Author: Zahra Safarfashandi
Published: 25 June 2020
One month on from the tragic loss of George Floyd’s life, with countless others around the world suffering, and many having lost their own lives or liberties, the scale of the challenge that is systemic racism, inequality and injustice has shocked us all. Yet over the last month, my feelings of shock and deep sadness have given way to a sense of being humbled by the immensity of a global movement that is uniting people around the world on a scale I could never have imagined.
The enormity of the Black Lives Matter movement and the swell of support from allies in every walk of life makes me feel that this time will be different, that we genuinely have the power to eradicate racism and build a world that works for us all. A world that leaves no one behind. This united sense of purpose has inspired me to want to learn, to understand and to help in any way that I can.
I’ve always struggled to engage with social media. For me, it has always been a source of anxiety, a way to invite others in to judge. Yet the power and reach of social media has never been more apparent. I’ve been reflecting on what makes this time different, why I am so filled with hope and I’ve realised the true impact of being exposed to unfiltered news from around the world. Being able to hear directly from people who truly understand the struggles of overt racism or pervasive prejudice and learning how to be a better ally. Learning that finding the perfect words doesn’t matter but speaking up and showing our support through actions is vital to making this the last time we have to have this conversation. The last time we have to see people living in fear because they are different. The last time innocent lives are lost because of the colour of their skin.
At CF, we hosted a session for all staff and partners to come together and reflect on what is happening around the world, what role we’ve played in this and how we can be better. It was wonderful to see the whole company come together and put aside all other demands on our time to make this our absolute priority. Through our discussions, we identified 7 key focus areas that we wanted to prioritise to move us forward as a company, and to help our health and social care partners to do the same. For now, more than ever, we need to overcome the health inequalities that divide us and really listen to our disadvantaged communities so that, together, we can create a health and social care system that treats us all as equals, that celebrates what makes us different and reaps the rewards of our collective diversity.
Our 7 focus areas:
- Educating ourselves
- Refreshing our school outreach programme
- Diversifying our staff base
- Supporting BAME staff in the workplace
- Expanding the reach of our BAME leadership mentoring programme
- Refining our methodologies to consider the impact on BAME populations explicitly and enable lay leadership to participate in decision making
- Publishing thought leadership around what actions we can take across the health and social care sector to serve our whole population
Each of these focus areas now have a dedicated team working hard to drive them forward, and I’m excited to see the impact we are able to make collectively and how our focus areas evolve as we learn more. For as long as we keep listening, learning and striving to be better, we will be building a world that we all want to be part of.