#WYHRootOutRacism update

Following concerns raised by a member of the public regarding a statement used within one of the Root Out Racism movement’s graphics, a meeting was held on Tuesday 19 October with the person and others he invited. Colleagues from the Race Equality Network and Anti-Racism Project Group were present at the meeting.

Our colleagues featured in the graphic concerned are aware of the situation and are supportive of the actions taken.

In response, the Partnership’s Race Equality Network would like to share the following statement:

‘The West Yorkshire and Harrogate Root Out Racism movement was co-designed by staff and people with lived experience. It’s aspiration is to address racism and inequalities within our communities and our workforce following on from our independent review published October 2020. We do appreciate that exploring and confronting racism can evoke pain and strong feelings. The photographs and messages have been designed to reflect a reality of what many people have to deal with on a daily basis. By doing so they challenge people’s thinking, and we hope, change the conversation so that we can address racism together.

It was never our intention to trigger trauma and consequently the Network have made the decision to reword the text on the images which have provoked painful emotions for some. We also wish to encourage anyone impacted by racism to seek support. There are some links to organisations here.

The leadership of our health and care partnership strongly support our anti-racism movement and will act to ensure that we are a truly anti-racist system.

We’d like to thank people for bringing forward their ideas and concerns as debate. Dialogue is a fundamental part of our approach as a learning system.’

Fatima Khan-Shah, West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership, convener of the Partnership’s Race Equality Network said:

"The Root Out Racism movement was co-created by over 100 people of colour (primarily Black, South Asian and mixed heritage communities) from across the NHS, local authorities, hospices, Healthwatch and voluntary community organisations.  It aims to proactively challenge racism across all aspects of society, to improve health inequalities, and to help individuals and organisations alike to become actively anti-racist.

The movement was built on insights from colleague’s experiences of racism. All images used are of people actively involved in its development, and who were willing to be the face of the movement and endorse its message.

We accept there will be many different viewpoints and welcome further conversation and engagement in order to raise awareness and to help bring about change."

Background information

  • Our Partnership is an ‘Integrated Care System’. It is made up of more than the NHS. We work in partnership with NHS organisations, councils, Healthwatch, hospices, the community voluntary social enterprise sector and communities to improve the health and wellbeing of local people.
  • People from Black and ethnic minority backgrounds, from across the Partnership, co-created the movement as well as being consulted via focus groups. Many people went on to form part of a project group which developed and managed the movement. It was built on insights about their experiences of racism. All images used are of people actively involved in developing the campaign, who were willing to be the face of the campaign and endorse its message. You can read more about what it means to them here
  • Intent Health is a specialist communication agency founded on the principles that representation and diversity need to be central to campaigns that drive behaviour change. As of October 2021, 70% of the team are ethnic minorities, over 50% have visible or invisible disabilities and there is strong representation from the LGBTQ+ community.
  • This is a Partnership movement across the area recommended from our race review in October 2021, which we take seriously. The review highlighted concerns and issues faced by colleagues and communities who experience racism.
  • The movement has been supported by our Partnership Board, the Race Equality Network and over 580 organisations / community allies so far.
  • The initial phase of the movement evaluation has shown overall that it has been positively received and a full report will be published later this year, following the second evaluation phase. It is always important that we listen to people and the communities we serve. This is critical to our learning and improvement as a Partnership, hence our rigorous evaluation process.
  • A meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, about the insights behind the movement. As offered, we would welcome the involvement of the person who has contacted you.

Testimonies from our Race Equality Network colleagues

I'm passionate about this movement. It’s the first time that I have felt included and a sense of belonging for a long time. The statements are our voices. It was a rare opportunity for my voice to be heard. Its important people know we weren’t and never intended to speak on behalf others. It’s my own personal feelings’ (Lisa).

‘I believe we have created a thought-provoking movement. Being part of the conversations, meant I was able to use my lived experience of racism as a front-line health care professional to inform the wider messages we wanted people to consider. We have learnt a lot and formed long lasting networks. If we get this right for staff, we will get it right for people we care for. We carefully co-produced and considered this movement especially it's reach and impact. We chose bold messaging to encourage positive debate. It invites change to root out racism’ (Mo).

‘The movement reflects my lived experience of racism. Racism is a daily challenge to me personally and my family. No, we cannot speak for everyone, but this is my reality. The movement acknowledges my voice and feelings’ (Marine).

‘This movement is important and intended to raise the awareness of the lived experience of people and communities from ethnic minority groups, structural and systemic discrimination exist, and our processes and policies need to be positively challenged. My involvement with this anti-racism movement has allowed me to support conversations across our Partnership, bringing insight to topics of health inequality, importance of collaboration, co-production and codesign. The chosen statements are thought provoking and taken from members of the group who shared their personal experiences and desire to support positive change’ (Wendy).

‘The movement has provided an opportunity for those like me to feel heard and included. The statements reflect the experiences I have been through and heard. The movement has allowed for conversations, often uncomfortable, to take part in organisations on inequalities, leadership, and sense of belonging for our staff. The messaging is hard hitting purposefully to spark conversation and to create change so we can root out racism across organisations and society’ (Pam).

‘We are proud to stand tall, be counted and have our voices heard. To do this we want to be brave and provoke people to take affirmative action by understanding the kind of behaviours we experience to this day. Equality and inclusion matter to us all, we accept that any movement looking to address sensitive and deep-seated issues will be challenging. Change often starts with difficult conversations and ones we may not always want to have. The anti-racism movement gives us a renewed and shared focus across West Yorkshire to make sustainable changes that benefit us all’ (Shak).

‘The Root Out Racism movement was the culmination of many voices, from a variety of ethnicities and backgrounds. From beginning to end, I’ve felt heard, I’ve felt seen, and I’ve felt like a significant part of the process. As a Black man, the ads speak of my lived experience and I’m genuinely proud of the part I played in helping to create a movement that has sparked debate. Racism is never a comfortable topic to broach and is therefore a topic people are often wary of when it comes to tackling it. This is why the movement needed to take a hard-hitting approach.’ (Suote).

‘This movement from the outset has set out to root out racism in all its form; systematic, organisational, whether it be covert or overt. From the start I have been involved and found that my voice and opinions have been heard. This in turn has helped influence the shape of the movement. Calling out racism is always a difficult and sensitive one, and there will always be differences of opinions. I stand by my words. It’s important to not shy away from what needs to be said as difficult as it feels. I am very grateful to the Partnership and the leadership for the opportunity they have given us to help shape and design this movement in an authentic way’ (Ash).

‘As leaders and colleagues, we have a duty to protect people we care for, families, friends and colleagues by making sure they are treated with dignity and respect regardless of the colour of their skin. That no one has the right to demean or deprive anyone based on their ethnicity, gender, or disability. This includes raising awareness across all we work alongside including people of different ethnic backgrounds. Therefore, the movement, is our moral duty and our lived experience’ (Brian).    

‘This movement has been created to make us all think, to challenge peoples thinking and encourage conversation about racism.  The subject of racism is very emotive and will always raise different points of view about the intent and the people behind the message.  This movement has been co-produced with colleagues who have lived experience of racism and comes from a place that is real.  Being part of this process has left me feeling proud and humbled and I stand by the powerful message to Root Out Racism’ (Jo).

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