Harrogate health partnership launches anti-racism movement
West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership and the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit have launched the area’s anti-racism movement today (Monday).
The movement has been backed by 500 groups and community allies, including NHS organisations, councils, West Yorkshire Police, Healthwatch, hospices, universities, housing associations, unions, and the voluntary community social enterprise sector.
High profile supporters include West Yorkshire Mayor, Tracy Brabin and a variety of sports clubs such as Yorkshire Cricket Club, Yorkshire Sports Foundation and The Leeds United Foundation.
The movement has been co-produced with colleagues from ethnic minority communities. It spotlights the experiences of staff and allies from across WY&H HCP and illustrates their views of racism. Imagery from the campaign will be displayed outdoors and on buses, as well as across social media with the hashtag #WYHRootOutRacism. It includes a suite of educational resources to encourage people to better inform themselves on anti-racist behaviours and practices, whilst linking to training and people’s life stories.
The initiative stemmed from a recommendation from the WY&H HCP review in October 2020 into the impact of COVID-19 on health inequalities. Evidence shows that people from ethnic minority backgrounds continue to face health inequalities and discrimination in their communities and workplace.
“Racism started before I was even born. It’s been always there, having to work twice as hard, always working harder to be seen, to feel visible; not as valued as your white colleagues and that just became a standard.”
“I’m getting way more stares, people looking at you just because of your skin tone. I’m being faced with racism from kids who are 5-6 years old. Of all racism I’ve encountered, that’s probably the most shocking, that’s the racism coming from kids.”
“Stereotypes, assumptions that are made about me as a black man, professionally or socially. Simple things like when I go on a bus, being the last person to be sat next to, or when the cashier puts the change into people’s hands but when it comes to you, she puts it in the counter.”
Alison Lowe, West Yorkshire’s Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, and the joint national APCC Lead for Race Disparity, said: "The support generated across West Yorkshire for this anti-racism movement represents yet another step toward meaningful and real change. As a black woman, I can tell you that I have been on the receiving end of racism over the years, which has left me feeling scared and disengaged from society. This unified approach to rejecting such behaviours and practices, however, means that we are pushing open the door yet another notch, confronting the negative stereotypes and perceptions that exist."
Director of the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) Chief Superintendent Jackie Marsh added: “We are committed to tackling racism in all its forms and by putting people’s experiences first, we can better understand how we can collectively confront it. I’m pleased that the Violence Reduction Unit is a key partner in this work. We each have the responsibility to recognise the issues that exist and by working together to address them, we have more chance of achieving positive changes to racial equality across our area”.
Rob Webster (CBE), CEO Lead for WY&H HCP said: “To change people’s behaviours, we must change people’s minds. This movement aims to make people stop and think, to try to better understand what is going on beneath the surface for people, and in response, act on these feelings to make a real change in their community. This movement is part of a range of interventions and builds on our awarding wining system leadership work and fellowship programmes. We can all make a difference and eliminate racism from our places of work, community spaces and homes. Together we can root out racism”.