Black Lives Matter

June 18, 2020

Black Lives Matter

Racism and multiple disadvantage – our position and pledge

The horrific death of George Floyd has highlighted the extreme discrimination and injustice faced by black people here and across the world.

MEAM stands against systemic racism and joins the urgent call for change.  Change is needed in our own coalition, in the local areas we support, and in the national policy environment that we seek to influence.  We all have a responsibility to actively tackle racism and its structural causes wherever we find it. This includes addressing white privilege in our coalition and organisation(s).

Systemic racism, white privilege and its impact is evident in people’s experiences of homelessness, criminal justice, mental health and substance misuse support. For example:

  • Black people are more likely to be diagnosed with mental health problems and experience poor outcomes from treatment. They are four times more likely to be detained, and more likely to be restrained and isolated under the outdated Mental Health Act.
  • Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) men and women make up 25% of prisoners, despite forming just 14% of the population. In 2019 the proportion of children in custody who were BAME exceeded 50%.
  • Black and Minority Ethnic people are under-represented in some mainstream homelessness and substance misuse services. Many services are not set up to reflect these individuals’ specific needs and experiences.
  • Black and Minority Ethnic men and women are under-represented in MEAM Approach caseloads across the network.

Through our work, MEAM seeks to challenge and disrupt systems that create and perpetuate multiple disadvantage. Addressing systemic racism and white privilege is fundamental to this and we know that we haven’t focused on this enough in the past. We are committed to improving our understanding of, and action on, the pervasive role of racism in the lives of black, brown and minority ethnic people facing multiple disadvantage as part of our ongoing work and in collaboration with other partners.

As a starting point, we are committed to:

  • Taking time to explore the issue of systemic racism and white privilege within our coalition and organisations.
  • Holding a set of our regular ‘learning hubs’ later this year on race and multiple disadvantage, allowing us to explore the issues in more depth across the MEAM Approach and Fulfilling Lives networks.
  • Spending from our ‘reserves’ for a programme of work on race and multiple disadvantage, which will be shaped and delivered this year with expert external partners.

We hope that you will join us on the journey.

The MEAM coalition