“This incredible organisation has achieved more in its first year than some do over a decade. Not only are they working on a huge scale with industries and organisations across their county that will mark changes in infrastructure and policies around racism, but they also touch the lives of the people in their communities on a daily basis.”

“No organisation has done as much to raise the bar for black and brown people in Cumbria. In my 40 years living in the County ARC have, in the last couple of years, challenged us all who live here to do more and do better.”

“Anti-Racist Cumbria is doing a great job opening up discussion around issues of racism in a fairly hard to reach community. There was a huge gap and they are more than filling it with intelligent and well-argued views and new ways for people to think about how racism permeates our lives.”

CASE STUDY

The Cumberland Building Society 

After the global response to George Floyd and what happened with the BLM movement, the Cumberland Building Society, through their People team began following Anti Racist Cumbria’s LinkedIn platform. They watched with interest the educational and informative posts and eventually contacted us to ask how they could essentially do better. After several meetings with Shelley Hayward, Head of Development and Talent , we set up Power Hours across the course of two consecutive weeks to work with their staff at all levels on an introduction to What is Racism and What is Anti Racism. These sessions were done virtually in a space created to be both safe and resilient. This enabled  those attending to have open and genuine conversations, ask questions and start to really think about their roles and responsibilities, both as individuals and as an organisation.

“Over the last few months Anti Racist Cumbria have been supporting us with educating our colleagues to better understand anti-racism and creating safe spaces to explore what we each need to do. To date, over 100 colleagues have started on their anti-racist journey and a small group have taken a proactive step to set up an anti-racist working group. We have been overwhelmed by the feedback and impact of these sessions. Colleagues have astounded us with their openness and willingness to really think deeply and what we each need to do differently – all of this couldn’t have been achieved without the safe space created by Janett and the Anti Racist Cumbria Team.”

Recently the staff have attended a third Power Hour – Building confidence in talking about race and racism. Since the quote above, the staff have moved a long way, able to talk openly about issues such as ‘appropriation’ and ‘wokeism’ offering thoughts and views and how they can make an impact. The organisation is in the process of overhauling its D&I Strategy and have invited Anti Racist Cumbria to attend their full Board Meeting to begin working on the anti-racist element of this. Shelley added 

“These sessions have opened up the space for the Conversation and to begin the work we now need to do”

“I truly believe Anti Racist Cumbria is making a difference in our county. To come so far in such a short time only proves how needed and how effective this organisation is. ARC deserves recognition for all of the hard work and effort they put into affecting change in our schools and institutions, making Cumbria a great place to live for us all.”

“It is hard to explain what a direct impact they are having across so many areas of life – in education, sport, business, culture to name a few. Their way of working is positive and warm – there is a strong message, but they reach out, educate and explain. They stand out in this region not only for their values, but for the speed at which they’ve achieved so much and made a difference to so many.”

“Anti racist cumbria has changed my life. I apply a whole new perspective to my relationships, professional and personal. The charity has opened my eyes to other ways of being – allowing me to recognise the lens I use to see the world. I am better able to recognise inequality and feel empowered to change the world for the better through conversations and positive action.”

CASE STUDY

Animated Futures: Our Grass Roots Youth Project

Read more about it here

In October 2020, as part of our Race & Education in Cumbria online event, a group of school aged Black and Brown young people got together to talk about their experiences growing up and going to school in Cumbria. Their conversations were recorded for the event with the aim of highlighting the racism they experience, what that racism looks like and the fact that very little has changed in some 30 + years. The resulting recording was powerful and can be heard here.

What was also really powerful was seeing the young people, around 28 of them, all together in the same room. For many of them, it was the first time they had been in the same space as other young people who look like them. It was electric and we all knew we couldn’t just stop this after one recording. It was clear they wanted to support each other, talk more, share experiences and just have that special space with people who ‘get them’. It was the start of Animated Futures. At the time we didn’t know where it would take us or what impact it would have. Fast forward 18 months and not only do we have the most amazing animated film created and all that brings with it, most important of all, we have young people feeling more confident about their hair, their skin, themselves. Their self esteem is right up there. There pride in who they are shines from within. They feel validated and know it ‘isn’t them’. Below, we hear from just two of them.

 “I feel like it’s really important to give Black girls like me a voice, and other Black people to know they’re not alone. Every week we’d meet in a zoom to talk about the animation, and it’s been so important for me and other Black and Brown friends to not feel alone. I do feel like I’ve learned so much…and it’s definitely been the most valuable thing I’ve done in a long time.”

“It’s been an amazing experience doing something that feels like it’s more impactive than just doing stuff that’s for myself. Whereas now I feel like I’m helping out other kids by doing this and I’m just having as much fun as I can and learning everything that I can (about animation).”

“They have inspired and educated myself and another teacher to become anti racist ambassadors in our predominantly white school. They have supported us to complete an audit of our practice and will work with us to produce an action plan to ensure that all the children in our school receive an anti racist education, and learn about the achievement and history of black and brown people.

I can’t thank them enough for inviting us on this journey and all the tireless work they do to educate and work with people in Cumbria to work towards becoming the first anti racist county.”

“What an amazing organisation! I’m so proud to live in a county and community where people are shining a beacon for hope and equality. The time, work and support for educators is inspiring. Tackling education is so forward thinking and makes me excited to be helping make a change for our young people and communities. The journey for many of us has just begun but as our awareness and voice grow in confidence we can be part of a much needed change: change that can positively affect all lives.

Thank you Anti- Racist Cumbria!”

“I have lived in Cumbria for most of my life and have been involved and been aware of a few groups that have been set up to celebrate the multi cultural diversity of the area, or who are the ‘voice of the BAME community’. No group has managed to challenge the establishment, shake up the community and inspire others as much, or as quickly as Anti Racist Cumbria has.

Through reasoned, informed and passionate conversations ARC has educated a County on what it means to be Anti Racist, and then set out a clear challenge to us all to come together on the journey to making Cumbria an Anti Racist county.”

CASE STUDY

A White mum found us on FaceBook and contacted us to tell us about the racism her mixed heritage secondary school aged son regularly experiences and how she didn’t know where to turn. She tried to address it with his teachers but more and more they were suggesting the problem was her and her son.

We reached out to the school to offer support, but when that was rejected, we continued to support mother and son, bringing in a youth mentor to go through son’s options at a critical stage of his school development. This empowered him to move forward with better choices, feeling as he said in his own words ‘validated and realising for the first time that he wasn’t overreacting or behaving in any of the ways he was regularly being accused of’. His empowerment helped him to negotiate life in school better and eventually the school began to engage with us. Sadly for this boy, there was an issue which resulted in him becoming very distressed. His mum told us about it and we arranged for him to have a session with our Black Male Racial Trauma Embodiment Coach, Rowan Carr.

Afterwards his Mum said:

“It’s a million WOW’s for today. Rowan was fab just as you predicted and his style, knowledge and delivery was perfect for X. It made X dig and think and confront all things he finds hard but all things that create growth. 

X said very little afterwards, he ate, he slept all the way home in the car, then as we arrived home he said ‘I find it hard to talk about how I feel’. This was like a thunderbolt. I know X feels he can’t express all this. I don’t know why and I know it’s there but the numbness that he mentioned has penetrated much deeper than he thought. I don’t know if it’s protection, or hiding but it’s the first time he mentioned it. 

Would be amazing to have this style available for young people for them to learn. It can be cool to be in tune with your emotions and how racism kills those feelings. So bloody sad in there. Think it helped him though, Rowan was so cool. 

Thank you.”

We continue to work with X and are now working closely with the school, who having recognised their failings with this young person, are on their anti-racism journey.