Disrupting Racism and Inequality

18 September 2020

I joined the Foundation for Future London excited by its principles of social justice and its commitment to support and invest in the cultural quarter, East Bank — the most significant London investment since Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s Royal Commission for the 1851 Great Exhibition.

A cultural quarter set to break the mould – its aim to be a place for all, where innovation, art, education and spaces can support wellbeing, create jobs, entrepreneurship and invest in communities in the local boroughs of Newham, Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest.

We stand with the communities that have witnessed the pain and impact of racism and exclusion and the mourning of the brutal death in America of George Floyd, a father and community activist and reminded of the murder of Stephen Lawrence, a young Black schoolboy, with an ambition to be an architect.

It is 2020 and the fact that society still needs to be reminded that Black Lives Matter too emboldens the Foundation’s commitment to ensure that racism, prejudice, inequality and exclusion are fearlessly eradicated. They have no role in the Foundation’s work and must have no part in East Bank.

At a time when the arts, and culture sector, are struggling, we will be ambitious in breaking down barriers facing the artists, musicians, performances, communities, projects and organisations.  Current research suggests that if you are Black, Asian, minority ethnic, disabled, working-class, or LGBTQIA+, you more likely to impacted by reduced funding and access to grant opportunities.

When we fundraise for East Bank, we are focused on building a cultural quarter that embraces equality and disrupts racism and inequality.

We will dedicate time and resources, to continuously measure and improve our progress on diversity, equity and inclusion, including using the Association of Charitable Foundations’ nine pillars of good practice of stronger Foundations:

  • Invest resources
  • Produce and review strategies
  • Collect and track data
  • Have a diverse board, and staff
  • Reflect and implement best practice
  • Express our commitment to policy and practice
  • Be accountable
  • Advocate and advance best practice
  • Collaborate with others

The current impact of COVID-19, racism, prejudice, exclusion and increasing levels of poverty, now more than ever needs East Bank to meet its ambition as a world class London cultural quarter. It must be a catalyst for investing in resilience and a platform for change, opening opportunities for all, showcasing talent, opening doors to learning, creating jobs, supporting business and skills, investing in local places and economies, protecting people and the planet – for all.

Maria Adebowale-Schwarte
Foundation for Future

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