21 December 2021
In July 2020, we committed to becoming an actively anti-racist organisation. That meant going beyond words and promises and ensuring that we:
- understood what being an anti-racist organisation meant for London Youth
- understood what this meant for our team and all our stakeholders
- were clear on the actions we needed to take both inside our organisation, for and with our teams and externally, for and with our members and stakeholders.
Over the past year and a half, we’ve been working with our teams, our members, our youth board, our trustees, and with support from Mahogany Inclusion Partners, to deliver on our anti-racism commitment.
Our journey so far
Racism is endemic in our society and this means that we need to identify and be conscious of how we contribute to perpetuating racism and inequality within our own organisation. By taking action, we are putting ourselves in a stronger position to tackle our unique issues and to take the right action to develop London Youth as an anti-racist organisation.
To that end we have worked with our teams to deeply reflect on our organisational practices, on our culture, on the experiences of our team members and on external good practice to understand where there are challenges we need to specifically address in our organisation and practice.
The process included:
- Listening workshops with our team, trustees and Youth Board.
- Adopting a Race Equality Theory of Change approach, to enable a deep, systemic and aligned approach to understand the key challenges and hear what was important to our team members. This process has helped us to establish a vision for the future which our internal team is engaged with.
- Establishing a Race Equality Action Stakeholder Group to drive a strategic, principles-driven approach in London Youth. This group meets regularly to ensure sustained action, progress and organisational support. It includes team members at every level, trustees and our Youth Board.
- Appointing a specialist inclusion and anti-racism consultancy – Mahogany Inclusion Partners– who have supported us with the creation and delivery of our anti-racism strategy, advising on our people strategy to ensure alignment across all our people processes and providing advice to the Race Equality Action Stakeholder Group.
Strategy and Action Plan
The approach taken has helped us to develop an anti-racism strategy which sets out a long term, organisation wide and aligned approach to our work. It is structured to deliver in a way that is considered and sustainable in the long term.
The strategy and subsequent action plan have six key pillars which support our overarching commitment:
Our commitment to anti-racism
This is the overriding focus of our work – we want to become an anti-racist organisation. We know that the concept of anti-racism was not previously widely understood and to deliver on our commitment we had to understand and establish what anti-racism means for London Youth, our teams, our members and for all our stakeholders.
For more detail on our vision and our principles please read ‘Our commitment to anti-racism’.
We want to achieve racial equality across our organisation. We know that this work has significantly deepened our awareness and that our previous approach and actions were not developed enough. Diversity, and particularly representation of people of colour in London Youth, is a vital part of our work as an organisation. Through the work in this pillar we aim to achieve improved racial diversity in London Youth with representation that more closely aligns with Londoners at all levels in in our organisation.
We want a London Youth where everyone feels like they belong. Through our focus groups and staff workshops, many of our employees of colour have told us that they do not feel like they are included and have to supress their identity to fit in. This will be an important focus area for our strategy.
Education and learning
We want to develop and maintain an anti-racist culture within London Youth. Education and learning are key to this and we have developed an anti-racism training plan for our organisation to give all our teams and trustees the awareness, skills and confidence to be anti-racist.
We will establish accountability at all levels across London Youth. We will work to establish an accountability framework from organisation, through to leadership, management and individual level. This will ensure that our anti-racism commitment is embedded into the fabric of London Youth.
We will use our voice and influence to progress anti-racism outside of London Youth. Our commitment to anti-racism goes beyond just us and we will work to support our member organisations. Our external impact is an important pillar of our work.
While we have made progress and set strong foundations for our journey, there is a long road ahead. We are changing as an organisation and committed to doing better. We are confident that by taking a considered deep dive approach which has involved our team members, our strategy will support us in the long term as we take our journey of learning and action.
We will continue to work with our teams, our members, partners and young Londoners to fight racism wherever we find it.
You can download a more detailed copy of London Youth’s Anti-Racism Commitment Update Dec’21