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BASW Chair blog: Inclusion Week 2020

Gerry Nosowska blogs on BASW's inclusion work during National Inclusion Week...

Each one, Reach one

Our social work Code of Ethics says that we should treat each person as a whole – recognising all aspects of their life.

Inclusion is about that feeling of being whole and of being completely yourself. It is also about BASW feeling like a whole, a home for all social workers. We know that this is a work in progress.

To make BASW inclusive, those of us who are already involved need to act. In her About Race podcast, Reni Eddo-Lodge talks about the question that comes from white people (like me) about what can I do to help? She says each person needs to think about where their influence lies.

The Guide to Allyship says that to be an ally is to:

  1. Take on the struggle as your own
  2. Transfer the benefits of your privilege
  3. Amplify voices of the oppressed
  4. Acknowledge that even though you feel pain, the conversation is not about you
  5. Stand up, even when you feel scared
  6. Own your mistakes and de-center yourself
  7. Understand that your education is up to you

In BASW we are trying to:

  • Take on the struggle by setting equality, diversity and inclusion standards
  • Transfer benefit by mentoring and supporting people to take up roles, and changing our language and activities to address structural biases
  • Amplify voices by setting up an Advisory Group of members who have expertise and are not heard enough.

The Group has advised BASW about how we can better support staff from minority groups for example through our staff risk assessment guide, engage more widely and share learning for example through our events and resources, and speak up against oppression in our human rights campaigning.

National Inclusion Week encourages us to make connections (Each one, reach one), have conversations, really listen and learn, and support each other’s understanding.

As we have those conversations, listen and acknowledge where we need to change, we can build on social work’s commitment to fighting oppression to create an increasingly inclusive BASW where everyone feels at home.