“Silence in the face of racist assault is complicity” (bell hooks).
The Anti-Racism Working Group was formed last year to address racism in the Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) sector. They drafted the Anti-Racism Charter for the VAWG sector and called for an end to unequal partnerships where unhealthy power dynamics operate creating inequality for Black and minoritised women.
The Charter addresses structural inequalities, inherent in current funding structures, that operate to systemically disadvantage Black and minoritised women’s organisations. The Charter calls for equality in representation – which means nothing about us, without us.
It also means that Black and minoritised organisations will no longer be co-opted, governed, or expected to assimilate with structurally white led organisations that do not meet the specialist by and for criteria that the Black and minoritised sector defines. The continued survival and resourcing of the Black and minoritised women’s sector is an underlying principle of the Charter.
This week there have been serious allegations of racism made against an organisation in an open letter signed by 30 Black and minoritised women. It is important for us to state as the Anti-Racism Working Group that we believe the women who have written this letter and we support them.
The voices of Black and minoritised women are often not listened to in the wider VAWG sector and the workplace can be very unsafe for them when racism is experienced. Black and minoritised women in this sector have the right to work in an environment free from racism. This is core aim of the Anti-Racism Charter.
We know all too well that these experiences of racism are often denied in this sector and Black and minoritised women are silenced. The Anti-Racism Charter calls for an end to the systemic marginalisation of Black and minoritised women.
“I am not free while any woman is unfree, even though her shackles may be very different from my own”. (Audre Lorde)
For any Black and minoritised woman working in this sector who is experiencing racism and needs support, please reach out to Imkaan at [email protected]
For any organisation requiring further information about the Anti-Racism Charter, please email [email protected]
The anti racism working group are Black, minoritised and white women working in the violence against women and girls (VAWG) sector. They convened the anti-racism VAWG group in May 2020 to open up space for dialogue, action and the development of anti-racist standards and practices for the sector to start the work to become explicitly anti-racist. The reinvigoration of the global Black Lives Matter movement this summer, accelerated the groups work in order for them to reflect the urgent need for our sector to do the work to end racism in VAWG.
The group recognises its membership at present is not a full representation of all the organisations in the sector. The Emily Davison Centre adheres to the principles sent out by the Call to Action campaign. https://www.endviolenceagainstwomen.org.uk/anti-racism-in-vawg-launch/
Our Values and Pledges
- Accountability: We will demonstrate our anti-racist values through our actions and through accountability to Black and minoritised women and to the sector as a whole.
- Fairness: We will work together to ensure truly equitable distribution of funding and resources through a collaborative process that actively ensures meaningful inclusion and challenges funding and commissioning practices that perpetuate exclusion.
- Collaboration: We have a genuine commitment to equality and ending power imbalances in our sector, through meaningful and collaborative partnership working.
- Diversity: Black and minoritised women’s organisations have unique expertise, knowledge and experience, and we will be active in recognising their autonomy and ending the appropriation of their work.
- Representation: Effective and equitable policy, practice and decision-making needs Black and minoritised women, and ‘by and for’ organisations, to be visible and represented at every stage.
- Equality: We will scrutinise and change organisational practices that lead to Black and minoritised women being excluded from, treated unequally, silenced or side-lined within white-led organisations.
- Intersectionality: We will centre an intersectional approach within our work and centre the needs of women facing multiple forms of oppression – including due to race, class, faith, immigration status, disability and sexuality.
- Inclusivity: We will communicate in a truly inclusive way which enables the full and equal participation of Black and minoritised women and organisations.