George Floyd: one year on
Today, we took part and supported a joint event, hosted by Race Council Cymru to mark the anniversary of the death of George Floyd. The accounts, testimonies, performances and words spoken at the event were poignant and powerful. They showed the pain experienced here, in Wales, by communities, by students, older and younger people and families of those that are yet to see justice and they showed the need to listen and act. But they also showed an enormous energy and persistence behind the work of many Black led organisations and campaigns based on a positive belief that things can change.
Since its inception Tai Pawb has been working with the housing sector to tackle all forms of inequality. The horrific murder of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement have shone the brightest of lights on racism and gave us a platform to bring the injustice of racism to people’s attention. We thank those campaigners for doing that – for standing up and standing out.
It is evident that we need clear leadership commitment to make tangible changes to how we work and what we do. That is why we launched Deeds not Words challenge which asks housing organisations to commit to specific actions not only to tackle racism but to move towards true and proactive anti-racism. We are doing this with the help and scrutiny from our new panel of people with lived experience, with the help of data and engagement with sector leaders. And alongside other initiatives like Zero Racism Wales, like the Race Equality Action Plan and the work of hundreds of Black led organisations we are here to play our part.
The challenges are clear:
- too many black, Asian and minority ethnic people live in worse housing conditions, in overcrowded accommodation and in insecure private rented sector
- there aren’t enough black, Asian and minority ethnic people on our boards, in leadership and amongst colleagues
- racially minoritised people in Wales are much more likely to be homeless
- access to services and communication, advice and advocacy remains a challenge
- too many tenants and staff still experience racism in all its guises
The baseline survey of over 800 colleagues from the housing sector that we have just carried out and which will publish shortly shows that much remains to be done to make our organisations truly inclusive and anti-racist. It also shows the fantastic work that many organisations are undertaking in understanding how racism affects them and addressing it – you can already read about some of this work on our Deeds not Words resources page.
The challenge is vast. We need to take steps not only to listen, consider and recognise racism but also take tangible and proactive steps which will bring tangible results – move from words to deeds.
Our challenge is to work together, to continuously question ourselves and to keep a close eye on what is or isn’t happening. There is a role there for all of us – Black or white, working to change things from the inside out or from outside in.
In the years to come we don’t want to look back and realise that things are still the same. We need to be determined and persistent, we need to challenge and scrutinise but also support and recognise the good work happening in the wider housing and support sector.
We owe it to the hundreds of black, Asian and minority ethnic people made homeless every year, to the rough sleepers who can now be deported just for being homeless, to the ethnic minority people disproportionately living in substandard housing or struggling to access our services, to our black, Asian and minority ethnic colleagues whose experiences are not what they should be, and to the thousands of Black people and families for whom a basic right – a right to a good home – is as yet not realised.
Here are some of the Black led organisations which supported the event:
Race Council Cymru