Leaders speak out following shocking racism towards Black footballers

Our chief executive Dr Sara Munro has spoken out at the racist abuse suffered by the three England footballers Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka, following England’s defeat to Italy in the Euro 2020 final on Sunday.

Sara said: “Euro 2020 has brought a positive boost to mental health, and our England team has done us all proud.

“These professional sportsmen have suffered shocking and unacceptable racism. I am appalled, and as a Trust, we stand united against it.

“With leadership from our Workforce Race Equality Network (WREN) and through the power of our own diversity we’ve sought to raise the profile of the devastating impact this has on all aspects of our lives. We must tackle racism together, calling it out at every opportunity.

“I am sure this latest shocking display of the worst aspects of society will have caused distress for colleagues and service users, so please do check in with one another and create space for supportive conversations. Colleagues can find details of what support is available on our website.”

Wendy Tangen, Chair of the Trust’s Workforce Race Equality Network (WREN), added: “We are still recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic where we, as a nation, leant on each other for support and comfort, demonstrated kindness to complete strangers and lifted each other in our most trying times.

“To see this heartfelt compassion tainted some who feel it’s ok to target our young footballers, hurl racist abuse at them, and to accept and trivialise it’s impact all in the name of the sport is beyond comprehension.

“As the Chair of our Workforce Race Equality Network I urge us all to stand together in solidarity and not condone these attitudes and behaviours as the norm in sport but to change the narrative. Always live by your true self, give support and care for each other, respect and value each other and always do what is right and root out racism.”

The West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership is launching its Root Out Racism campaign in August. They are on a journey to create an anti-racist system of health and care organisations and to support this a suite of free training is now available on the Partnership’s website.

Rob Webster CBE, Lead Chief Executive Officer for the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership said: “We are system made of people, in organisations that serve people. We exist to improve outcomes for local people, with a big focus on tackling health inequalities, managing unwarranted variations in care and using our resources wisely. We do this, knowing we have an impact beyond health too.

“Following the fantastic progress of the England men’s football team and their sad defeat by the Italian team, we have seen racist abuse emerge and reported on in the media and all across social media. I wanted to say to everyone affected by this – directly or indirectly – we have got your back.

“I know many of you will be distressed, anxious, disappointed or, perhaps, scared right now. If you need help, contact your line manager, supervisor, director or CEO. Resources are also available through the West Yorkshire staff wellbeing hub. Just know, we are with you and can help.

“I am proud that we have set ourselves on course to be a truly anti-racist system. Today is a day to live that anti-racist stance and to say to the haters, you will not win. You do not define us. You are not the majority. We are the majority. The kind, compassionate people leading public service, just like the England football team, are the best of us.”