Race Equality Week

This week is Race Equality Week and Headway East London is joining organisations across the country and uniting to address race in the workplace. The theme this year is #ActionNotJustWords and below our CEO, Anna McEwen, outlines two commitments she's making as part of #TheBigPromise

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I Promise to...

Set a zero tolerance to racism and microaggressions policy, with published, clear consequences for those that do not adhere

As part of our EDI action plan we are currently drafting a Statement of Intent where we’ll state our policy of zero tolerance to racism and microaggressions. Over the next year we plan to train our staff, volunteers and the people we support to better understand what microaggressions are and how to call these out when we see them happening. We are also doing some work with our black and Asian staff to support them to build resilience and challenge microaggressions when they occur. In the last few months we have addressed issues where staff have felt undermined because of the colour of their skin by external partners, and we will continue to call this out both internally and externally so that our staff, volunteers and the people we support do not have to tolerate being treated any differently because of their race. We will not work with partners who do not share our commitment to zero tolerance and are not actively working towards inclusion for everyone.

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Set targets and have an action plan for ethnic minority recruitment, retention and promotion, and report on them

We have set up a recruitment sub group as part of our EDI group to tackle issues around staff recruitment and ensure that we adapt our practices to make them more inclusive. This includes changing the photos we use on our adverts, a statement of inclusion in all our job packs and trialling blind recruitment. The sub group report back to the EDI group on a monthly basis and we have seen some small changes since the work of this group began. The group are developing an action plan which will be reported on to the EDI group and board regularly.

The #MyNameIs campaign

Race Equality Matters is calling on all organisations and companies to add phonetic spelling to their email signatures. Your name is more than just a name. It's part of your heritage, identity and pride.

  • 73% of respondents from more than 100 organisations said they had their names mispronounced. They said it made them feel 'not valued or important', 'disrespected' and 'that they didn't belong'.

Headway East London will join the organisations already signed up to this campaign. When we discussed this with staff in the EDI space and EDI meeting we also felt it gives more opportunity to ask colleagues how to say their name, have a conversation about what their name means all of which helps to break down barriers between different communities and helps us to all learn more about the people we work with. This is a small step that could have a big impact - will you join in?