Anti-racism: where we’ve got to.

This blog is also available in Reehana’s spoken languages; Punjabi and Urdu.

Platfform’s anti-racism action plan was launched as a result of George Floyd’s brutal murder by police officer Derek Chauvin, and the subsequent intense conversations that arose around racism in society today. Platfform was initially silent in these conversations, and was called out; you can read our CEO’S response here.

We acknowledged our silence and inaction, and followed up by reflecting on the position that an organisation like ours holds in society, and the responsibilities that position gives us. We acknowledged that we could not fully claim to champion wellbeing if we failed to address prejudice, that we were not doing enough to be effective allies, and that more work was needed. You can read our full statement here.

In order to become effective allies in the fight against racism, it was clear that we needed a wider range of backgrounds and lived experiences on our team, and that this needed to start at Board level. Our trustees have been actively involved from the start, helping us draw up a plan that would allow Platfform to be a more inclusive organisation.

My role is to help us ensure that we make this happen, and to shape our strategy as we progress.

I am a British-born Pakistani Muslim, and at the hands of society and the health system, I have suffered years of racism and discrimination. I know the lasting impact on my mental health. The trauma is just as real today as it was many years ago.

I know first-hand that discrimination and inequality are very present in society today, and I have felt the effect that has on my wellbeing. I truly understand how important this work is, and I am passionate about getting it done.

Here’s what we have achieved so far:

  • We launched our organisational anti-racism action plan
  • We created a new role: Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Lead
  • Our Anti-Racism Action group was established, with an initial workplan agreed
  • We are working with a Clinical Psychologist to establish psychological safety for all in the group
  • Appointments have been made that increased diversity at Board level
  • We have set a strategic milestone for the organisation to have a visibly more diverse workforce, specifically at governance and leadership levels and to have achieved external accreditation in good practice by 2024
  • Educational sessions have been provided for staff to help us better understand racism in modern society, and we have a growing range of educational resources available to staff
  • We have organised workshops for staff on the concepts of privilege, and being a positive ally
  • We’ll be taking part in Diverse Cymru’s cultural competency practical process, beginning in early 2022
  • Deeds Not Words Pledge signed, and pledge expectations worked into our action plan
  • Policy reviews are in place to ensure we are inclusive, and that our recruitment process reflects this

What we aim to achieve next

  • We will continuously review and update our anti-racism action plan
  • We are broadening the anti-racism action group to encompass a broader Equality, Diversity and Inclusion remit – agree Terms of Reference and develop broader action / work plan.
  • Establish Platfform’s Allyship Programme
  • Embed educational material into core staff learning – such as inductions and staff training
  • Diverse Cymru accreditation – this is underway for our core central teams, and there are timetabled plans for rolling out to other areas.
  • Update our Anti-Racism statement and publicly demonstrating progress made
  • Bring a comprehensive Diversity & Inclusion Policy into practice
  • Ensure our website is reflective of our people by promoting our culture and values
  • Continue with staff workshops relevant to our anti-racism action plan and broader Equality, Diversity & Inclusion topics
  • Unconscious bias training for the Executive team and Managers
  • Forging greater connections with different communities

My role as Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Lead

I am working to create change at Platfform, to ensure that there is an equal playing field for all, and to help make us an organisation that reflects a wider range of backgrounds and experiences. I am working to remove any barriers, systems, and processes that do harm, discriminate or support inequality to ensure Platfform is part of the solution and not the problem.

Ewan (our CEO) and I know that to make real, meaningful change, we firstly need a clear vision, and milestones that we’re accountable to. You can find out more about these here.

Our Anti-Racist Action Group are helping to highlight what we need to do to become a more inclusive organisation, where staff feel that they can be their true selves every day. We’ve made a lot of progress, but there is still so much more to be done.

We’re working alongside people who are experts in their field, who are sharing their lived experiences with us, and helping us educate ourselves on the reality of modern racism.

I am part of an independent panel supported by Tai Pawb. I joined the panel to offer my support and share my learning and experience with other organisations as well as showing mine and Platfform’s commitment to change.

I have recently secured a place on the Equal Power Equal Voice Cross-Equalities Public Life Mentoring Programme and will be mentored by EYST. EYST work to support people from ethnic backgrounds that are a minority in the UK, people with disabilities, women, and people from the LGBTQ+ community to increase our impact and influence in public life and politics.

As I come to the end of this update, I have learned a valuable lesson:

I did not have a voice before, but now I do. Platfform, and I will no longer stay quiet.

We will continue to challenge ourselves to do better, we will continue to educate and support each other, and we will ensure everyone within the organisation has the tools to do what is right for the people we work with.

People/organisations who have helped us on our journey and continue to do so:

Abu-Bakr Madden Black History training in Wales
Black Lives Matter Wales – lunch and learns
Diverse Cymru – Cultural Competency
Tai Pawb Deeds Not Words
Marilyn Bryan-Jones – Diversity & Equality Consultant