The brutal killing of George Floyd in the USA on 25th May 2020 caused global grief and anger. It impacted us here in the UK and on a local level in the city of Leicester. We have reflected on the ongoing racial injustice, intolerance and inequality the horrific event has shone a light on. For us at FOCUS, this has encouraged challenging conversations with staff, volunteers, and young people alike.
Our staff team have each committed to collective training that will help us to better understand intersectionality and institutional racism, with particular reference to the Black Lives Matter movement. The journey to achieve this will be a long one, and at times challenging. But we are fully committed to going on it.
What have we done?
As of June 2020, we have taken the following steps:
- In our regular team meetings and discussions, we have shared our personal stories related to racism and privilege. These stories we have used to reflect on our own views and implicit bias. From there, we are mindful of the work we actively all need to do to truly become an anti-racist organisation.
- Volunteers have been encouraged to take the same learning journey. We challenge them to reflect on their individual biases and prejudices. In this way, we help them to become anti-oppressive in their approach to volunteering.
- Young people have been provided check-ins to help them deal with the shock and trauma the murder of George Floyd has caused. We provided emotional support, and offered ways they can make a positive and constructive difference.
- We have worked alongside the young people to write to their Local MP, despite not being old enough to vote. This gave them a voice to encourage their MP to represent their desire to tackle racism and injustice.
- We have compiled a resource list about the reality of the black experience. This list provides information for everyone involved in FOCUS to learn more about historical and contemporary issues regarding racism and injustice to help us understand more and better equipped to challenging it.
- We have also been compiling a series of training slides and information to enable an improved level of understanding of the Black Lives Matter movement with information on FAQs and myth-busting.
- Individually, we have been accessing information and content to better understand the different forms of racism and how it can be reinforced on a personal, cultural, structural, and global level within society. So, we can better understand our individual roles in challenging racism wherever we find it.
- We have created a team of young people who are passionate about helping to create change and actively support the anti-racism and Black Lives Matter movements, to help us to produce a leaflet. This leaflet aims to highlight the various types of racism in the world, but most importantly to educate and inform other young people and their families, about the importance of these movements and how to tackle social stigmas to ensure that we are having well informed conversations.