Racism, inequality, crisis and action

04 June 2020

Following the unjust death of George Floyd at the hands of police in America, a reinvigorated Black Lives Matter movement is shining a light on systemic violence, racism, injustice and inequality in the US and sparking urgent conversations in the UK.

We stand in solidarity with those at the centre of the work against racism and we stand with the community led projects directly supporting and building a fairer society for black people.

The Trust’s focus is health inequality, where the unjust and avoidable differences in life experiences of black people, as well as Asian, and minority ethnic groups, are stark. As many seek information about racism and inequality in the UK, we wanted to share some key facts in this area.

Evidence on health inequality often focuses on neighbourhoods. The Marmot Review 2020 showed that since 2010 inequalities in life expectancy between neighbourhoods have increased. The more deprived the area the shorter the life expectancy, and the more time people live in ill-health. Analysis of data from the 2011 census shows that black people were most likely to live in the most deprived neighbourhoods overall, whilst white British people were the least likely to.

Office for National Statistics (ONS) data in May showed the impact of coronavirus has already been hardest felt in more deprived areas, which have experienced COVID-19 mortality rates more than double those in less deprived areas. ONS data also found that Black people were over four times more likely to die from a COVID-19 related death than White people, when taking age into account. See our recent blog on this for more information.

This week Public Health England published COVID-19: review of disparities in risks and outcomes. The review again highlighted that people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds are likely to be at increased risk of infection and death because of factors including being more likely to live in in deprived areas, urban areas, overcrowded households, and have jobs that expose them to higher risk.

The pandemic has clearly exacerbated the impact of existing inequalities between different neighbourhoods and ethnicities, but it has also exposed the underlying structural inequality which creates unjust and avoidable differences in life experiences and expectancy.

The Trust is proud to contribute funding to projects which are actively responding to this inequality in a range of ways. Which are led by and providing focused space for people with black ethnic backgrounds, as well as Asian, Gyspy and Roma, and other minority ethnic backgrounds.

These include peer support, community and creative groups for young people, mums, men, women, migrants and refugees, LGBTQ+ people, people with disabilities and other intersecting identities. There are projects on everything from equality and mental health, to simply socialising, filmmaking and gardening. No matter the subject, each group builds vital social connections which are proven to strengthen communities and benefit people’s health and wellbeing. 

Moments of crisis like the times we are living in spark important reflection, but they must also spark action. The impact of racism and the resulting inequality can be seen far beyond these moments and in the everyday experiences of many black people in the UK. Which is why we must do more to stand with the communities which are hurting right now, and work against racism and inequality every day.

 

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