Kalayaan – Tackling Racism in the UK
Kalayaan is located in the shadow of Grenfell. In our day to day work we strive for justice for migrant domestic workers. We are also mindful of our responsibility to our diverse local community, who kindly accommodate us as we do this work.
What started earlier this year as an expression of solidarity with those who spoke out against institutional racism in the US, has developed into a meaningful discussion about racism in the UK, and more specifically institutional/structural racism today. The UK has once again been forced to confront its own prejudices. We have had to consider the reasons behind the disproportionate use of force, by the police, against black people in the UK, as well as the disproportionate number of people from the black, Asian and minority ethnic groups dying as result of COVID-19, and the disproportionate number of fines dispensed to black and Asian people for breaching lockdown, and not so long ago, the tragedy of Grenfell and the Windrush scandal. These incidents have brought the issue of racism in the UK back into sharp focus.
Many organisations are taking the initiative, and reviewing their own policies and procedures, to ensure that they are fair, transparent, and offer equal opportunities to all, and for creating an inclusive organisation. The charitable and legal sectors have a duty to encourage diversity in our fields. If we want to tackle prejudice and unconscious bias, and dismantle institutional racism, we must not be complacent. We all have a part to play.
Although Kalayaan is a small charity, we strive, and are keen robustly to address these issues. We have been considering what actions we should take in this spirit. We shall always strive to ensure that our services reach all those who fall within our remit. We shall continue to support our clients in the struggle to dismantle all forms of racism and discrimination experienced in the workplace. As part of our review, we shall consider what more can be done to achieve these objectives. We are currently reviewing our policies and procedures, to ensure that we maintain our strong commitment to being an equal opportunities’ employer and service provider. We shall review our procedures for engaging services from third parties, again to ensure that when doing so, we are allowing these opportunities to be taken up by anyone qualified, regardless of their personal characteristics. We are also exploring how we can engage with our local community in the struggle for diversity, equality and inclusion.
As members of Immigration Law Practitioners Association (ILPA), we support its work to tackle racism and its efforts to create a more inclusive society. It has produced useful resources to support the discussions around this. https://ilpa.org.uk/anti-racism-resources/