Dozens of voluntary sector leaders back Barnardo's after 'white privilege' storm

Dozens of voluntary sector leaders have given their backing to Barnardo’s and its chief executive Javed Khan after the charity’s work to tackle white privilege was met with racist abuse. 

The charity faced a flood of racist comments after it began tweeting about white privilege and what could be done to tackle it and create a fairer society. 

But a statement published by the charity leaders body Acevo and signed by the leaders of more than 70 charities backed the work being done by Barnardo’s.

“The anti-racism work of Barnardo’s and any other organisation meaningfully tackling racism, will always receive our support,” it said. 

“In particular we offer our support to Barnardo’s CEO Javed Khan and all other black, Asian and minoritised ethnic leaders for the racism directed at them because of their organisations’ important work on white privilege.”

The statement acknowledged that civil society leaders “haven’t always got it right when it comes to tackling racism” and said that for too long, too many of them did not speak up. 

“We are still learning but as a community of civil society leaders, we stand together as committed to changing, taking action and supporting each other.”

The statement also said there was a wealth of research and testimony that “unarguably shows that systemic racism exists in the UK and across the globe”.

Khan said it was "incredibly heartening to see so many civil society leaders standing with us" and thanked them for their support.   

“We know our recent blog on white privilege was a difficult read for some but its aim was to equip parents so they feel able to have this important conversation with their children – in an appropriate way," he said.

"Hopefully, by doing so, this will mean the next generation does not have to have the same conversation with their children.

“The path towards anti-racism that many of us are on feels uncomfortable at times, but we believe it’s an important part of our work towards a better future for all children.”

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