OUR COMMITMENT TO BECOMING AN ANTI RACIST ORGANISATION
From the Trustees and Director of Magic Me, March 2021
Magic Me has spent over 30 years bringing together culturally diverse groups to exchange experiences through arts activities. Magic Me is a majority white organisation working in the charity and arts sectors, which are also institutionally white. At this pivotal moment in time we must ensure that we are doing everything we can to become an actively anti racist organisation and contribute meaningfully to systemic change. We are indebted to those Black, Asian and white artists, staff and trustees who have shared with us their insights and experiences of Magic Me, and challenged us on where we need to do better.
The pandemic has exacerbated existing inequalities: in housing, health, poverty, digital access. It has already proven to have a disproportionate impact on individuals from ethnic minority backgrounds. We also sadly know that the impact of Covid will be longer lasting for those communities. Hate crimes against Chinese, East and Southeast Asian people have increased three fold in the UK in the past year.
The Black Lives Matter movement and the conversations it generates have rightly challenged us. Structural racism has never been more clearly laid bare by so many people. And so much has an intergenerational lens. We recognise how wealth and power generated by the slave trade and colonial gain remained in the hands of families or organisations after abolition, and continues to underpin inequalities today. The ongoing Windrush scandal has shown clearly how structural and institutional racism against one generation is still having lasting impacts on following generations.
As an intergenerational organisation working with culturally diverse communities we can’t just be aware of racism and its intergenerational impacts, we must be actively working to dismantle it and questioning ourselves in the process. We need to make sure that we have the right thinking, training and people to do this well.
We recognise that we are a majority white organisation and team – trustees, staff, artists. We need to take clear actions to change that and hold ourselves to account.
We are committed to:
- ensuring that Magic Me nurtures the wellbeing of all those who participate or work with us and for us, creating safe environments where all individuals can thrive and be themselves.
- cultivating a culture where racism is called out by everybody, and that people are supported to do this, through clear processes, safe spaces for people of colour and ongoing learning.
- putting in place and implementing clear frameworks for the reporting of race or bias related grievances, and for following up and addressing them.
- increasing the racial diversity of our Board, by recruiting trustees who are people of colour, to ensure power of decision making sits with people whose experiences better reflect those of the communities of east London, our home.
- ensuring the experiences and thinking of older and younger people of colour are present at governance level, directly or, for example, through advisory groups
- growing the role of artists in developing and creating new projects and programmes, ensuring that Black and Asian artists and artists from minoritised ethnicities, their voices, artforms and experiences are at the heart of our creative practice and programming
- committing and securing budgets for this work
- securing external expertise as we appraise our systems, processes and policies
- reporting publicly on our plans and progress with this work.
Change will take time and work will need to be ongoing through the coming year and beyond.
During 2021/22 we recruited and worked with an experienced anti-racism consultant, to create and implement an Action Plan for this and future years. The Plan was published in October 2021, and here is our August 2022 progress report.