Loading...
Equalities Alliance2016-12-20T22:55:50+00:00

Equality is fundamental to Reading’s success as a diverse, multicultural and cohesive town. We see Equality as a golden thread running through everything we do: from the Reading in 2030 vision of celebration of the rich diversity of communities across the town, greater equality and inclusion across our communities and a broad, diverse, inclusive cultural life.

About The Equalities Alliance

The Equalities Alliance (EA) is a community led Board which is supported by the Alliance for Cohesion and Racial Equality (Acre) to establish its own priorities and outcomes:

  • A pan-equalities communication channel between protected strand communities and statutory service providers
  • A leading body in pan-equalities expertise
  • A support network for signposting individuals to public services and representative community organisations.
  • A platform for information sharing
  • Advocates of diversity and cohesion

Objectives of The Equalities Alliance

Our key objectives are to:

  • Celebrate diversity and ensure strong communities
  • Challenge discrimination and hate crime
  • Enhance life chances
  • Equality in employment
  • Make equality and inclusion part of everything we do

Concept of The Equalities Alliance

What The Equalities Alliance will deliver

Based on its objectives, The Equalities Alliance has a set number of deliverables, including: 

  • Establish the Hate Crime Forum.
  • Develop a programme to encourage dialogue and partnership working, understanding and cooperation between the different protected characteristics.
  • Coordinate a programme of responding to myths and stereotypes on equality and community.
  • Spearhead a campaign to raise the profile of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Reading and formation of the Reading Rose Clinic.
  • Organised 2nd Annual Equalities Conference and 2nd Integrated Hate Crime Vigil.

Emerging Themes

7 Emergent Themes icon

Hate Crime Forum 

Hate Crime is an issue that transcends strands and communities.  it happens throughout numerous communities and to individuals from all walks of life.  Among the key objectives of the Hate Crime Forum is to work in partnership with the Community Based Crime Delivery Group, which has responsibility of developing, implementing and monitoring the Hate Crime Strategy of the Safer Reading Partnership.

Organisations participating the Hate Crime Forum will be trained to encourage reporting, act as Third Party Reporting Centres, and be able to provide initial support to victims as their complaints are channelled to the appropriate authorities.

Equalities Alliance Hate Crime Forum – is a community led initiative designed to facilitate dialogue between victims of Hate Crime, voluntary or community organisations that support them, and the ‘Safer Reading – Community Safety Partnership’ which includes Thames Valley Police, Reading Borough Council and other statutory agencies with enforcement powers.

Working Together

Collaboration amongst representatives and members of The Equalities Alliance is essential and pivotal to the success of the initiative.  The focus of The Equalities Alliance and its work is to discover and build upon commonalities and empathy for groups and individuals tribulations and work towards equality for all holistically.

Community cohesion is fostered by opportunities to meet with different groups, talk and learn about other groups and cultures.  Events are great facilitators of community cohesion.  The Reading Half Marathon and Reading Carnival are great examples of events that encourage community bonding.  It is also enhanced by opportunities to meet and chat, and by dispelling myths ans stereotypes, raising public awareness and knowledge of local equality issues, signposting and by creating positive local news stories.

Awareness and Education

Across the spectrum, there seems to be a general lack of public awareness of equality issues, of existing local provisions, and of a need to challenge common assumptions that, due to legislation, equality has been achieved.  A common misconception is that equality equals race or gender equality only.

There is a need to educate the public and promote understanding between the nine characteristics of equality, for example through reinforcing positive narratives, and countering the increasing acceptability of derogatory slang language and political correctness backlash.  Raising public awareness and knowledge of diversity and equality ties in with the need to challenge negative stereotypes and dispel myths.

Stereotyping and Unconscious Bias

A rising acceptability of negative stereotypes and narratives have not been challenged partly due to lack of funding and support in the community.  The Equalities Alliance can speak with authority, question the acceptance of negative stereotypes, provide examples which quash these assumptions and offer alternative positive portrayals of groups and individuals affected, and also publish testimonials and evidence of how negative stereotypes can affect those who are subjected to it.

We launched the #SeeMe campaign, in a bid to visually highlight how far from the truth stereotypes can be. #SeeMe aims to highlight obvious stereotypes based on protected strands, but also how more subtle differences such as your hair colour, your employment status, your postcode, political identity or level of education can engender discrimination.

Human Trafficking, Modern Day Slavery, FGM

With the diverse makeup of Reading, also come some under the radar endemic human rights abuses and exploitation of vulnerable people.  In a police raid of two Reading brothels, eleven foreign women were found, believed to have been trafficked for sexual exploitation.  It is not only foreign citizens who are trafficked, UK citizens are also targeted and trafficked in Berkshire.  Last year 25 women were released from modern day slavery and forced labour.  There is an urgent need for raising awareness of this complex problem among the local and business community.  A third of all injury assaults in the Thames Valley are made up of domestic abuse victims, honour based violence and coercive control.

It is of the utmost importance for The Equalities Alliance to create a dialogue around these grave human rights abuses, giving a voice to those who don’t have one, and apply pressure on decision makers to address these issues.

Develop Your Skills and Knowledge

The Equalities Alliance aims to provide training in diversity and awareness of the nine equality characteristics. We can promote and broker training offered by partners of The Equalities Alliance to local service providers. Examples include:

  • Introduction to Safeguarding delivered by Reading Children and Voluntary Youth Services (RCVYS)
  • The Hate Crime Strategy promoted by the Community Crime Group.

The Equalities Alliance can create bespoke training offers for local businesses, front line public service providers, and key stakeholders in the community. This training will offer expertise with specific local insight that could prove a competitive alternative to expensive corporate training.

Celebrate Reading’s Year of Culture

There are plenty of events representing the diverse communities in Reading to celebrate.  Others that are not happening can be rejuvenated:

  • Think creatively about sharing venues, and opportunities for pan-equality discussions
  • Know your neighbour – a pan-equality event to celebrate and promote all the different characteristics of equality
  • 2016 Reading’s Year of Culture –  this is a great opportunity to showcase the wealth of customs, traditions, ethnicities and culture which is the fabric of The Equalities Alliance

Ted talk by Chimamanda Adichie

Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice — and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.

TedxBrixton talk by Minna Salami

In this talk, Minna Salami shares images of women from around the world, highlighting how out of touch the stereotypes are from reality. She tells powerful stories of her diverse grandmothers whose lives have shaped hers and of how images of African women in the West do not represent the experiences of her own friends and family. And how, very simply, African women like the same things as women everywhere.

The Nine Protected Characteristics

9 Protetced Chars

Supporting Victims of Hate Crimes

Hate Crime

The Equalities Alliance partnered with the LGBT community to widen the scope of their vigil to all communities affected by hate crime in Reading.  Attendance increased 300%!

The vigil went from being an LGBT event to include all protected characteristics, uniting to stand together locally against hate.  Representation spanned race, religion,LGBT, gender and disability.

Supporting Survivors and Females at Risk

11951624_1598372087094008_3021565685542325997_oThe Department of Health listed Reading as one of 11 hot spots for FGM in the UK.  We supported two conferences on FGM, attracting 150 participants.  

The conferences focused on raising awareness and education on the serious and varied repercussions of the practice.  The speakers discussed medical, religious, psychological, secondary impact on immigration, as well as social impacts of FGM to highlight the complex ramifications of the practice and the need for a coordinated, multi-agency strategy to tackle it.  

The inclusion of men is of significant importance to get their support and buy-in to tackle the problem of FGM.

Equality Vs Stereotypes and Labels

920869_1653041638293719_3937924668257915453_oThe first inaugural pan-equality conference was held in March 2015 when the topic of the event was Equality Versus Stereotypes.

A distinctive line up of speakers spoke on the theme of stereotypes and how they can be divisive and undermine equality for all, and why they are still reinforced by political spin and mainstream media.  And yet research shows that diversity increases well-being, cohesion – at at both community and national societal levels – right up to creating a stronger economy!

The second Pan-Equality conference was held in March of 2016 with a focus on labelling of others based on one’s prejudices, outward impression of people and one unconscious bias.

#SeeMe Campaigm

11118114_1554249528172931_8924530199393907334_oAt our inaugural conference we considered the theme of stereotypes and how they can be divisive and undermine equality for all.  

We launched the #SeeMe campaign, in a bid to visually highlight how far from the truth stereotypes can be.  #SeeMe aims to highlight the obvious stereotypes based on protected characteristics, but also how more subtle differences such as your hair colour, your employment status, your postcode, political identity or even your level of education can engender discrimination. 

#SeeMe

Sharing the Love Over the Airwaves

August Int Youth DayAcre hosts a regular slot on the Community Matters programme on Radio Blast 1386 FM Radio station based at Reading College.  We broadcast Acre’s monthly activities and diversity in Reading.

On the programme we showcase local equality projects and community events.  Past broadcasts have focused on:

  • Hidden Voices, a joint initiative between Reading Museum and Support U highlighting what life was like for Reading’s LGBT community before the internet age;
  • Reading Holocaust memorial Day;
  • Human Trafficking Awareness Day;
  • Acre’s FGM engagement and events;
  • Acre and Utilivu International Women’s Day event at the Houses of Parliament;
  • The Equalities Alliance Inaugural Conference.  

Why not tune in on the first Tuesday of every month at midday to listen to a full line up of guests talking about matters of Equality?

0+
EA Partners
0%
Increase in Hate Crime
0
Pan-Equality Conferences
0+
Radio shows per year

Feedback from Conference Attendees

“Through learning / interaction bias can be eliminated!”

“The equality agenda has changed – one of the last bastions transgender.”

“Remove my stereotypes!”

“Cannot ensure equality for yourself without securing equality for all.”

“Must do self-analysis now I understand unconscious bias and stop generalisation.”

“Inequality is still here!”

“Awareness of unconscious bias and its impact on thoughts and behaviour.”

“Accepting that we all have stereotypes.”

“Beware of own bias. Change behaviour, not people!”

“Inequality is entrenched. We need to break down barriers!”

“The impact of income inequality on the overall equality agenda.”

“We are all more similar than we are different!”

“Inequality is still here!”

“I can see now how it is so easy to make a judgemental unconscious bias… must make an effort to consciously check myself to avoid such a mistake.”

“Awareness of unconscious bias and its impact on thoughts and behaviour.”

“Accepting that we all have stereotypes.”

“Inequality is entrenched. We need to break down barriers!”

Gallery

The Equalities Alliance’s Partners