Charity professionals use #CharitySoWhite to share experiences of racism in sector

Charity professionals have taken to Twitter to share their experiences of racism in the charity sector using the hashtag #CharitySoWhite.

The movement was started by Fatima Iftikhar, who last week uncovered racist training material handed out by Citizens Advice.

She launched the campaign on 21 August to encourage staff from across the charity sector to come forward in sharing their experiences of racism within the workplace.

Since her initial tweet, thousands of people have come forward with personal stories, which many have since called ‘sobering’, ‘upsetting’ and ‘distressing’.

"We launched #charitysowhite in response to the emergence of training materials from Citizens Advice, which played into damaging stereotypes about People of Colour and BAME communities," Iftikhar told Charity Times.

"The incident, while shocking, was not surprising, and it is clear we need to have a broader conversation about institutional racism in the charity sector."

Using the hashtag, people working directly and indirectly for charitable organisations have come forward with experiences, which has led to a widespread debate about the way in which charities recruit, pay, manage and care for staff.

"We would like to thank everyone has contributed so far, your experiences matter," Iftikhar added.

"It is clear from the stories being shared that this campaign has resonated with many individuals and organisations. We hope these vital conversations will be a springboard to making real change and towards action and accountability. This will take investment and commitment from across the sector.

"The campaign will be saying more about what’s next later this week so watch this space."

The #CharitySoWhite campaign comes shortly after ACEVO and Voice4Change England launched a new survey to investigate the occurrence of racism within the charity sector.

The survey forms part of Making diversity count in the charity sector, which was launched by the organisations earlier this year.

BAME charity employees will be asked about their experiences of racism in the sector, with the view to catalyse a more equality-focused, diverse and inclusive charity sector and improve sector diversity by putting BAME voices at the heart of the conversation.

The survey forms part of the research phase of the project, and is open to BAME individuals who have been working in the sector for any period over the past five years, whether as staff, trustees or volunteers.

It explores how race and ethnicity affect individuals’ experiences of charities, in areas such as recruitment, personal development opportunities and incidents of racism.

The results from the survey, alongside findings from roundtable events and in-depth interviews, will help to re-energise the drive towards greater equality, diversity and inclusivity across the sector.

The survey is open until 30 September 2019. You can complete it here.

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