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Black Lives Matter -A year on at Hibiscus

At Hibiscus, we continue to support the global Black Lives Matter movement. We were heartened to see George Floyd’s killer was found guilty. The fight against racism experienced by Black people around the world is a long journey, and justice for George Floyd is a milestone on the long road ahead. Martin Luther King, Jr., reminded us that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” Change takes a long time, but it does happen.

At Hibiscus, as an organisation providing specialist services to Black and migrant women (some men in detention) who are most likely to be impacted by systemic racism in the UK, we continue to be committed to working towards a fair and just society without racism.

Today we re-affirm our commitment to the anti-racism charter developed by EVAW (End Violence Against Women), and to achieving actions set out including, centring anti-racism in our work, representative leadership and governance, and disrupting power and influence. Reflecting on the past year, here is what we have done towards our anti-racism agenda.

Centring anti-racism in our work

  • We published our commitment to Black Lives Matter on our website and developed an action plan to centre anti-racism work.
  • We have made anti-racism a core part of our organisation’s strategy. We developed our 5R strategic themes (recovery, resilience, re-centre, reconnect and reimagine). The strategic themes recentre and reconnect focuses on the lived experiences of Black and migrant women and addressing the systemic racism, discrimination, and inequality they experience in the criminal justice and immigration systems.
  • We have secured funding to support our anti-racism work. Specifically, we secured funding from the Barrow Cadbury Trust for our Doubling Down on Double disadvantage project. This funding will support us develop a robust action plan highlighting the double disadvantage Black and migrant women experience in the criminal justice system.
  • We facilitated a roundtable discussion with Black women with experience in the criminal justice system and Lyn Brown MP. We will continue to enable and give a platform to Black women to speak about their experiences and bring decision-makers to the table.

Representative leadership and governance

  • We held workshops with external consultants, to enable deep and reflective conversations on anti-racism and white privilege with our senior leadership team and Black staff members.
  • Hibiscus has created space for Black staff members to meet to regularly discuss the impact of racism in the work they do. Hibiscus is proud to support the development of such a space.
  • Recruitment of a diverse board that represents those we work with is important. We recruited 4 new trustees with diverse backgrounds in December 2020. We currently have 50% of the board who identify as Black or minoritised women. We have also been part of the Beyond Suffrage programme, which is currently supporting women with lived experience of the criminal justice system to become trustees.

Disrupting power and influence

  • We submitted our response to ‘Ethnic Disparities and inequality in the UK’ call for evidence. Here is our submission.
  • Hibiscus is a member of FOME (Female Offender Minority Ethnic) working group established by MOJ. We have highlighted the issues of systemic racism in the criminal justice system in this group and will continue to work with the MOJ and other stakeholders to begin to address this problem.