can all do our part to ensure the legacy of the Black Lives Matter campaign is more than just a memory of protests. We can make sure Bexley stands up to the challenge of creating a diverse and representative charity sector where opportunities to work, manage and volunteer are open to all.
In the meantime, individually there is much we can do to educate ourselves. A suggested list of reading material from Jane Ide’s blog, (CEO of NAVCA):
Why I’m No longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
I’m Still Here by Austin Channing Brown
Natives by Akala
Dark Days by James Baldwin
Diversify by June Sarpong
How To Be Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
Don’t Touch My Hair by Emma Dabiri
White Supremacy and Me by Layla F. Saad
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
Freedom Is A Constant Struggle by Angela Davis
They Can’t Kill Us All by Wesley Lowery
Your Silence Will Not Protect You by Audre Lorde
White Girls by Hilton Als
Brit(ish) by Afua Hirsch
Black and British: A Forgotten History by David Olusoga
The Good Immigrant, edited by Nikesh Shukla
Some charities you can support: