What happens when you ask hundreds of community activists a difficult question?6 December 2013
It turns out that you get loads of amazing ideas and solutions, as Runnymede Trust found out a couple of weeks ago when we took our End Racism This Generation campaign to the Locality Convention in Leicester.
One of the aims of the End Racism This Generation campaign is to raise awareness that racism and racial inequality are still problems in the UK today. So we put up a few posters behind our stall, displaying some scary statistics. One that turned the most heads is from a study about discrimination in recruitment that was done a couple of years ago. It found that people with “Asian or African-sounding names” need to send almost twice as many job applications than those with “traditionally British-sounding names” just to get an interview, even if they have identical experience and qualifications.
Our campaign is calling for individuals and organisations to make changes in their own lives, workplaces and communities to help end racism. Racism can come in different shapes and sizes. So, with its range of member organisations, the Locality Convention was a fantastic place to generate lots of different ideas and pledges for action about how we can fix such a damaging problem.
Here’s just a few of the many inspiring pledges that Locality members have made:
- Regarding representation, Alexis at Elfrida Camden pledged to revise how they recruit trustees and staff to make their organisation more representative of the community.
- Eric from Leicester pledged to challenge institutional racism at a local level, by challenging the local council about the number of black and other minority ethnic groups that are employed at senior levels.
- Tobias, who works at Voluntary Action Leicester pledged to “ask my children how we can end racism this generation and implement at least one of their suggestions”.
- Community Buying Unlimited pledged to organise a venture with NEETS young people that has the specific goal of ending racism.
- On history and culture, George pledged to use his involvement in Leicester’s commemoration of the centenary of World War One to ensure that all groups and communities of different races can make their own distinctive contributions to the commemoration.
- And on the issue of health, where sometimes services can fail to deliver to people of all races in this country, Darnall Well Being pledged to “encourage local primary care providers to build community organisations and community leaders into health pathways to ensure that the health and wellbeing needs of black and minority ethnic patients are met.”
There were also many more promises to help promote the campaign, through blogging and social networks.
At Runnymede Trust, we know that racism can be an overwhelming problem.
When our organisation was formed to tackle racial inequality forty years ago, it was hoped we would only be necessary for a few more years; we’re still needed and still fighting. But even though ending racism feels like a daunting task, we believe that if we all work together, we can make a difference.
So please join us. You can decide what you do; and what you do doesn’t have to be enormous; but we all need to do something. Make your pledge to help End Racism This Generation here.