At Corra we have been devastated by the deaths of George Floyd, and many others like him, both in America and here in the UK. It has highlighted the systemic racism and entrenched prejudices, that exist in our society; which have been further exposed by the unequal impact of covid-19.
We hold our hands up and say that we should have spoken out earlier. We didn’t want to appear tokenistic and say something to be seen to say something, but the #BlackLivesMatter movement has rightly challenged us all, as an organisation and as a society. We acknowledge we must be anti-racist in our approach to fight against racial injustice.
We have spent these two weeks listening to voices and stories on racism, discrimination and prejudice. One of the messages that has really hit home, is that staying silent for fear of saying the wrong thing, is to be complicit.
We’ve also heard a call for organisations – among others – to really listen, to accept criticism about what’s wrong, especially when this causes discomfort.
Corra has taken all this on board and reflected. While we continue to think about how we as an organisation can be anti-racist, we realise immediate points that we need to work on:
- We recognise our board should continue in its efforts to be more diverse so that it reflects the communities we exist to serve. We have been taking pro-active steps to address this and on Thursday Trustees will discuss and agree how to ensure our governance reflects Corra’s commitment to anti-racism. We will record and monitor diversity across all Corra’s decision-making structures, prioritising lived experience.
- We will seek opportunities to build our skills and knowledge to better understand racism. This will include investing in long term training for our staff and Trustees, identified by trusted BAME trainers/organisations and will include lived experiences.
- We will listen to our BAME colleagues to find out how they’re being impacted and to ask how we as an employer can support them (something we were too slow to do in the past couple of weeks). We will address this and hold ourselves to account for doing so.
- We will use our platform to listen, learn and act. For example Corra’s community stories project is seeking out voices that aren’t heard. We will help to amplify these voices and we make a commitment to ensure we include the voices of BAME people.
Corra can’t – and shouldn’t – speak for people, but if we can amplify voices that are calling for change we will, including where funding will help. And where people speak out we’ll be alongside them in any/every way we usefully can.