Firstport’s Statement on Black Lives Matter
We stand against racism in all its forms and are committed to building a more diverse sector.
It’s been 16 days since George Floyd was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis, a landmark event that has sparked countless demonstrations against racism across the world, as well as frank (and sometimes uncomfortable) conversations about race, privilege and prejudice.
Social enterprises here in Scotland, the UK and across the world work every day towards a more just, sustainable and equal society, so you could say that it is a given that the sector stands against racism in all its forms. Here at Firstport, we feel it’s important that we explicitly say it, put it in writing for others to see and hold us accountable to our commitments.
We are proud to say that we have been talking about and working towards becoming a more diverse and inclusive organisation for a while now. Back in January, we shared a blog post where we explained why we were committed to putting diversity first in 2020, the work we had done so far and the specific actions we were taking forward this year.
We identified areas where we knew we could do better. For example, we needed to understand better the barriers that people from diverse communities face in applying and accessing support. We also acknowledged that our board and staff team are not as diverse as we would like them to be. And that there was data we were simply not tracking.
We have made good progress on our commitments and that will merit a blog of its own later in the year. However, what the events in the last two weeks have shown us is that making ‘good progress’ is probably not good enough. Appearing to be doing OK or assuming that people know this issue is important is not enough.
When we started this process we knew that we didn’t have all the answers and that there was much more we could do, but we hoped that by putting it out there and sharing our thinking and our plans, we could engage with others on the sector, start a conversation and bring them along on this journey.
Today we think this is more important than ever and we are open to working with others so we can create a more diverse sector that reflects the society we live in.
The commitment we made towards diversity has only been strengthened by what we have seen and heard in the last two weeks. We will continue to listen, learn, engage and take action with purpose, and we hope you will too.