General Election 2024

Read our updates on issues relevant to charities for the upcoming election. Learn more

Charmaine Goddard

People Partner

Listen, act and change this Race Equality Week

Charmaine Goddard

People Partner

To mark Race Equality Week 2024, our people partner Charmaine Goddard reflects on the work NCVO and the wider sector are doing to challenge racism and inequity.

The murder of George Floyd in 2020 created a global sense of urgency to learn about, and act against, racial injustice. People around the world started educating themselves about racism and inequity through media, social activists, and the everyday people around them.

People began listening to lived experiences of racism and started to understand the value of lived experiences and voices seldom heard. Commitments were made to challenge and dismantle structural racism. Businesses and organisations also made diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging core to their strategic business goals.

Since then, that sense of urgency has slowed. It seems there’s been a realisation that taking action on something as deeply embedded as racism, and creating real change, is challenging work. That’s why it’s a crucial time for people and organisations to get involved in Race Equality Matter’s innovative campaign, Race Equality Week.

This year’s theme is #ListenActChange. This is a vital message. It reminds us to stay the course, have faith in the change that we want to see in our future and pursue justice in all areas of our lives.

As Martin Luther King Jr said:

In 2020 we began a process of changing our organisational culture. We listened to our people about their experiences at work. As a result, we made changes to our structure and the ways we interact with each other day to day. This included:

  • engagement surveys
  • listening exercises to understand the experiences of our people
  • reconnecting and bringing people together days
  • the co-creation of our behaviours framework
  • shifting the use of our language from ‘BAME’ to global majority.

Since then, we’ve continued to engage, listen, and improve the ways we work. But there’s still much to learn.

We’re now taking action to support the hopes and ambitions of our people at NCVO through our anti-racism work. We’ve appointed an inclusion and belonging lead to our people, culture and inclusion team. They will develop our anti-racism strategy in partnership with the organisation and senior leaders.

We’re also working in partnership with sector leaders on Civil Society Group’s From Good Intentions to Impact project (pdf, 5.6MB). The project brings together charity membership and infrastructure organisations to collaborate on dismantling racism. It aims to create lasting change in the wider sector.

We continue to commit to taking the time to listen with open ears, closed mouths, vulnerability, and curiosity. Race Equality Week reminds us that it’s also time to focus on the small and large actions that will create real change for people. To create meaningful change, we must ensure that the effort and impact of people with lived experiences remain high on our agenda as we continue pursuing racial equity in the workplace.

I invite colleagues across the voluntary sector to listen, act and change. Together we can dismantle racism and create a better future for the communities we serve.

Back to top