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IAC is one of the most diverse adoption agencies in the UK. This is in terms of our children and families, and also our workforce, but we know we can do even more and are always working towards building a workforce that more closely reflects the diversity of those we serve. We are also committed to IAC delivering anti-racist services across the board, which acknowledge the uniqueness of individuals and do not discriminate against them on the grounds of race.
Talking about racism and the Black Lives Matter protests is not about creating segregation, but about highlighting that people, especially Black people, continue to be treated differently because of the colour of their skin, and that this affects their life chances. We know from history that protests have successfully created change, especially when it comes to issues of equality, and already we are seeing new sweeping changes being announced. Changes that were unimaginable just a few weeks ago.
It is possible to stop racism. In fact in its current form racism has actually only existed since races were categorised in the 1780s. It is a social construct that is now causing havoc across the world. A helpful short film on the categorising of race can be viewed here.
The death of George Floyd in the USA has opened up some of the shocking disparities that still exist based on the colour of our skin and what this means for the lives of Black people in particular. I am clear that we must therefore think about the future experiences of the children we wish to give better life chances to. This conversation affects us all and is particularly pertinent to IAC because:
1. The Children we seek to serve at IAC are all of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME)* heritage
2. 85% of all those seeing to adopt with IAC are also of BAME heritage
3. BAME colleagues are part of our workforce at IAC, and
4. IAC believes that racism is wrong and so our organisation should be anti-racist.
As an adoption charity working internationally, IAC exists to make the lives of the world's most vulnerable children better. We support our adopters in this important task to ensure that they can help their children to achieve their individual potential. Overcoming racism has always been part of our training and dialogue, but it is clear, now more than ever, that our children need more. They need a world around them that is not racist, so that their ability to achieve in life is not limited by the colour of their skin.
It is human nature to have preferences, and we all have prejudices, whether we acknowledge them or not. Of course, dealing with an issue as huge as racism can seem overwhelming to any of us, so it is important to know what we can do. I say let's all of us begin with the one person we know best. Ourselves. The time is now. We have a unique opportunity to be part of a global change that will lead to good.
Below are some resources that might assist us on this mission.
As a person of colour and as CEO of IAC, this is an issue I feel very passionately about and I am therefore driven to do better and to work to ensure that #BlackLivesMatter truly pushes all of us to challenge racism in any form, and stamp it out, for good.
* Please note I use the term BAME to refer to our overall profile of children's backgrounds, not to minimise the fact of the matter being that it is Black people who are at the centre of the Black Lives Matter movement.
CEO, IAC - The Centre for Adoption