Waltham Forest Stand Up To Racism
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Equality for Black Cultural Workers In Waltham Forest
We are troubled and concerned by Teanne Andrews’ public statement about her experiences as a Black female employee of the council-run William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow. We feel duty bound to speak up. The full article written by Teanne Andrews and published on Wednesday 17 June can be found here: Others, including members of staff and creative practitioners locally, have shared their experiences demonstrating that this incidence is neither unprecedented nor unique. Her sacking has had an impact on lots of people, including many young people who saw Teanne as a role model and are devastated. The public response released on Friday 19 June from the William Morris Gallery is inadequate and disingenuous: The statement is unauthored and allows the councillors and senior staff at LBWF Department of Communications and Culture to distance themselves from the Gallery, while implicitly off-loading responsibility onto staff and volunteers who are limited in power and agency. We demand that there is a formal, transparent and independent inquiry into the structural and institutional racism within Waltham Forest Council, which is the employer of staff at the William Morris Gallery. LBWF describes the William Morris Gallery as its flagship arts centre, and the situation Teanne Andrews has described affects and reflects very seriously on the whole creative and wider community here in Waltham Forest. The Gallery also has an international following and so, especially because of recent worldwide protests and the Black Lives Matter movement, it is imperative you take action without delay. We demand that: a full inquiry is carried out by an independent body the practice of repeat short term contracts is reviewed your Equality and Diversity policies are reviewed, shared widely both internally and externally, and a clear pathway is adopted for these policies becoming properly adopted as everyday working practice of every Council worker and Council contractor. Waltham Forest Council include listening to the lived experience of your staff as one of your equality objectives for informing your Equality and Diversity policies. There must be no recriminations for people who speak out on this issue.