The Black Lives Matter movement brought to the forefront of our attention the racial inequality going on within our own society, and across many aspects of our lives.
In response, many people took to social media to share ways that we could educate ourselves and take steps to try and combat racial discrimination. We also shared some resources and ways to help in our first Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) blog post, which you can find here: https://www.svcymru.org/article/svc-s-equality-diversity-and-inclusion-blog-update-1
In this update, we wanted to share what some of us have been doing to educate ourselves and make positive changes.
Dafydd Haine, our project co-ordinator for all our RCT projects, has been reading, watching documentaries and attending online events:
"I've been exploring some of the many resource lists that have been circulating online and through friends and colleagues. I'm currently reading Reni Eddo-Lodge's 'Why I'm No Longer Talking To White People About Race', which has been educational in understanding the wider context of institutional oppression, as well as containing some powerful first-hand accounts of Eddo-Lodge's experiences of systemic racism.
"In a UK-specific context, the BBC documentary 'The Unwanted: The Secret Windrush Files (by historian David Olusoga) draws attention to some of the grim lengths the British state has gone to - and still goes to - to create a 'hostile environment' for Black people in the UK.
"I've also been to a couple of brilliant online events run by members of the local community - The Privilege Café (a weekly discussion forum around issues of systemic racism/inequality, particularly in a Wales-specific focus), and a film screening about land justice by a collective named Gentle/Radical - I would definitely recommend looking into both of them!"
Eleri Cruchley-Jones, who co-ordinates our NHS and befriending projects, has been attending protests both in person and virtually.
"One of the main things that has stood out to me about the Black Lives Matter movement is the power and influence protesting can have on society. Since May 2020, demonstrations have been taking place globally as a response to the murder of George Floyd and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
"There have been lots of well organised peaceful protests across Wales and I have attended some of the (socially distanced) protests in the centre of Cardiff organised by Black Lives Matter Cardiff and Vale. I have also attended some virtual protests including the All Wales International Anti-Racism Online Protest organised by Race Council Cymru, BAWSO and Wales TUC and the Say No To Racism: Black Lives Matter protest in Rhiwbina organised by Stand Up to Racism Cardiff and Black Lives Matter Cardiff and Vale. These protests have been instrumental in implementing community cohesion and raising awareness about experiences of racism within our local and wider community.
"There have been so many incredible speakers at these protests including an amazing local spoken word artist called Queen Niche (Nelly Adam). In Queen Niche's Black Lives Matter Spoken Word piece she stated "I know that people have heard my voice, realising they can make a choice, to sit back and watch it all quietly, or speak up and end police brutality." This has highlighted that it is vital to actively unlearn racism, be anti-racist and challenge others.
"Listening to people speak at protests and reading articles about racism has made me aware of how important it is for me to challenge myself by acknowledging institutional racism, reflecting on my white privilege and having uncomfortable discussions about race. I recognise that I am at the beginning of developing my consciousness and educating myself about racism (and have a long way to go). I am very grateful to be able to attend protests and access a variety of valuable resources online created by Black people and people of colour."
Karen Harvey-Cooke, a member of our Board of Trustees and also Organisational Development Manager for Cardiff University and Chair of the university LGBT+ staff network Enfys, had this to say:
"What depressed me most about the murder of George Floyd was in many respects the lack of surprise. All of the lived experience of friends and the data around Black lives shows that our progress as a society has been minimal. So I've done what I can from my home to continue to educate myself but to remind myself of the importance of recognising institutional racism and that things that I read should make me uncomfortable about my privilege.
"I've been re-reading 'Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race' by Reni Eddo-Lodge and am about to listen to a podcast interview with her and Julia Gillard the former Prime Minister of Australia on intersectional feminism ('A podcast of One's Own with Julia Gillard'). A friend also recommended 'Me and White Supremacy' by Layla F Saad.
"I also went back to a copy of National Geographic from 2018 which was a special issue on Race. As an institution, National Geographic was acknowledging its own history in reporting race which at times used offensive language, stereotypes and photos that portrayed people in a way that was insulting. The editor of National Geographic in 2018 said 'I want a future editor of National Geographic to look back at our coverage with pride - not only about the stories we decided to tell and how we told them but about the diverse group of writers, editors, and photographers behind the work.' I want to look back at the work of SVC in years to come and say that we did everything we could to be part of this much needed societal change both in the membership of our volunteers and board but also the diversity of our beneficiaries and our projects."
Nina Di Cara, another member of our board and who, along with Karen and fellow board member Henry Morris, have set up an EDI working group to make sure we're meeting our goals and doing as much as we can to combat discrimination, said this:
"The Black Lives Matter protests have really highlighted for me that just because our racism isn't intentional, that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. One of my resolutions since the Black Lives Matter protests has been to get better at unlearning by questioning my assumptions more and trying to work out where they come from.
"Part of doing this has been deliberately seeking out and filling my newsfeeds with perspectives that are different to mine, and relearning the white-washed versions of history we have been taught. There are so many resources out there, but one thing I've found helpful is to Black-led/-owned news outlets; 'The Root' and 'HuffPost Black Voices' are ones I've really appreciated.
"I've also been lucky enough to attend some of the incredible online meetings of the Privilege Cafe (@privilegecafe_ on Twitter), which was started by Mymuna Soleman who lives in Cardiff. Every week has a different theme, and people with lived or professional experience on the topic come and share their expertise. I feel so grateful to have found it, and highly recommend it to anyone - I learn so much every time I go"
Finally, what have we been doing at SVC so far? We've updated our equal opportunities section of the volunteer application, written about discrimination and the nine protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010 for our website, and booked some fantastic training for our staff, trustees, partners, volunteers and beneficiaries with Race Equality First. We look forward to continuing working on EDI and making an anti-racism page for the SVC website. We're also working on the Youth Independent Advisory Group that we are setting up with South Wales Police, and look forward to meeting and listening to diverse groups of people.
We'd love to hear about any resources you've found useful, or any ways you think we could be doing a better job of promoting EDI within SVC. If you have any ideas, let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resources discussed in this article:
Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race - Buy on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Longer-Talking-White-People-About/dp/1408870584
The Unwanted: The Secret Windrush Files - BBC Two: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00068sk
The Privilege Cafe - Twitter account: https://twitter.com/privilegecafe_?lang=en
Black Lives Matter Cardiff and Vale: https://www.facebook.com/blacklivesmattercardiffandvale
Wales TUC Cymru: https://www.tuc.org.uk/wales
Stand Up to Racism Cardiff: https://www.facebook.com/sutrcardiff
Black Lives Matter Spoken Word - Queen Niche (Nelly Adam): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXdwQskVxBs&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR2DNWGlXwdSyedkCgRQdPNWsQC68mDH9ckAXQy0AyMYymZ5dFPhnuPG9MM
A Podcast of One's Own with Julia Gillard: https://www.kcl.ac.uk/giwl/podcast
Me and White Supremacy - Buy on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Me-White-Supremacy-Recognise-Privilege/dp/1529405106
National Geographic, The Race Issue: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2018/04/
The Root: https://www.theroot.com/
HuffPost Black Voices: https://www.huffpost.com/voices/black-voices?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAK3c2raIH34YpWjdLJEl0Lf4yZieF0GMkSfoU1_TjgZlLvAbU-B4tnzLSeM9DxWkB38-a_OFFB4ZVWvEsJlKHRxhDzKR6I3_qDUSHsdbvM5qrrDPiMqcUFGluYlfpDnm4yuBPHiViWuHCzB026mLwF2AKP84z8WAokr670G-cinW
Race Equality First: https://raceequalityfirst.org/training/