Fund launched to help BAME communities recover from impact of coronavirus

Activists and campaigners of colour have started a fund to help BAME communities recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The group – Resourcing Racial Justice (RRJ) – aims to provide financial support to front-line organisations, grassroots and community groups that are working to reduce the impact of Covid-19 and systemic racism on communities of colour.

It has been widely reported that coronavirus is having a disproportionate impact on ethnic minorities.

The mortality rate has been so high in BAME communities that the government has launched a review to investigate the possible causes.

Of 12,593 patients who died in hospital up to 19 April, 19% were people of colour even though these groups make up only 15% of the general population in England.

Numerous experts and commentators have also said that the high number of minority deaths from coronavirus ‘magnifies the UK’s institutional racism’.

In response to this deadly inequality, Resourcing Racial Justice has been launched to provide support and funding – and they are encouraging organisations, community-led groups and individuals working with communities of colour to apply.

The fund is currently made up of financial contributions from foundations, philanthropic organisations and crowdfunding.

The RRJ aims to help sustain community business and enterprises that have been built by people of colour, to enable organisations to continue their work towards racial justice, and to support the vital services that offer spaces of refuge to communities colour; especially those who experience multiple forms of marginalisation.

‘It’s sadly unsurprising, but very clear that the Covid-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted working-class communities of colour in terms of infections and deaths,’ says Salina Nwulu a founding member of Resourcing Racial Justice.

‘Through every crisis, be it Covid-19 or the climate emergency, people of colour are disproportionately affected because they already experience the blunt end of social inequality.

‘We’re hoping this fund will provide much-needed support to frontline organisations and groups who are working to support those more at risk and vulnerable to Covid-19’

Derek Bardowell, author of No Win Race and philanthropy adviser responds, says the launch of this funding is vital for marginalised communities.

‘We know that nine out of 10 micro and small organisations led by people of colour could potentially close soon,’ says Derek. ‘We know that the pandemic has exposed existing racialised health and economic inequalities.

‘Yet funders have been woefully slow to respond to this evidence.

‘This fund will provide vital support to those working strategically on the front-line and I hope it will be an example to other funders of how best to reach and invest in communities of colour.’

He adds that decisions around where funding should go need to be made by those with a clear understanding of the social issues being tackled.

‘Mainstream British institutions, particularly those serving the public’s needs, are not led or governed by, or even meaningfully engaging the most impacted communities,’ explains Derek.

‘That needs to change. Resourcing Racial Justice’s work is vital. This is far bigger than the sums of money being distributed. It is an attempt to fundamentally shift power dynamics, how resources are allocated and how decisions are made. It is an attempt to fundamentally shift the paradigm.’

The fund aims to get money to the people who need it most during this uncertain time.

The first round of applications for funding open on 18 May.

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