Charity leaders must ‘stand together’ against social media abuse, says Shelter CEO 

13 Nov 2020 News

Charity leaders have a duty and responsibility to use their social media platforms to “stand together” and call out racism and other abuse, Polly Neate said yesterday. 

The Shelter chief executive is one of over 70 charity leaders who signed an open letter after Barnardo’s and its chief executive faced a barrage of abuse over a blog explaining white privilege. 

Neate, who was speaking at the Social CEO awards, drew attention to the letter co-ordinated by ACEVO, and said: “We are in quite hard times as a sector, everyone knows that, we must not let the total inadequacy of the support from government or other people out there who want to silence us stop us from our duty to speak truth to power.” 

She added that charity leaders “should be using social media to do that where necessary” and that “part of the job to use social media to stand together” when someone is attacked. 

Neate also advised people to protect themselves and “say turn off notifications to make it easier and don’t feel you have to read every single reply”.

Barnardo’s attacked over blog 

After Barnardo’s tweeted a link to a blog about advice in talking to children about white privilege, it received a backlash from people who thought it should not be discussing the subject. 

Social media users also directly attacked its chief executive, Javed Kahn, whose ethnicity is Asian. 

The ACEVO letter says: “The anti-racism work of Barnardo’s and any other organisation meaningfully tackling racism, will always receive our support. In particular we offer our support to Barnardo’s CEO Javed Khan and all other Black, Asian and minoritised ethnic leaders for the racism directed at them because of their organisations’ important work on white privilege.”

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