Fatima Iftikhar, who uncovered a racist Citizens Advice training slide last week, has launched a campaign calling for “urgent action” on racism in the charity sector.
Iftikhar, who founded a community group for people of colour in the sector, #POCIMPACT, last week raised serious concerns about training material used by Citizens Advice. She has now said it was not a “one-off” and is encouraging people to share their experiences of racism in the sector.
She told Civil Society News: “A few of us are coming together to launch this campaign #CharitySoWhite to kick-start wider conversation and action in the charity sector.
“We want people to understand that the Citizens Advice training is not a one-off shocking incident and that urgent action needs to be talking about institutional racism across the sector.”
The campaign launches today on #CharityTuesday to “get people to share more widely their experiences of racism in the charity sector, following on from the CA scandal”.
The Citizens Advice scandal is not a one-off incident.— Fatima (@IftikharFatima) August 19, 2019
You can make change happen.
Share your stories and experiences of #racism in the #charity sector as staff, trustees, volunteers & service users.#CharitySoWhite #charitytuesday
In an article last week for Gal-dem, a publication that shares perspectives from women and non-binary people of colour, Iftikhar, said the sector is failing to take action to address inequality and lack of diversity, and criticised Citizens Advice for its reaction last week.
“The snapshot I posted on Twitter from the Citizens Advice training session could have very well been a training slide from many other charities,” she wrote. “While they all quickly set about reviewing their websites and online presence to remove overtly harmful materials, I hope they do not stop at surface level actions that prioritise protecting their reputations over ensuring they are serving their communities and users.”
A selection of early responses
I have SO many examples to share.— Ruth Ibegbuna (@MsIbegbuna) August 20, 2019
Some still too painful tor rage-inducing to type.
Look at who has the real power in your charity and what level of diversity is round your Trustee table...#CharitySoWhite.
No, it hasn't resulted in action. That's the frustration we deal with as BAME. We get asked to speak on their panels, we're in their photographs, we fill in surveys. Nothing changes. There's no action. There's no roadmap. Honestly, I'm so tired of just talking. #CharitySoWhite https://t.co/gWA9TcPoTu— Kris Tan (@krislyn_tan) August 20, 2019
The charitable sector is heavily donor centric, which not only furthers the white-saviour complex but also inevitably leads to a wholesale centering of whiteness. Are we surprised that the sector is so behind? #charitysowhite #NoWhiteSaviour #decolonise #CharityTuesday— Saba Shafi (@sabashafi86) August 20, 2019
Every white person working in the charity sector should be following #CharitySoWhite. There is SO much vacuous chat about diversity in the sector and hardly anyone willing to acknowledge, let alone change, the structural racism in their organisation.— Oonagh Ryder (@oonskie) August 20, 2019
On a cultural level, there is the pervasive assumption in charities that because you're 'nice people' doing 'good work' that you're exempt from structural discrimination or unconscious bias. #CharitySoWhite— Samir Jeraj(@sajeraj) August 20, 2019