2020 forced the world to see how the reality of racism deeply affects people, our interactions and our institutions. From BAME groups being disproportionately affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, to the horrific murder of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor; and looking more closely to home these past years, the ongoing case for Trevor Smith, the death of Dalian Atkinson, and the life-threatening injury sustained by Julian Cole who now requires 24-hour care.
#BlackLivesMatter protests around the world was a pivotal moment for all of us as it became clear that fundamental change, able to transform lives and remedy historical injustices, is long overdue. We should all have an equal chance to succeed regardless of our cultural background or ethnicity. Organisations must act to be transparent, welcoming, free from discriminatory practices, aware of the dangers of unconscious bias and empowered by diversity. We just closed NCASC, our annual national conference that brings together leaders of adult and children services and local government; and again, we were reminded by fantastic speakers that action for better inclusive leadership has been siloed long enough; that change needs to stem from us, in leadership positions, and that us, as leaders, need to make these changes across all levels of our organisations first and foremost.
The Black Lives Matter movement also sparked a commitment to educating ourselves about Black History, heritage and culture – to understand racism and stand in solidarity against it, a starting point to fully embrace real change and shine a light on OUR shared history from the perspective of ALL people that make it.
We took this chance not only to celebrate Black History but also the thousands of carers and social care colleagues from a diverse range of ethnic and cultural background in the country that everyday fight to provide better care and support in extremely challenging circumstances. Throughout the month of October, we paid homage to their incredible achievements and commitment, and now in November, we want them to know that even if Black History Month for 2020 has come and passed, our commitment to change hasn’t.
Organisationally, we take a knee as a symbol of our collective commitment to our colleagues. This, however, is just that - a symbol and to make this commitment meaningful, we need to demonstrate what this means through the actions we take and the things we do over the coming years to illuminate historical inequalities, remove discriminatory practices, eradicate disproportionate impacts and ensure equality for all.
ADASS Diversity Lead Trustee