Our Road to Race Equity- Imagining an alternate existence.

 

[image description: Senior Race Equality Officer smiling in front of Road to Race Equity exhibition in Pavillion, City University of London)

By Natasha Mutch-Vidal

On 29th July 2022 we concluded our application for the Race Equality Charter and pushed the submit button. Three years in the making, our journey to submitting the REC application has been a long one. You can read more about what the REC is here. Our current campaign seeks to celebrate our journey and the many milestones we have reached on our Road to Race Equity.

Before I joined City in 2019 in a student support role, I worked as an Equality and Diversity Officer in an institution that was neither ethnically diverse in students or staff. I recognize now that a lot of the work in EDI is about realizing an alternate reality. A reality that none of us have actually known where our EDI roles no longer need to exist and marginalized groups no longer face the structural and systemic oppression that we spend our time combatting. I had to clearly and actively visualise this alternate existence in my previous role because what I saw and felt around me was so far from it.

City’s diverse student body meant that walking our corridors felt different for me. I quickly became part of the NRJ (then named BAME network) to further feed my sense of community and meet more staff of colour. In her book Yearning: Race, Gender and Cultural Politics bell hooks reminds us that, ‘the most vital ways we sustain ourselves is by building communities of resistance, places where we know we are not alone[1].’ It is in these communities that I feel my imagination come alive, they fuel and recharge me.

Back in 2019, I remember receiving an email from Dr Kavita Powley with a call to action that resonated – be part of the Race Equality Charter at City. The opportunity to get involved in the charter, having freshly joined City, sent a message to me – City wanted to imagine the reality I’ve walked with for years and I wanted in. Little did I know, in 2021 I would go on to join the team delivering the work in my current role Senior EDI Officer (Race Equality).

I’ve been able to support many of the milestones we’re celebrating including: webinars on privilege and allyship, discussions on radical self-care and the Historic Sources of Funding Review group. What’s kept me going through this work is this deep connection to my imagination and its limitless possibilities.

Our Road to Race Equity is a celebration of actions towards this imagined existence where we have achieved race equity. I invite you to visit our exhibition in the Pavillion and take a moment to meditate and reflect. How do you imagine the future we’re creating here? What does it feel like? What does it do to your body and mind? What is your role in it?

 

We’d love to hear your thoughts and reflections, comment below!

 

[1] Hooks b. (1990) Yearning: Race , Gender and Cultural Politics. New York: South End Press.

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