Fri,24 Feb 2023

Make the path by walking it: a blog

by Stella Ngozi Mbubaegbu CBE | Director | Black Leadership Group UK

We have a long way to go in our journey as an anti-racism movement. I know that George Floyd’s murder in 2020 and the outcry that followed gave us momentum, with positive responses from organisations and individuals worldwide. People wanted to do something.

We still have a long way to go, however. We have had 400-500 years of history building the structures and institutions to eradicate racism, but it’s not done and dusted. And we really can’t afford to wait another 500 years to see an end to racism.

It has to be about action, and if people ask why then the first answer is simple: it is the right thing to do. Ethically, racism is wrong and it has no place in society. In addition to this, it is critical in shaping a strong, successful country. We need to make the most of an ethnically diverse Britain.

We need to harness the potential of every single person. This is at the heart of why we need to eradicate racism. We must act and that has to begin with the acknowledgment that this is real. Sweeping statements, such as ‘we’re a non-racist country’ are not helpful. On the other hand, Wales declaring an aim to be an anti-racist nation is ground-breaking.

Our online conference on 21 March, Make the path by walking it, is about showcasing such positive developments as well as highlighting areas where more action is needed urgently.

This is about anti-racism, which means being proactive. Organisations can introduce policies and procedures to promote racial equality but if these were working, we would not be continuing to see evidence of racism today.

At conference, our keynote speaker will be Nazir Afzal OBE, who will talk about The Race to the Top – an ambitious blueprint to unlock Britain’s potential. This is his positive message. Nazir’s review of London Fire Brigade found an organisation that was ‘institutionally racist’, so he has seen first hand the levels of racist abuse still suffered by people at work in this country. The Race to the Top is a roadmap for eradicating racism.

It has been said that anti-racism is the positive tide that lifts us all. We want our conference to be a platform for sustainable change, that is not solely dependent on a handful of individuals. We need to create an anti-racist culture that is sustainable.

We should also have a conversation about the language we use to tell the anti-racism story. For me, inclusion is about someone else giving me permission to be part of something. The truth is that we are a diverse country to which people from various ethnicities belong. It’s about belonging more than inclusion.

Our conference will showcase people who are truly making the path to an anti-racist society by walking it. We must have action and acceleration. The need for an anti-racist society is an urgent one.

 * The third annual Black Leadership Group conference, called Make the Path by Walking it, takes place 0n 21 March 2023. Register your place today.