West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership (WY&H HCP) and the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) are preparing to launch their anti-racism movement on 23 August.
With the support of over 430 organisations and community allies across the area, the movement has the backing of Kirklees Council Leader, Cllr Shabir Pandor, WY&H HCP lead for the movement; Tracy Brabin, West Yorkshire Mayor, Alison Lowe the Deputy Mayor for Police and Crime at West Yorkshire Combined Authority.
Co-created by over 100 WY&H HCP ethnic minority colleagues to proactively challenge racism across all aspects of society, the movement is part of an ongoing commitment to tackling structural and institutionalised racism, as well as addressing health and social inequalities across West Yorkshire and Harrogate.
The movement, a recommendation from the WY&H HCP review in October 2020 into the impact of COVID-19 on health inequalities will bravely see staff and community colleagues putting their face to the movement’s visuals in high profile places, including Millennium Square in Leeds; sports clubs and hospital grounds.
West Yorkshire Mayor, Tracy Brabin said: “Racism is a stain on our society. I’m proud that Alison Lowe, Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, and I are able to stand together with those who want to make a positive change in our region and throw our support behind this movement.
“West Yorkshire’s diversity is a strength that should be celebrated. Around 20 per cent of our community coming from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds. Yet far too many still suffer racism day in day out, as well as growing health inequalities which have been made even more apparent during the pandemic.
“Everyone, no matter what their background, deserves the same opportunities in work and equal access to health and care. As Mayor of West Yorkshire, I’ve made it a key commitment to ensuring we tackle structural and institutional racism by ensuring inclusivity and diversity are at the very heart of everything we do.
“We all saw the appalling abuse aimed at England players after the Euro finals just a few weeks ago which was yet another reminder that racism is still very much an issue that needs to be rooted out in our society. There is still a long way to go, but the more people see campaigns like this, the more I hope we are able to spread the word that racism has no place in West Yorkshire, and I encourage every organisation across the region to support this campaign.”
Imagery from the campaign will be displayed on buses, as well as across social media with the hashtag #WYHRootOutRacism. The movement will encourage people to better inform themselves on anti-racist behaviours and practices, whilst linking to training and people’s life stories. Built from insight from people’s experiences of racism, the movement will encourage everyone to root it out and stand together.
Cllr Shabir Pandor, Leader for Kirklees Council and WY&H HCP Movement Lead said: “Rooting out racism is incredibly important for Kirklees and WY&H HCP. I’m delighted that over 430 organisations and community allies including the West Yorkshire Mayor and Deputy Mayor are getting behind our movement to root out racism.
“We really are stronger together and only by working side by side with colleagues and communities locally and across West Yorkshire and Harrogate can we proactively change society for the better for everyone.”
Alison Lowe, West Yorkshire’s Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, the joint national APCC Lead for Race Disparity and non-executive director for Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust said: “The support generated across West Yorkshire for this anti-racism movement represents yet another step toward meaningful and real change.
“As a Black woman, I can tell you that I have been on the receiving end of racism over the years, which has left me feeling scared and disengaged from society. This unified approach to rejecting such behaviours and practices, however, means that we are pushing open the door yet another notch, confronting the negative stereotypes and perceptions that exist.”
To get involved, register your interest in the movement and access free resources ready for the launch in August here.