In the aid / charity sector allies are needed right now to take action on the Black Lives Matter Movement. There is a need for genuine reflective allies. So this is my call for help and support. Here are 4 practical ways you can be a good ally.
1) Solidarity Statements
Many charities and NGOs have made no statement of solidarity yet. The silence is noted especially when so many of them work with, and will take money to work with Black communities in the UK or internationally. For organisations who are nervous about writing a solidarity statement I wrote some guidance on my blog.
Please can you ensure that your own organisation has made a statement of solidarity and encourage others to do likewise.
Recent reports in the UK have highlighted that despite being the primary respondents to Black communities and having a longstanding relationships, comprehensive understanding and culturally appropriate solutions many Black-led organisations are collapsing right now as they themselves are confronted with the impact of COVID, they have lost funding and income that is usually generated by community events, marathons etc, which have not taken place this year, a large number of volunteers have been affected or died as a result of COVID.
These organisations are very good and competent at what they do with community links and understanding that others can only dream of. Yet precious funding is appears already being predominantly given to larger NGOs/ Charities which do not have community connections, many have never done work on race before and most have very poor records or organisational and board level diversity. A week ago it was reported that a group of Black community members walked out of talks with the funder the National Emergencies Trust because of their discriminatory behavior
This week the National Emergencies Trust has asked marginalised individuals to work for free to address their inability to connect to Black communities
Please can you help raise awareness of the work that CharitySoWhite are doing and start questioning the approach of funders and start asking whether funding is embedded in discriminatory practice.
3) DO NO HARM
All of the Black individuals I know working on activism or in the NGO sector have faced harmful actions this week from individuals and organisations that are claiming to be Black allies. NGOs and charities must start looking internally.
Many organisations are making hollow statements of solidarity whilst their Black staff members are suffering and whilst they are refusing to look internally.
I wrote a blog on the principle of do no harm and how it applies to white people responding to Black Lives matter.
Please raise awareness of the situation of Black staff members and ensure that you or your organisation are not causing harm.
You can read my blog about this
4) Look internally at your own practices!
I can’t even express how much of a problem discrimination and racism is in this sector, to address it we must first confront it. A fantastic Black scholar James Baldwin wrote this
Also a personal ask
I very much want these issues raised and addressed which is why I am writing. However, I must ask one last act of solidarity and allyship. I am writing this subject in my role as a cholar and academic, but I am also engaged in a huge amount of activism in my own community so this won’t happen fast.
Many of you will be aware of the challenge Black academics face in the UK (There are 19,000 professors and just 30 female Black professors. Yes 0.002%). Often Black scholars raise issues and do work which is ignored and erased.
Please don’t erase my voice as a Black female scholar and reference me if you go on to take action or write about the points I raise here.