Community Action:MK AGM 2022 

Community Action:MK AGM 2022 

Moving Forward, Stronger Together

This year on 20th October, with lockdown restrictions lifted, we are back with our AGM (Annual General Meeting) in the community at Milton Keynes Christian Centre, Oldbrook, MK6 2TG from 9:30am to 12 midday. 

Our theme this year is ‘Moving Forward, Stronger Together’. There will be guest speakers, refreshments and a light breakfast.

We are delighted that Dr Rima Makarem, Chair of the Bedford, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care System will be joining us as our keynote speaker. Rima will be sharing the exciting plans and vision for the health and social care system in our region, and how it aims to embed the VCSE sector in its work.

We are honoured to be joined by Vice Lord-Lieutenant Alexander Boswell who will give our welcome address and some insights about the importance of the VCSE.   Vice Lord-Lieutenant Alexander Boswell has played an integral role championing the local Voluntary Sector in Buckinghamshire.  

This year’s AGM is a time to look back on what Community Action:MK has achieved from April 2021 to March 2022 and to let you know about our plans for the future. It is also a time to say hello to people we already know and to make new connections. With new challenges ahead we will need to continue to work together to strengthen groups and communities in Milton Keynes.  

In January 2020 we celebrated 40 years of Community Action:MK at MK Discovery Centre and shared our Annual Review Report for our work from April 2018 to March 2019 . This was to be our last in person AGM due to Covid 19 lockdown restrictions. The following two annual reviews were completed virtually. In January 2021 we held our first online virtual AGM with the theme of ‘Togetherness’ and reflected on our work from April 2019 to March 2020. 

In October last year we held our second online AGM with the theme being ‘Many Small Things Make A Big Difference’ and shared our Annual Review Report of our work from April 2020 to March 2021. Our guest speaker was Peta Wilkinson from The Voluntary Sector Alliance and local groups talked about the action they had taken during the lockdown, with many small actions making a big difference. 

We are looking forward to seeing you on 20th October! 

To attend, please book your place via Eventbrite (linked here).

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Uncomfortable Conversations: Racial Justice

Conversations about racial justice can be uncomfortable, but having these conversations can help to empower us to empower others. Hannah Olarewaju, Diversity And Inclusion Consultant for Diversity Marketplace presents training sessions to explore this issue. We attended one of Hannah’s sessions to find out more. 

So what did we find out? During the session we talked about allyship, unconscious bias, gatekeeping and microaggressions, which can result in barriers to inclusion. We discussed the need to embrace diversity and how groups and organisations can do things differently, if needed. People have wide and varied experiences, knowledge and passions, which need to be embraced and valued inorder to create an inclusive environment. 

We can all ‘unlearn’ behaviours, we can share our knowledge with others and become an ally by promoting inclusion consciously inorder to benefit others.  We can create an  inclusive culture and be aware of any assumptions we may have about others and embrace, rather than trivialise, differences. 

So how can we do things differently in order to make experiences better for everybody? We can be more aware of the diversity within our organisations, groups and communities and not make assumptions. We can have relevant conversations and be committed to make the changes we want to see happen. We can ensure that we are proactive rather than reactive during conversations and share knowledge. Allyship refers to being committed to actively promoting inclusion by being intentional, positive and conscious about what we do and how we treat others. 

We need to keep communicating, be ready to learn and treat people as individuals. Individuals need to feel valued and safe to speak and act freely as their authentic selves. Individuals need to feel safe to report discriminatory behaviour and know that they will be listened to and their viewpoint taken seriously and action taken. Organisations and communities need to be progressive and not stuck in ways that can result in individuals feeling excluded and unvalued, with their voices not being heard. 

Systemic discrimination and privilege can result when organisation’s guidelines do not take into account individual differences. When power is not let go this can lead to ‘gatekeeping’, which can prevent individuals and groups from reaching their full potential.

Unconscious bias can develop from experiences as we are growing up which can influence how we relate to others when we are adults. This can result in microaggressions towards others who are different to ourselves. With consistency great changes can happen. 

There are terms that might benefit from looking at. As part of the session we explored associated  terms. Here are some terms that we considered and discussed – 

Racial Abuse – Any form of abuse towards groups and individuals based on ethnicity, race and/or cultural background. 

Organisational Culture There can be hidden behaviours within organisations, as opposed to ones openly stated, which can result in discrimination, particularly when there is a lack of diversity in, for example, the board of directors. 

Non racist Actively not engaging in racism, for example, not getting involved in racist jokes. 

Anti racist – Actively challenging racist behaviour i.e. stopping racist jokes. 

Colour blind – May stem from good intentions but differences may not be seen and racism not challenged. 

Unconscious bias – Unconsciously stereotyping groups or individuals.

Privilege – Benefits accorded to one group over another. 

Fragility – Unable to cope with racism and its impact – either lived or observed.

Allyship – Efforts by groups or individuals to advance the interests of marginalised groups and individuals, both in society and the workplace. 

Microaggressions – Indirect, subtle, or unintentional discrimination against members of a marginalised group, such as a racial or ethnic minority. 

Gatekeeping – The activity of controlling, and usually limiting, general access to something. 

If you would like to find out more about racial justice here is some additional reading –

Race, equality And Justice In The Charity Sector By The Joseph Rowntree Foundation

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