The first Anti Racist Cumbria Summit was held on Tuesday 2nd November 2021.
We set out to bring people together from across Cumbria, create a safe space for conversations, and learn about some of the key topics that are an essential part of becoming anti racist.
This sold out event was just the beginning for many of our attendees,
As we move towards an anti-racist county, we ask ourselves; what impact has the Summit had?
Who was there?
More than 250 people attended the event.
Business leaders from all sectors; nuclear, tourism, NHS, education, banking, sport, National Trust, outdoor spaces, cultural organisations, charities, college and university students, councillors and more.
Black people, Brown people, White people, people of different ethnicities, faiths, ages and financial backgrounds.
It was easily the friendliest, warmest and most diverse room in the county.
Who wasn’t there that should have been?
We would have liked more representation from our councils and MPs, we understand parliamentary and authority commitments make Tuesdays difficult and we will look at ways to overcome this hurdle, like a different date for this audience. It’s important too that they meet us halfway and look at ways they can be involved too – could they have sent a representative or tuned in online for parts of those parts of the Summit that were live streamed?
We noticed too that although we had representation from a few schools in our county, the majority were unable to attend. There are no doubt many reasons for this and as with our politicians, we are looking at other ways to ensure schools can better participate. We are also really encouraged by the contact we have had from many schools since the Summit, expressing a wish to start to engage and begin a relationship with us.
Last, but absolutely by no means least is what we would turn the ‘middle band’ or businesses – accountants, solicitors, wealth management, estate agents and more – were all distinctly lacking. Whenever we have tried to reach out and engage with these groups, we are met with ‘it’s not an issue for us, we are already diverse’ or ‘we don’t have [minorities] applying for positions so we don’t really have that problem, if they applied we would treat them equally’. Yes, we know there is much work to do with this particular audience and we will look at better ways on how we can engage and educate them on these issues that they don’t see as the problem, as exactly the problem.
Choirs, talks, interactive sessions, panel discussions and keynote speech.
And lunch. And snacks. And an after-party.
You can catch up with some of the different sessions from the day here:
- PANEL DISCUSSION: Is anti-racism relevant in all-White spaces?
- DR SHOLA KEYNOTE – TURNING PRIVILEGE INTO RESPONSIBILITY
- DR SHOLA KEYNOTE – EXPLAINING EQUITY
- CHOIR AND CEO OPENING ADDRESS
- LAUNCH OF ANIMATED FUTURES TRAILER
- MICROAGGRESSIONS EXPLAINED
What did people think?
We’ve been absolutely blown away by the reactions of people who attended the Summit.
We knew it was going to be good. Our attendees thought it was really, really good.
Here’s just some of the wonderful feedback we’ve received so far.
“A hopeful, supportive community which encourages us to ask the hard questions and to have the uncomfortable conversations.”
“Thoughtful, professional, kind, balanced, inspirational.”
“The most mindblowing, eye opening experience I’ve ever had in Cumbria and a feeling of being part of a warm, accepting and vibrant group of friends.”
“It exceeded my expectations – it’s no easy task to organise a conference for such a large number of people but it was professional, uplifting, inspiring.”
“Thought-provoking, empowering and emotional.”
“You have made me braver, and more determined to keep learning and to move on through the learning zone and to take action where I can and to use what influence I have. I was particularly impressed by your emphasis on the welfare of people who may be triggered by the difficult subjects we were discussing. Thank you for creating a safe space for the discomfort to be.”
“Positive reinvigoration for change.”
“An amazingly warm and friendly atmosphere in which the impact of racism was explained and described in different ways without accusation, anger or hostility. From the relentless hurt of micro aggressions to the often brutal reality of statistics on physical attacks, health and opportunity etc, it was a day in which all attendees could share an understanding that change is needed.”
“I would do it all again tomorrow, a seamless event which was very inclusive. The speakers and sessions left me feeling equipped to confront racism in a more confident and efficient manner.”
This was our first large scale event, but we guarantee it won’t be our last.
So if you missed out, don’t worry, we’ll be back with more opportunities next year!
The work is only just getting started… We Move.
You can see some more photos of the event below, or check out the full album on our Facebook page.