Freephone 0800 234 6282

CEO Blog: One year on from Black Lives Matter

Jonathan Whalley St Christopher's Chief Executive

Jonathan Whalley, Chief Executive

“Today marks the one-year anniversary since the death of George Floyd. George’s death led to international protests as people joined together in anguish and anger, seeking justice and equality and demonstrating global support for the Black Lives Matter movement. My thoughts are with George’s loved ones on this difficult day.

Here at St Christopher’s, the events around the world sparked our own reflection. We recognised that it would be dangerous and naïve to assume that racism could not and does not manifest itself in our own organisation, and therefore knew action must be taken.

St Christopher’s believes that being not-racist is not enough; we must be actively anti-racist. Social change is enacted when a society mobilises, therefore we can bring about meaningful change at St Christopher’s if we stand united and are mobilised together.

Spearheading this cultural and organisational change have been the Race Matters Group, made up of representatives from across St Christopher’s. The group advises and guides the Senior Leadership Team in introducing meaningful change that will seek to identify and eliminate racism at St Christopher’s. The group focuses on five key areas:

  • Training and Education
  • Data and Experience
  • Policies and Procedures
  • Wellbeing and Therapeutic Support
  • Leadership

For us, this is not a quick fix or a tick box exercise but an ongoing piece of work. Racism is now a regular conversation topic for all levels of our organisation, from our leadership and trustees through to our services, to ensure we are continuously reflecting, challenging ourselves, learning and changing.

The Black Lives Matter movement prompted us to look at all forms of diversity at all levels in our organisation. Currently we are working to increase the diversity of our Council of Trustees by recruiting people who are of different ethnicities and backgrounds, care-experienced, educated at state schools, disabled and / or part of the LGBTQIA+ community. I hope this will ensure our organisation is as diverse and representative as the young people we care for and support.

The Black Lives Matter movement continues to make headlines and will do so until justice truly has been achieved and a genuine respect for all people is everyone’s everyday experience. At St Christopher’s, we continue to strive for this outcome too.”