Date: 28 May 2021 Author: Energise Me
At Energise Me we are willing to challenge ourselves and others, being held accountable as we become an anti-racist organisation. This is our commitment to tackling racism and racial inequalities.
Energise Me acknowledges that racism and racial inequality has been an issue in our society for a very long time. It has resulted in discrimination, violence and injustice for many people.
Most recently the shocking death of George Floyd, caught on video in the US, sparked protests and a global response. Protestors called for an end to discrimination and racism.
Physical activity and sport is not immune from racism and racial inequalities. As an organisation, we realise we can’t address this without first challenging ourselves. We’ve begun by having honest discussions as a team and asking difficult questions:
The honest answer to all these questions is “not enough”. We are trying and we hope we are improving. But we also recognise that we are not the right people to judge how well we’re doing. What we can say is we know we need to do better, and we will do better.
There are no quick and easy answers to these deep-rooted issues. Instead of rushing to a solution we are working with communities and partners to learn. We need to really understand the inequalities that exist so that we can be part of the solution. As we learn more, we will make the changes necessary to ensure that participation in sport and physical activity is fair and accessible.
We are also learning together as a team through training and sharing articles and podcasts. Our conversations have been frequent, often awkward, and sometimes clumsy. To do better, we must face some uncomfortable truths and recognise our weaknesses and that is bound to be messy.
In October 2019 we set out to diversify our team. This was an important step towards understanding and addressing inequalities in physical activity. We wanted to change our recruitment process to encourage new people to come forward.
We developed a new recruitment pack with people from within and outside our organisation. It needed to ‘talk to’ people who could help us connect to and understand our audiences. We welcomed feedback and used it to improve the pack. Three trustees with varying backgrounds were appointed. Their knowledge, skills and experience are helping us to learn, build new networks and understand different perspectives.
Investing in communities was aimed at supporting groups across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight who were experiencing the negative impact of COVID-19. The investment needed to target people from lower income families, people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, and people living with long-term health conditions or disabilities.
Our contacts and connections to most of these communities were strong. However, this was not true for ethnically diverse communities.
We knew that in practice we were not trying to target “Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities”. Rather, we were trying to reach “Nepalese women in Aldershot” or “South Asian elders in Eastleigh” or “Caribbean families in Basingstoke”. We have learned that there is a need for a tailored approach.
We have put our learning into practice in our recruitment for The Agency in Southampton. This work has taken us into communities with high levels of ethnic diversity, physical inactivity and inequality. A group of young people are now working towards the creation of their own projects and events to have a positive impact in their community. Their experiences will help us understand why inequalities exist and how we can work together to provide fairer access to physical activity and sport.
As a group of individuals and as an organisation we are committed to tackling racism and racial inequality. We are willing to challenge ourselves and others and hold ourselves accountable as we become an anti-racist organisation in principle and in practice.
As part of our commitment, we will: