28th April 2020 – International Workers Memorial Day

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  • Post category:Remembrance

The Anti-Racist Alliance Trust (aratrust) commemorates all workers who have died at work because of poor Health & Safety conditions, and all front-line workers who have died in the current Covid 19 pandemic.

We salute all organisations and individuals challenging unsafe working conditions, which all too often lead to injury and loss of life. We stand four square with front-line staff, trade unions, journalists, politicians and others struggling during the current Covid 19 pandemic for adequate testing, sufficient up-to-standard Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and contact-tracing to effectively curtail the spread of the virus and reach a point where nobody is dying from this virus in the UK and there are no new cases.

For aratrust, safety is a matter of respect for all people and especially all the front-line workers who are risking their lives caring, providing food and equipment, and transporting essential supplies and people doing essential work that they cannot do at home.

Aratrust is alarmed at the emerging evidence of disproportionate adverse impacts of Covid 19 on healthcare workers from black and minority-ethnic backgrounds. According to a recent BMA survey of thousands of frontline doctors battling COVID-19, published on 24/04/2020:

  • All but one of the 17 doctors who are known to have died after contracting COVID-19 are from BAME backgrounds
  • Almost double the proportion of BAME doctors (64 per cent) have felt pressured to work in settings with inadequate PPE where aerosol-generating procedures are carried out exposing them to risk of infection. This compares with 33 per cent of doctors who identified as white.
  • Only four out of 10 BAME doctors in general practice said they had sufficient PPE for safe contact with patients with possible or confirmed COVID-19 or those with non-COVID-19 symptoms. A far greater proportion, seven out of 10 doctors who identified as white, said the same (1)

This disproportionate adverse impact is reflected in recent research from the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre which reveals that 34% of the critically ill Covid-19 cases in hospitals in England and Wales come from black and minority-ethnic backgrounds (2).

All disproportionate adverse impacts of Covid 19 on healthcare workers and the black and minority-ethnic population must be identified and action taken. Long-standing health and economic inequalities must once again be addressed and the racist attitudes and institutionalised racism that have limited change so far must be counteracted.

On Tuesday 28th April, we will be observing the minute silence at 11am to honour every worker who has died from coronavirus. Join us!

Aratrust is a multi-ethnic charity, whose Board Members, Supporters and volunteers reflect today’s UK. This year we won’t be out in the streets commemorating IWM Day as we will be implementing social distancing at home in response to the spread of the Corona virus.

Sadly our normal everyday activities supporting the community through advice work and wellbeing sessions, reducing social isolation and facilitating access to employment through ESOL and ICT training and volunteering, as well as our activities for young people, families and children, will be severely reduced until after the epidemic.

Annually aratrust assists between 100 and 500 members of the public (depending on funding), particularly with housing issues and access to entitlements, with a growing number of appeals, the great majority of which are successful.

Aratrust’s children’s, youth and young workers’ activities, delivered through our Young Explorers (primary school aged children), Young Activists (secondary school aged young people, and emerging Young Citizens (18-25 years old), have been attracting a growing number of children and young people year on year (over 100 at the last count) for 7 years.

Linked to our children’s activities, events and administrative and book-keeping activities in particular, aratrust’s volunteering opportunities with individualised on-the-job training and opportunities for team-work as well as individual work, have made life-changing differences to job-seekers. Volunteers on work experience have informed us that they got responses to their job applications, interviews and employment offers for the first time because of their specific experience with aratrust.

Whilst it is very sad to see these services reduced or completely suspended during the epidemic, we can look forward to a bright future when these services are not only resumed but expanded, as we have already started investing our time working at home in research and organisation-building.

We are proud that aratrust has always been a grass-roots organisation financially supported and controlled by its members and never dependent on grants or high-level political patronage. Aratrust aims to grow as an organisation and, after the pandemic, expand its services to meet ever-increasing demand. YOU can support this work by donating* on a one-off, annual or monthly basis and / or by donating your skills through volunteering.

*If you want to make a donation and are a tax-payer, please ask us for a Gift Aid declaration form. A Gift Aid donation increases the value of your donation to us by 25%, which we can claim from HMRC, and YOU can reduce you tax liability by the amount of your donation!