Our Anti-Racist Practice
We are committed to being an anti-racist organisation. Unless we are, we are limited in our capacity to enable change.
The murder of George Floyd in May 2020 and the inspiring Black Lives Matter movement acted as a catalyst for us to face up to the reality of racism within the UK, our organisation, our bodies and ourselves.
We have recognised that whilst we intended to deliver an inclusive service, we had neglected to tackle the burning injustice of racism which is embedded in our society, schools and institutions. We are ashamed and we are determined to change.
Being an anti-racist organisation means:
Actively tackling conscious and unconscious racism within our organisation, our Family Groups and our communities
Ensuring that practice and policy are designed to counter imbalances of power and privilege that uphold racist power structures
Acknowledging and addressing racist incidents
Ensuring that our therapists have the skills, awareness and confidence to work with families and schools in an anti-racist way
Embedding this in our day to day work through ongoing reflection and practice
In July 2020 we established an Anti-Racist Practice Group. We have produced a timeline that will be regularly updated to demonstrate how we, as an organisation, continue to work on this urgent issue.
Our Anti-Racist Practice Timeline
Our anti racist practice timeline goes live.
Robert Downes returned to build on the 2022 'Working in the Wake' training he and Foluke Taylor started with us. Please be in touch to access resources.
Our Anti Racist Practice Group (ARPG) met and discussed the importance of including anti-racist work in our monthly team meetings. We agreed to provide a stimulus at every meeting and then lead an exercise around that content.
Discussions on how to keep up to date with anti racist training. Internal and external tasks set for our monthly team meeting.
ARPG meet and then provided feedback in the team meeting. In the meeting, we discussed setting up a dedicated page on the website about our anti racist work.
In the team meeting we discussed our Statement of Intent and reviewed what we have done so far and what we planned to do next.
SFW set up our 'Provisioning Ground' WhatsApp page, a shared space to resource ourselves and support each other to develop the WILL and the SKILL for the journey ahead.
Robert Downes and Foluke Taylor lead a training day to help us understand how the experience of racism inhabits our bodies and how that impacts practice in the Family Group work and within our organisation.
Robert Downes and Foluke Taylor send out rich preparation material to help the team orientate themselves to and prepare for the training date in March
Please contact us directly if you wish to access this material.
Resmaa Menakem's interview with Tara Brach, Healing Raclialised Trauma, is a recommended starting point.
Self care alert: Plan time to watch and, afterwards integrate this video. Incorporate pauses. Let it land in your body.
At the Team Meeting we introduced and discussed the planned antiracist practice training day with Robert Downes and Foluke Taylor, scheduled for March 3rd at The Rayne Foundation, courtesy of one of our funders.
Due to illness, Mark from SIA was unavailable to lead the the training. Publication of Eugene Ellis's book 'The Race Conversation' led ARPG to pursue training from a therapeutic organisation. ARPG sought to engage Eugene through BAATN and other therapists who offered specialist training in this field.
ARPG met to discuss the September training as well as the findings from the race fluency team meeting exercise.
George Floyd's killer receives a 22.5 year sentence for murder.
At the team meeting we did an initial race fluency exercise, designed to prepare the team and the trainers for September date. Using our Family Group 'hot' and 'tricky' structure we asked therapists to consider together.
What am I feeling with confident in this area? What existing skills/competencies do I have already to help me?
What I find tricky/worrying? What makes me nervous about talking about anti-racism or issues relating to race? What do I need help with?
3. To help the trainers plan the training, please give us an example of the kind of situation that might arise during Family Group regarding race or racism.
4. What do I want to get out of the training? What would be most helpful?
The following useful links were also circulated.
1) Presentations from The Roots of Empathy conference
2) Café session from Roots of Empathy conference where three black fathers talked about their experience of raising children.
Therapists and Board Members continue to share links to resources:
‘Let’s talk about race’, presented by Naga Munchetty
Spotify podcast about attempts to de-segregate schools in the US, 'Nice White Parents'
ARPG began researching and meeting potential people who could deliver an anti-racist workshop to our team. Board member Sarah Fletcher linked us to Claire Harvey and Mark Gervais at the Schools' Inclusion Alliance.
We identified language as the nub of our current concerns. Our therapists feel discomfort, a blunting of their expertise. They feel possibility of being mis-perceived so do not go confidently towards racism. Helpfully, Claire used ‘race fluency’ to describe what we desire. She noted rather self-deprecatingly that even though she and Mark are described as ‘inclusion gurus’ – they still ‘get it wrong’. 'Part of the confidence required is to know what to do when you get it wrong'. Discussions led to a training offer from SIA, with Mark to lead a morning for us in September on 'Race Fluency'.
Team meeting activity looking at 'what we do well' and 'what we could do better'.
Proposal presented by CEO to Board of Transgenerational Change Ltd, our parent company, to enshrine anti-racist practice through the whole organisation.
Board was supportive and a more focused plan was agreed, prioritising work specifically focused on helping our therapists communicate more effectively with actual and potential FG families.
At the team meeting we mapped out what our Anti-Racist journey would look like. We considered the problem, what we are learning and where we are going.
Anonymised recruitment was introduced to mitigate any unconscious bias when hiring new staff. Identifying information redacted from applications before sharing for shortlisting.
At the monthly team meeting we discussed how we could ensure we were an anti-racist organisation. The idea of setting up an Anti-Racist Practice Group (ARPG) was discussed and four therapists stepped up to lead the project.
The following resources were shared:
1) UKCP blog - The therapy community must commit to anti-racist practice
2) Embrace Race blog - 20 picture books to support conversations on race
3) Dr Joy Harden-Bradford podcast - Therapy for Black Girls
4) Film clip from 1001 Inventions and the Library of Secrets - starring Sir Ben Kingsley
George Floyd was murdered.