Racial justice statement from the trustees
Publication date: 01/04/2021
The Tudor Trust recognises that we live in a society shaped by white privilege and racism. Like many trusts and foundations, last year we began a journey towards a better understanding of the history of racism, the inequity it perpetuates today and how it can be dismantled. Racism is a historical, structural system of oppression and we recognise that we have been, and continue to be, part of that system. As a funder that aims to support community-led change, towards a more just and equal society, we need to reach a better understanding of how we can challenge structural racism and embed racial justice in all we do.
As we noted in our November 2020 update, last summer Tudor’s trustees and staff met to share, reflect and listen. We agreed to start our work by looking inwards at our own understanding of racism and white supremacy. We appointed two external facilitators, who collectively hold expertise in anti-racism, decolonisation of knowledge and systems and conflict resolution, to support everyone who is part of Tudor through a process of reflection and learning.
In February Tudor’s white trustees began their own journey with four three-hour workshops. Through those workshops, a fuller understanding was built of the different characteristics of racism born of Britain’s colonial history, as well as the white supremacy culture that prevails. The group also explored what it means and how it feels to be at the margins of society. There was some initial thinking about whiteness at Tudor and areas that require change for the organisation to become truly anti-racist.
Continuing Tudor’s learning journey, this week our facilitators began a series of workshops with team members who are Black, Asian or from other minority ethnic groups on racism and empowerment. The third and final set of workshops will be for white staff members. In September, the full Tudor staff and trustee team will come together to decide collectively on actions that will move us forward.
The eleven trustees who participated in the workshops remain committed to maintaining their learning and reflection. We intend to create opportunities which bring staff and trustees together to discuss issues such as racism, ethnicity, colonisation and whiteness, through discussion and reflection on a current event or piece of writing. The aim is to create a space which invites debate, difference and challenge, and explores the diversity of experience and opinion of everyone at the Trust.
In parallel, we have also begun a series of learning conversations with some of our Black and other minoritised community partners. The intention here is to help us understand how we can be a better funder of groups experiencing structural racism, particularly small grassroots groups.
Historically Tudor has monitored the proportion of our grants going towards targeted work with Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. In 2019–2020 16% of our grants supported work with people from Black, Asian or other minority ethnic communities. From April 2021 we have introduced new questions about organisational leadership as part of our application process, which means that in future we will be able to identify work that is led by people from minoritised communities, as well as work that supports people from these communities. This will help us understand who we are funding – and who we are not funding – and to make changes that will ensure racial equity is embedded in our grant making.
In March 2021 the government published the report of its Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities. Tudor’s trustees discussed this report at their April meeting and felt that the overarching narrative of the report – that structural racism is not endemic in the UK – does not reflect the experience of the groups we work with, or our own developing understanding of racism. The trustees therefore decided that Tudor should sign an open letter to the Prime Minister, drawn together by The Runnymede Trust, rejecting the findings of the Commission and calling on the government to affirm its commitment to race equality in Britain in 2021. The trustees also agreed that Tudor should sign a letter to the Prime Minister from a group of charitable foundations, noting that the experience of our partners and communities who face racism has been dismissed and their lived experience denied by the way the report’s findings have been presented.
We are working to understand and confront racism, and what it means for the way Tudor works in future, in a way which reflects the full complexity and interconnectedness of the issues. We’ve started by looking inward, and that has taken time as we have been carefully guided through challenging conversations by our facilitators. After we come together as a trustee and staff group in September we will report here on how we plan to better challenge structural racism throughout our work.
Trustees of The Tudor Trust
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