From the massive and eye-opening response across Twitter, we take a look at #CharitySoWhitesix months on.
In August 2019, the #CharitySoWhite hashtag blew up on Twitter, prompting charity sector workers from BAME (Black and Minority Ethnic) backgrounds to share their experiences of institutional racism and discrimination. We consider the outcomes of #CharitySoWhite 6 Months on.
The wave of personal testimonies shared across Twitter came in the wake of racially offensive training material used by Citizens Advice, brought to light by Fatima Iftikhar, an organiser with #POCIMPACT.
After their initial silence, Citizens Advice said "We agree these materials are not acceptable and apologise unreservedly. We’ve taken them down from our website and will be investigating how this has happened. We help anyone, anywhere, whatever their problem. We strive to ensure our service is truly inclusive."
The experiences mirror many of the issues that we heard about. Key figures such as Susheila Juggapah and Saimah Razak speak in our article about damaging assumptions, a lack of representation and limited upward promotion.
There was a backlash of people denying the problem, exclaiming ’PC gone mad’ and accusing the Twitter users of a ’victimhood mentality’, creating an intimidating atmosphere in that people feel hesitant about speaking up.
Since its inception, #CharitySoWhite has unearthed sobering truths about the sector but also moved forward to question and reshape the current landscape.
The huge response to #CharitySoWhite attested the many racist incidents across the sector. The vast range of personal accounts of racism came from interns, managers all the way up to board members. With over 3000 tweets on the first day, #CharitySoWhite has mobilised to expose and combat racism. The team is working to amplify the voices of BAME people in the sector and engage with senior figures to have an honest dialogue about how to progress inclusion.
In six months, #CharitySoWhite have done great things. Here are six of their breakthroughs:
The #CharitySoWhite movement set out to make the sector better by embracing the passion of BAME employees for the sector to drive social justice. They believe that the charity sector can combat and tackle embedded power structures to lead social progress.
In October 2019, the #CharitySoWhite team met with NCVO. The staff at NCVO detailed the internal response to the movement. Conversations throughout the organisation propelled them to develop initial actions to address these issues in the sector.
Here at Charity Digital, we discussed the climate surrounding #CharitySoWhite. In our very first Charity Digital Podcast, our guest host and former CharityComms editor Susheila Juggapah was joined by Brand By Me Founder Collette Philip Keen and Charity Digital’s own Raabia Fazil for a discussion about their experiences as women of colour working for charities.
To shake up the status quo, we launched a campaign to find the top charity digital BAME leaders. We asked our readers to nominate the inspiring BAME individuals that they worked with and were delighted by the huge and positive response.
From a trickle to a flood, the personal testimonies shared by BAME employees in the sector and the commitment of #CharitySoWhite have done great things. The initial conversation about representation and recognition in the sector indicates the shape of things to come. The great strides made so far demonstrate that charities can certainly come together to leap over these hurdles in the drive to progress.