At the height of the Coronavirus pandemic, Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests swept the globe in response to the murder of George Floyd by a police offer in Minneapolis, USA. The protests created a new level of awareness of the extent and depth of systemic and systematic racism in societies, including the UK.
The lived experience of racism is something that our clients know all too well. Not only have they experienced injustice, oppression and violence in their countries of origin, as well as on treacherous journeys in search of sanctuary, but they have also encountered the brutality of a hostile environment towards them here in the UK.
At the Boaz Trust we hear of, and see, so much racism experienced by our clients. It is also true, however, that as a majority-white organisation there is much racism that we fail to see, or understand well enough. That is why we are doing the work as individuals and as an organisation to listen, learn, unlearn and change. This self and organisational examination is essential, and it must be ongoing if we can truly hope to see and challenge the racism we encounter.
COVID-19 has revealed deep chasms in our societies and stark evidence of systemic racism has revealed itself. As an organisation we have a lot more work to do to become anti-racist. We know that we need more diversity within our staff and leadership teams, and greater representation on our board of trustees from those with lived experience of the asylum system. We need to better amplify the voices of our clients, and not be afraid to reveal the complexities and nuances of people’s lives. We will continue to seek for a just and compassionate asylum system, and an end to destitution.