What will make City and Hackney anti-racist? This was the question that drew around 160 people to participate in the second VCS Assembly on 6 October.
Voluntary, community and statutory organisations all joined to create a spirit of solution-focussed collaboration. Perhaps you were one of them.
Chaired by VCS Leadership Co-Chairs, Beersheba Living Well Founder, Rosemary Jawara and Vanessa Morris from Mind in The City, Hackney and Waltham Forest.
We began with a scene-setting that travelled through some classic songs of change as well as rap and verse from Hackney youth leaders DKingsley, NomAEd and Yolanda Lear.
Director Of Public Health, Sandra Husbands walked us through health inequalities spotlighted by the pandemic and Susan Cueva from Filipino Support Organisation, Kanlungan shared case histories of the challenges endured by her local community. Later we heard from the chair of the NHS Race and Health Observatory, Marie Gabriel about her experiences.
The Assembly’s prime focus is always one of VCS-grown solutions. Guests from our voluntary and community sector organisations, as well as the City of London Corporation, NHS and London Borough of Hackney – keen to be a positive part of the solutions – were divided into breakouts to consider how we address racism across a variety of areas of policy. These spanned a variety of areas from institutional racism through education, criminal justice and housing to mental health, refugees and migrants, and disability.
The Assembly captured a positive, team spirit. We are now exploring the idea of setting up a working group to develop its many solutions in a way that will enable the VCS to retain ownership of their ideas and continue to work towards an anti-racist City and Hackney.
We would like to have representation from a variety of communities and organisations. Whether you were present and want to continue this journey or missed the event but would like to be involved please email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.