The horrific death of George Floyd has shone a spotlight on the racism and inequality that exists in many forms across the world.
For many members of the GOSH community it has brought up feelings of hurt, anger and anxiety at a time when the world already feels fragile and disconnected.
The leadership team has been very conscious of the need to support our Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) staff. However, recent events have made us question whether we are doing enough, quickly enough. Should we be doing more as an organisation to challenge inequality, particularly racism, and make our community a place where prejudice and discrimination – whether overt or subconscious – is never tolerated?
On reflection, it is clear that as an organisation, we need to do a lot more.
As immediate actions we have committed to:
- Work to amplify the voice of our BAME colleagues by talking directly to them and giving them platforms so their voices can be heard and we then address the issues raised
- Build a community of allies who will reach out and educate themselves to understand better the lives and experiences of others
- Take time to listen and really hear all our colleagues – BAME and non BAME – and to check they are ok and make sure they can access support when and where they need it.
We are extremely fortunate to have a BAME Forum which is supporting us to take forward these actions sensitively and at pace.
We will also continue with, and accelerate, longer term steps towards a collective shift in our culture. Since the publication of our People Strategy last year we have been working with staff groups from across the organisation to deliver the commitments we have made to ensure that all our staff in all their roles feel valued, connected and recognised for who they are as well as what they do.
Part of this work has resulted in the development of a Diversity and Inclusion Strategy (D&I) which is long overdue. This will be released for consultation next month.
The D&I strategy is built around a very simple commitment: to ensure people from all backgrounds and ethnicities are both seen and heard and have an equal opportunity to be and to do their best. It is developed on what our people told us was important.
The D&I Strategy is built around four key themes:
- Opening up recruitment to ensure that it is fair, transparent and jobs are accessible to all
- Providing more opportunities, especially for our marginalised staff, for development and promotion up and across the organisation
- Developing inclusive leadership and cultural intelligence to build connectivity and understanding
- Developing channels and spaces to provide an employee voice, which is heard and has impact.
We are wholly committed to this work and we recognise all members of the GOSH community have a valuable role to play in securing the change we want to see.
We will pursue these changes intentionally and build wisely so that the GOSH of the future goes beyond mere integration to real acceptance and a celebration of diversity.
We stand together with all our colleagues in issuing the statement that ‘Black Lives Matter'.