12 Oct 2021
It’s Black History Month!
We started this year’s Black History Month on the back end of Inclusion Week, which could not have been a more brilliant blend of celebration for the under-represented.
Every year, October is as a chance to rejoice and bask in the accomplishments of African and Caribbean people who haven’t been given the “screen time” they’ve deserved. It’s been great to see the daily acknowledgments by people such as The Rt Hon Stuart Andrew Lawrence (Baroness Doreen Lawrence’s son and Stephen Lawrence’s brother), who has been running a series on LinkedIn highlighting the contributions of African and Caribbean people to British Society, including Mary Seacole, Olaudah Equiano and Sir Learie Constantine MBE.
We’ve also been running a TikTok campaign, with one video going viral (yes, we’re that cool) highlighting even more incredible black British individuals such as Olive Morris, Igantius Sancho, Paul Stephenson, Lady Phyll, and Justin Fashanu, whose message, influence, and excellence we believe should be more widely taught in schools.
Why is this month important? For the same reason that any opportunity to talk about a topic which deserves to be spoken about more, is important. Because visibility matters. Representation matters. Inclusion matters.
As an organisation, we know that we need to invest our time and energy into ensuring that these three things become second nature and that the work we are doing at Board level is having an impact on that mission.
Over the last year, 85% of the Trustees we’ve placed have been people of colour; 54% have identified as female and around 40% are 35 or under. This is incredibly encouraging, and we know other organisations have seen similar results. Reach Volunteering, a great organisation focussed on volunteering UK wide, have been conducting their own research since 2017 on people applying through them for Trustees positions. They have seen an increase in gender balance for appointees close to 50:50, 19% of appointees are under 35 and 16% of appointees identified as people of colour.
This is heartening and encouraging news and it shows that things are changing. However, it’s not all changing at the same pace and there’s still a way to go. According to a recent Hidden Leaders report by ACEVO, disabled people account for 20% of the workforce, but this is not yet being represented at leadership level. This needs to change and organisations like Shaw Trust and their Power 100 list is a beacon of light which we all need to increase our attention to.
As the British summer time comes to an end and the days become shorter and the nights become darker, let’s stay focussed on the positive and keep making the conscious decisions every day that make a difference, and not just for one month a year!
Our next newsletter will be a special edition and it will be coming out on the Tuesday of Trustee Week 1st – 5th November (an annual event that seeks to showcase the great work Trustees do).
We’ll also have a special guest host, Melanie Williams Browne joining the drop-in clinic on Wednesday 3rd November to discuss her journey becoming a Trustee and what she’s learnt along the way.
Don't forget to join our drop-in clinic tomorrow if you're seeking a safe space to get some advice on your journey to Board level.