MEDIA RELEASE 24th June 2020: Real Change Campaign
It has been two weeks since Lives of Colour co-hosted the Black Lives Matter demonstration and vigil in Cheltenham. Since then we have been asked by many individuals and businesses how they can make actionable change to address systemic racism in the UK. It is clear from all the protests across the world that racism and racial inequality can no longer be ignored - we need action that delivers long term change.
So, we’re asking you, what is it you can do within your organisations, homes, and individually to support efforts to eradicate racism and racial inequality? Racism is no longer the burden of black people to bare, it is a societal problem that affects us all. We need to work together to support anti-racist efforts in our organisations, homes and in our behaviour.
Our schools, institutions and businesses are rife with practices that perpetuate racial discrimination either knowingly or unknowingly. The lack of infrastructure and education needed to cater for a diverse world is evident as we continue to implement policies and practices that are not inclusive. The Equality Act 2010 ensured that organisations had to legally comply to anti-discrimination legislation, however compliance is no longer enough. Awareness is no longer enough either. We need to hold our schools, businesses and institutions accountable. We need to ask them what support and action they are taking to eradicate racism.
So, what is your duty as a business or organisation? Maintaining the status quo is not enough. The status quo has led to minimal improvements for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people in the UK and in many areas racial discrimination has only escalated. Now is the time to make real change and over recent weeks we’ve seen many UK businesses and organisations step up to the challenge.
In the UK, the British Medical Association, has committed to increasing leadership opportunities for BAME doctors within the NHS on a programme that lays the foundation to end and prevent bullying, harassment and discrimination . Rebecca Stewart reports that the “UK’s biggest advertising agencies, platforms and trade bodies — including WPP, Publicis, Facebook, ITV and the IPA — have pledged to tackle the “systemic inequality”’ . In their open letter, the companies expressed, “as inequality is so ingrained within the fabric of society and our sector, this is a problem we need to take action on together to affect change”.
It is even more important that many more organisations follow suit to ensure that the change we want is consistent throughout all industries. Lives of Colour is asking you to hold your schools, businesses and organisations accountable to help eradicate systemic racism in the UK.
However, this doesn’t start and end at work. Our homes and communities are vital spaces to ensure that we are inclusive - from the media we consume, to the toys our children play with and the conversations we have with our friends and family. These are all powerful tools that influence us consciously and unconsciously. It is by educating our families, friends and communities that we will dismantle racism and eradicate racial inequality.
Individually, we must have higher expectations for ourselves and those around us. If we want to take a stand against racism, we need to call out those whose behaviour falls short of our expectations – even when that person is ourselves. We need to take it upon ourselves to learn about racism, microaggressions and the lived experience of BAME people. It is up to us as individuals to learn about the historical factors that have contributed to racism and how we can work to overcome it. We need to be listening to podcasts, reading books and delving into the many online resources available to equip us with the knowledge and education to tackle racism.
Live of Colour believes that we must walk hand in hand on this journey, we must work together to dismantle racism and racist policies to deliver #REALCHANGE.
 British Medical Association, (2020), Available at: https://www.bma.org.uk/news-and-opinion/we-stand-in-solidarity-bma-statement-on-black-lives-matter (Accessed 23 June 2020)
 The Drum, (2020), Available at: https://www.thedrum.com/news/2020/06/03/uk-ad-bosses-pledge-support-black-talent-open-letter-amid-george-floyd-outrage (Accessed 23 June 2020)