Senior charity worker reportedly used racist slur during diversity training

15 May 2024 News


A former senior member of staff at a homelessness charity used a racist term when leading a training session about diversity, according to reports.

According to reporting by the Independent, former Mayday Trust deputy chief executive Angharad Orchard used the N-word in full at the session in April last year.

It reports that Orchard used the slur while making a point about the acceptable use of language.

The media outlet reports that the incident prompted several members of staff to make formal complaints to the charity’s human resources department.

It reports that a senior Black staff member was made redundant shortly after lodging a complaint.

The Independent reports that an HR letter, replying to a formal complaint, reads: “Ms Orchard was unaware that the N-word must not be used in any context even if to highlight a point about her discomfort in using it to describe someone.

“Angharad did not use the word in a derogatory manner, nor did she do so in a violent way or within a racist statement.

“Mayday does not currently have established requirements, guidelines or policies around the use of language and therefore Angharad had no obligation to study the history and context behind the N-word as part of her role as deputy CEO.”

Mayday Trust recently merged with mental health charity Platfform.

A statement on its website reads: “We acknowledge that we have much work to do ourselves to become organisations that live our values and work towards becoming equitable, diverse and anti-racist.”

A spokesperson for Mayday said: “We are aware of the allegations relating to Mayday. We can make no further comment whilst legal processes are ongoing.”

‘Charities need to recommit to and actively root racism’

CharitySoWhite wrote on X: “It is wild that in 2024 we are talking about why it is unacceptable for a leader in the charity sector to use the n word. Even the most obviously hurtful and dehumanising of racist slurs like this are excused and defended by charities. 

“Time and time again, we see charity leaders go to extraordinary lengths to shift the goal-posts of 'acceptable behaviour' and infantilise themselves to avoid anti-racist accountability. 

“We know how hard it is for a POC to speak up when they’ve been victims of racist abuse at work. But often the politeness politics of charity sector brands those that speak up as trouble makers, and excuses perpetrators by claiming that they didn’t mean it or had good intentions. 

“We won’t have true justice or accountability until charities fully acknowledge how deep racism cuts and recognise that the starting point should not be the impossible burden of proof demanded of those experiencing racism. Charities need to recommit to and actively root racism out of their organisations, because they have the power to make this change.”

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