by Sukhvir Kaur Dhillon, Consultant Social Worker, West Midlands Social Work Teaching Partnership
We are all aware of the global protests that have taken place concerning George Floyd which were specifically about police brutality and the deep structural inequalities that exist in society. This has forced the world to acknowledge and address racism on a scale that we have never seen, this includes the West Midlands Social Work Teaching Partnership.
We established an Anti-Racism working group in December 2021. This was a result of open and honest discussions with our partners at the programme board about racism. Partners suggested that we organise a separate working group to explore our role in promoting and implementing anti-racism.
We have held two meetings to date, and these have been attended by partners from across the partnership, which includes Higher Education Institutes (HEIs), Local authorities (LAs) and Trusts. Anti-racism was considered in relation to social work education and practice and many ideas and thoughts were shared during these meetings. This meeting reflected a commitment from partners across the region in becoming an actively anti-racist partnership.
A specific action from the first meeting was for a mission statement reflecting our commitment. We were clear that this would not be a tokenistic statement but a reflection of the commitment to anti-racism.
Anti-Racism Mission Statement
The West Midlands Social Work Teaching Partnership (WMSWTP) stands against racism, discrimination and inequality.
The recent events involving the brutal murder of George Floyd has forced the world to acknowledge the deep structural inequalities that continue to exist in relation to race. There are many incidents of racism that continue to take place globally, nationally, regionally and locally which highlights the need to recognise, address and eradicate racism.
Social Work values of upholding and working toward social justice for all people are integral to our role. The Social Work England standards reflect the value and diversity of social work practice and the positive impact it has on people’s lives. Standard 1.5 highlights that social workers must 'recognise differences across diverse communities and challenge the impact of disadvantage and discrimination on people and their families and communities'.
Social Work recognises the importance of equality. We need to reflect and examine the actions of individuals, organisations and the systems we work within. WMSWTP is on a journey and is committed to working towards promoting a Partnership and indeed a society based on equality and justice by working collaboratively with our partners.
We are committed to being an ‘actively anti-racist’ organisation, embedding this approach into the very fabric of our work.
We will engage and collaborate as a partnership to challenge oppressive behaviour and reduce racial inequalities both in social work education and practice.
We will ensure that the ‘unheard voices’ from Black and Minority Ethnic groups are empowered and given the space to be heard.
We promise that we listen with the intent to understand and respond to the challenges and needs that are experienced individually and organisationally.
We will develop and work to implement actions that dismantle racism within all aspects and levels of our partnership.
Together we will make a difference.
As well as a mission statement, the action group has assisted in producing a specification for Anti-Racism Training. We want this training to provide partners with learning which has an impact on their thoughts, behaviours, and action.
The anti-racist action group is ongoing, and it will continue to develop the many ideas that have been contributed by partners. As stated at the end of the mission statement, together we will make a difference!
Sukhvir Kaur Dhillon
Consultant Social Worker