Black Lives Matter – an open letter from our Trust Chairman and Acting Chief Executive | News

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Black Lives Matter – an open letter from our Trust Chairman and Acting Chief Executive

We are very proud of the diversity of the staff within our Trust.

That is why we are so concerned about the way events have unfolded over the last few weeks. It has become clear that COVID-19 (coronavirus) has had a disproportionate impact on those from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. We have also witnessed the recent killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, USA, and the eruption of longstanding pent up frustration and anger as communities around the world say “enough is enough” to racism through the Black Lives Matter campaign. This is a defining moment.

Delivering our services in a thriving multi-cultural city we are lucky to have so many staff who represent the variety of communities we serve. That we value friends and colleagues from all backgrounds has been brought home to us in the different ways in which we remembered Lillian, Mark, Safaa and Vish who sadly succumbed to COVID-19 recently. 

So, we cannot accept racism in any part or our organisation, because it hurts our colleagues and their families, threatens effective communication and patient care, and is incompatible with decent personal values and the values of our Trust. If across our Trust we individually and collectively fail to stand up and speak out against any form of racism, discrimination and inequality, then we are complicit in it and its consequences.

It is clear that influence and privilege are not equally shared between all racial and ethnic groups in any society. Our Trust Board has heard first-hand some of the experiences of our staff from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, which has been sad and disheartening providing evidence that we need to improve. Our active Inclusion and Diversity Group, chaired by our colleague, Rekel Kerr, has been very clear about this. Our Inclusion Ambassador, Ruth Wall, is supporting us to make real, practical changes to the working lives of people from ethnic minorities across our organisation. 

We should always think carefully about how we make others feel in our actions and comments. The poster on our walls that says, ‘The Standard You Walk Past is the Standard You Accept’ applies to behaviours as well as clinical practice. We must call out unprofessional, inappropriate or racist behaviour as we go about our work. It is increasingly important to think about the subtleties of what we say and its impact on people from different backgrounds or with different beliefs. This is the essence of mutual respect.

Included below is a list of resources for you to read, listen or watch to help nurture our collective understanding and ensure BWC becomes an even better place to work.

Yours sincerely

-Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, Chairman                             

-David Melbourne, Acting Chief Executive

Resources (sourced from the National Ambulance BME Forum and reviewed by BWC IDEa group)

Further reading

  • Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
  • Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire by Akala
  • Me and White Supremacy by Layla F Saad
  • Brit(ish) by Afua Hirsch
  • How to Argue with a Racist by Adam Rutherford
  • White Fragility: Why it’s so hard for white people to talk about racism by Robin Diangelo
  • To Kill a Mocking Bird: Harper Lee
  • Noughts and Crosses: Mallorie Blackman

Check out the books shortlisted for the Jhalak Prize, which seeks to celebrate books written by British / British-resident writers of colour: https://www.jhalakprize.com/

Podcasts

  • 1619
  • About Race
  • Code Switch
  • Intersectionality Matters with Kimberle Crenshaw
  • We Need to Talk About the British Empire

Watch

  • 13th (Netflix)
  • When They See Us (Netflix)
  • Dear White People (Netflix)
  • Noughts and Crosses (BBC iPlayer)
  • Get Out
  • Selma
  • The Colour Purple
  • I Am Not Your Negro
  • To Kill a Mocking Bird
  • Just Mercy (Amazon Prime)
  • 14 days in May- BBC 1987 documentary  (YouTube)