Becoming an anti-racist organisation: progress update June 2022
Peter Alleyne, Associate Director for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Race Equality, and Nisa Chisipochinyi, Head of Equity and Racial Justice, explain where we are in our mission to become an anti-racist organisation.
Two years ago, international protest at the murder of George Floyd was a catalyst for Rethink Mental Illness to confront its own shortcomings on race equality and being anti-racist. The charity commissioned an independent review by Oxytocin-Learning to look at our progress in becoming an anti-racist employer, campaigning organisation and service provider. The results were both uncomfortable and clear. Over the years the charity simply hadn’t done enough to make itself as fair and equitable as it should be.
The charity is responding to the recommendations in the Oxytocin report with clarity and action. Our roles were created, and we both joined Rethink Mental Illness earlier this year with a remit to develop and deliver a powerful programme of work on race equality. Two of the first things we have been tasked with are developing the Rethink Mental Illness anti-racism statement and a comprehensive Race Equality Action Plan. These are important, milestone documents. All staff need to consider what active steps we can take to help the charity become a truly anti-racist organisation.
At Rethink Mental Illness we want anti-racism to be part of our DNA. Anti-racism is not just about being not racist, it’s about being actively anti-racist and taking steps to address racism and promote racial equality. The statement sets out our commitment to becoming anti-racist both as an employer, campaigning organisation and service provider, and to influence policy and the wider social factors that impact the mental health of racialised communities. The statement is published both internally and externally, as we want to be held accountable for our progress on becoming a truly anti-racist organisation.
Race Equality Action Plan
The Race Equality Action Plan sets out the short, medium, and long-term activities that will support our commitment to becoming a truly anti-racist employer, campaigning organisation and service provider. The action plan is robust, evidence-led and is designed to deliver on the recommendations from the Oxytocin-Learning independent review and the recommendations from our internal employee Pledge Groups. We hope it shows that the charity means business on delivering race equality (and you’ll see some of the short-term actions have already been completed.)
There are three workstreams:
- Through leadership, governance, and accountability we will embed strategic oversight and implementation of our Race Equality Acton Plan.
- We will be an anti-racist employer where our workplace practices will enable our ethnically diverse colleagues to thrive and progress as valued employees.
- We will be an anti-racist service provider that knows its minoritised service users so that we can provide them with the optimal support and service where and when it is needed.
The plan includes lots of great new initiatives, for example:
- We’ll be launching a mutual mentoring programme to help increase understanding of the lived experience of our minority ethnic colleagues amongst our senior leaders.
- We will launch a new staff network to support our minority ethnic colleagues.
- We will engage with internal leads who are already building local partnerships with diverse community organisations, to establish and embed good practice throughout our service-delivery.
- We will choose a specific influencing objective to advocate for racial equity and justice around mental health.
So, as you can see, there’s plenty for us all to be getting on with. But we will get there!
Our equality and diversity statement
We believe that everyone should be treated with respect and dignity – and that’s why equity is one of our core values. We strive to prevent discrimination in our services, in our groups and in our workplaces so that everyone feels welcome and at ease.
Equality and diversity statement Our equality and diversity statement
Our strategy for 2021-23
Rethink Mental Illness is the charity for people severely affected by mental illness. Our mission is to lead the way to a better quality of life for everyone severely affected by mental illness. This includes people with lived experience, their carers, families and friends. This page sets out our strategy for 2021 - 2023.
Read more Our strategy for 2021-23
Our anti-racism statement
We are pleased to be publishing this statement of our commitment to becoming an anti-racist employer, campaigning organisation and service provider – and in our efforts to influence policy and wider societal factors impacting on mental health.
Read more Our anti-racism statement
Our Race Equality Action Plan
In response to the Oxytocin-Learning independent external review on our progress in becoming an anti-racist employer, campaigning organisation and service provider, we have developed a robust and evidence-led Race Equality Action Plan to deliver the recommendations from the external review and our diverse pledge groups.
Read more Our Race Equality Action Plan