We are sure you will all be aware of recent events taking place in the United States surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement. The global response, including in the United Kingdom, shows beyond doubt that we have witnessed an extraordinary moment and an extraordinary reaction.
As an NHS Trust, as an employer of people from all races and backgrounds and as colleagues bound by shared values of tolerance, mutual respect and support, we take the view that we cannot simply stand by without bearing witness to what we have seen, without calling it out and, in doing so, reflect the many, many messages we have received from our own staff expressing their horror and outrage at what they have seen.
We can, of course, point to our track record in promoting diversity and inclusion. We can draw attention to the creation of our Inclusion Council to drive forward this agenda. We can point to the many campaigns and initiatives we have created and supported to promote equal opportunities and tolerance. We can point to the podcasts, tweets, leaflets and posters we have produced to make public our values and want we stand for. We can back those statements up with details of the meetings, events, groups and programmes we have supported and continue to drive forward to turn our actions into words and outcomes. We can celebrate the increasing diversity of our Board. We can celebrate the leadership we provide outside the Trust in regional and national initiatives and organisations. And, yes, we can say we continue to be on a journey and there is still more we can and will do.
We can say all of those things. And we do.
But sometimes we need to raise our eyes, stand tall and do something much simpler and much more profound.
We need to – and we do, here and now – say to everyone and on behalf of all of us at Combined the following.
Black Lives Matter. And we will stamp out racism together.
Peter Axon, Chief Executive
Tosca Fairchild, Assistant Chief Executive and Chair of Show Racism the Red Card
David Rogers, Chairman
Shajeda Ahmed, Executive Director of Workforce, OD and Inclusion
Jenny Harvey, UNISON and Chair of Staff Side
Amina Begum, Chair of BAME staff network
Our Assistant Chief Executive Tosca Fairchild appeared on BBC Radio to talk about experiencing racism, Black Lives Matter and her roles with Combined Healthcare and Show Racism The Red Card.