We will push ourselves harder to drive meaningful change
Thursday 2 July 2020
The Black Lives Matter movement has prompted many of us as individuals – and many organisations – to think harder about how we think and act to tackle racism.
London Youth believes that Black lives matter and we stand in support of and in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. As we wrote to our members in June, London Youth will take more active steps to fight against and bridge any gap in racial equity and injustice.
The last four weeks have been humbling. The difficult conversations we’ve had inside our organisation have demonstrated the passion and pain that many of my colleagues have felt in their lives and in their careers. It is clear that the action we’ve taken has not made the progress needed.
Having listened to my colleagues in the context of this important movement, I have learned our previous approach is insufficient for what we now know needs to be done and it requires a step change.
We are committed to becoming an anti-racist organisation – and now our work is to understand what we must do to achieve this, and also to sustain it.
Our new approach will be built on the following foundation:
- We have appointed London Youth member and trustee, Charline King, to chair a new group that will drive London Youth to become an anti-racist organisation. Charline will work directly with me and Pauline Daniyan, London Youth Director of Programmes, to further build our approach.
- We will prioritise listening to and learning from the lived experience of our Black colleagues – and also more widely to those from an Asian and minority ethnic background. We will also further educate ourselves on the issues of racism and structural disadvantage.
- We will begin our work by reviewing areas such as recruitment, retention and staff/trustee training and development in our organisation. Our plans will evolve to cover our work with the members and young people we serve.
- We will consider the recommendations of reports such as Home Truths: Undoing racism and delivering real diversity in the charity sector (ACEVO, June 2020), which can guide our long-term action.
- We will hold ourselves accountable by ensuring proper scrutiny of both plans and progress at trustee and staff level. We will also update publicly on the progress we are making.
Our reflection is that we need to push ourselves harder to drive change. More will be done in the weeks ahead as we scope our way forward, involving staff, trustees, young advisors and members.
Racism is endemic in our society and this means we first need to be conscious of and identify how we contribute to perpetuating racism and inequality within our own organisation.
While the urgency and need are clear, there is a lot of work to be done to make change meaningful. What is outlined here is a start – and it must be strengthened and sustained. We will listen and we will learn.
Rosemary Watt-Wyness, Chief Executive
As we continue on our journey to becoming an anti-racist organisation we will continue to update publicly on the progress we are making. We have been working to ensure that we continue to listen, learn and develop plans to put in place a framework for sustained action, and activity has included:
- Workshops with staff, trustees and youth board members – these sessions have produced SWOT analysis and Race Equality Theory of Change
- Establishing a Race Equality Action Stakeholder Group chaired by London Youth member and trustee Charline King to lead our approach and oversee this work
- Appointed a specialist consultant who is supporting us with the creation of our race equality action plan and providing advice to the Race Equality Stakeholder Group.
You can read London Youth’s statement in response to the Commission on Ethnic & Race Disparity’s Sewell Report here.