Like all of us at RESULTS UK, I have been watching events in the United States unfold with growing horror and dismay. While Minneapolis may seem far away, the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and many other black people speak to the systemic racist structures that are not just limited to the US, but have powerful resonance and relevance in the UK given our country’s own historical legacy and present-day struggle with racism and inequality.
I would urge anyone who wants to better understand what is happening to read the remarks of Joanne Carter, the Director of our American sister organisation, RESULTS Educational Fund. Please explore the resources they have made available, and take a moment, as we are, to listen, to learn – and then to act.
RESULTS UK stands with our American family and opposes anti-black racism everywhere. We offer our unreserved support and solidarity to victims of violence and oppression, and recognise that this is an especially difficult time for many.
We know that where injustice and oppression exist around the world, they always create inequality and poverty. As an organisation committed to ending poverty, and one working in a sector that is still grapples with damaging narratives of development, including that of the ‘white saviour’, this matters to us, and motivates us to do more and better.
At RESULTS UK, we know we are not perfect and recognise we should be doing better, as we have only recently begun a deeper and more explicit look at these issues. For example, the UK international development sector, with a few notable exceptions, is not representative of British society at large and for the most part is dominated by white and middle-class voices both in terms of staffing and the campaigning public. This puts our sector in a position of privilege, and we have to examine that privilege, and ask ourselves what we will do with it.
It also means we need to keep thinking about the staff we hire, the trustees we recruit, and which ‘public’ we engage: unless we are deliberate about the inclusion of more diverse communities, RESULTS UK will be unable to truly deliver on our mission to ‘empower individuals to exercise their personal and political power for change’ and we will never achieve our goal of ending global poverty.
We have begun a journey of reflection these past six months that is all the more urgent today. We realise that we need to listen more, and speak less. We not only must step up to challenge racism, prejudice, and bias, but recognise that we must first listen and make our own efforts to learn. Doing this work is essential to truly changing ourselves, and the world.
At RESULTS UK, we will do our part to bring about a ‘new normal’ where people from diverse communities feel safe, empowered and included. This is not something extra ‘on top’ of our mission: it is central to it.
This message of solidarity is also a public commitment. We will listen, learn, and we will act.