COVID-19 has disproportionately affected black people and I’ve had a hard time during the pandemic. I’ve lost family members and I’ve had to leave two jobs over the last year due to unfair, discriminatory treatment.
Both times, I felt really let down by the support I received so I decided if I want to see change, I need to get involved. I didn’t know where to start but when I saw the Organizing for Power course, I knew it was an opportunity to learn new skills to help me bring about change.
Hope and action
I was encouraged to see that many people looked like me on the course. With the Black Lives Matter movement and everything that’s happened over the last year, we know we have to do something. The course has given me hope and it’s given me the means to take action.
I’ve experienced racism at work, but often you can’t prove it; it can be covert, microaggressions or there’s no one to witness it. We need to be given the tools to protect ourselves and the ability to make change happen.
In the course’s weekly sessions, speakers from across the world shared their experiences, and gave us examples of organising. We then went into our online breakout rooms to practise. I found that people felt able to speak up, and be clear, concise and forceful in their message. With the right words, people will listen, and we can advocate for others.
I decided if I want to see change, I need to get involved
Now I’m thinking about other ways the RCN can create opportunities for members to lead and how we can support people to share their stories. We need to break down and dismantle racism, not just in the NHS but across health care.
I’m equally as passionate about raising nursing issues. We’re not going to accept the government’s proposed 1% NHS pay rise – how dare they?
After I was treated badly in the workplace, I became more introverted, timid and worn down. This training can make you feel stronger, bolder, and braver. I heard about so many people from so many different walks of life making changes in their countries and in their organisations. It helped me realise that I can make the changes that I want to see happen.
Picture of Carol by Kate Stanworth, courtesy of The Queen’s Nursing Institute
Organising is an approach to making positive change happen, where you identify the issues, work together, and you and your colleagues bring about solutions on your own terms.
The course Carol attended was the first opportunity to get involved. If you want to see change and to improve nursing and quality of care, sign up to attend our next set of training sessions now and learn the skills of organising. Find out more.