Allyship: creating a truly inclusive Oxfordshire together

Our commitment to a sector wide approach to equity, diversity & inclusion

Paul Brivio on why working together to create a truly inclusive third sector has never been more important:

This blog is the result of conversations Active Oxfordshire and other Oxfordshire voluntary sector CEOs and leaders have been having about equity, diversity and inclusion. We have taken a long hard look at ourselves, our organisations, our sector and the power and responsibility we have as leaders to address systemic exclusion.

Racial justice has come up as a persistent theme, alongside other aspects of discrimination (particularly around race) and exclusion – along with a collective commitment to change as a response to COVID-19 and its destructive and tragic impact on those suffering already from the greatest health inequalities.

We have focused on a determination to understand the everyday impact of structural racism and discrimination, and how we can get better at disrupting the status quo, using our power and privilege for justice and demonstrating strong allyship. At Active Oxfordshire we want to be seen as an anti-racist organisation - to be on the pitch and not just watching from the stands.

Allyship is about using our personal and positional power and privilege to amplify voices. It is about asking who is sat at the table, who isn't, why not and how do we get them there, as well as making sure the voices of people with a wide range of lived experiences are heard.

We have reflected on how to be conscious and intentional in our actions, and how we walk the walk in everything we do, how we make sure our desire for justice is embedded in our organisations and how we can influence change wherever we can.

We are all taking active steps to ensure that our organisations – at Trustee level, at a leadership level and across our wider teams and volunteers – are more diverse and representative.

At Active Oxfordshire we want to be part of a wider Oxfordshire movement so that by working together we can use our power and influence to give opportunity to others – particularly those with lived experience – to speak. We will do this through our Active Ambassadors Scheme and the way we work with our partners.

As a result, along with other leaders from the voluntary sector, I am committing to:

  • Be part of groups and committees that are actively inclusive, and to ask myself the question - who isn't at the table, who should be and how can we get them there?
  • Always be asking myself, my teams and other organisers if we are making sure a wide range of voices and lived experiences are heard in our work.
  • Work to ensure that our communications, publications and other media include a diverse array of voices and experiences to truly reflect Oxfordshire in all its diversity

I also want to work with my colleagues and partners to:

  • Encourage those around me to make these commitments
  • Make this an organisation wide approach whereby we encourage everyone to do the same
  • Work pro-actively to amplify diverse voices
  • Encourage thinking & discussion about any barriers – financial or otherwise – to activity and movement, connection and engagement so that we can take down these barriers & enable people from diverse communities to participate.

In making these commitments public, I am naming and owning the power I hold to create space for more voices to be heard, and to influence. And the more of us that make these commitments, the faster we will make change.

Our group of leaders from the Oxfordshire voluntary sector are developing plans and will review our progress against our ambitions. When we don't succeed, we will reflect on why and what we can learn.

Please join us in committing to do all you can to ensure diverse voices and lived experiences are heard. You can find out more about our approach and actions to equity, diversity and inclusion here.

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