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Black History Month

Our lead for Black, Asian and minority ethnic members, Harvi Khatkar, shares a blog to mark Black History Month 2021:

As an Asian woman, I cannot and do not attempt to speak on behalf of black colleagues or black communities – but I am committed to championing the needs and best interest of people from under-represented backgrounds, and raising awareness of the issues they face.
Black History Month has been celebrated for over 20 years and has become a core part of the corporate calendar. This should be recognised and encouraged, but every organisation must be ever mindful of the danger of paying lip service to this annual event without the commitment to action that will actually result in change.
By celebrating black history, we discuss and confront every part of the story of our black communities – both positive and negative and it’s right that this is part of public narrative.
We must understand the generations of discrimination and oppression alongside the celebration of culture, heritage and positivity, so that we never forget the history that is so important in understanding who we are today.
For policing, this means accepting an uncomfortable and difficult truth as we look back over the years and see consistent under representation within the workforce and a lack of legitimacy with regards to services.
It also prompts reflection over the actions we have taken, the commitments we have made and the progress we have achieved.

Whether it’s a commitment to listening, hearing and celebrating the lives of black colleagues, or embedding fundamental process changes to training, to recruitment or to community engagement – we simply must ‘do’.
As an association, that has been our guiding principle when it comes to speaking on matters of diversity and inclusion. We constantly ask- what are we contributing and what difference have we made?  Through the creation of a national coaching and mentoring scheme, through to the addition of a disability representative on our National Executive Committee and most recently through the launch of Future Supers – we are making an impact.
I would challenge every person in the Service and outside to make a promise linked to Black History Month and do everything you can to keep it. Make it a promise based on action and store a reminder to check in on yourself in a few months’ time.  Have you made a difference? Have you contributed to the society or to the workforce we know we all want? 
Let’s all play a part in the next chapter of Black history that is resoundingly positive. Let’s move away from contemplation, towards action and towards a shared history based on equality and respect.