Racism, and any other form of discrimination, has no place at the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund and no place in our society. The brutal death of George Floyd has shone a spotlight on racism and inequality around the world and it is timely for me to share my commitment to Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion in my role as CEO/Controller at the Fund.
Acknowledging issues of inequality are uncomfortable for many and recent events have prompted reflection throughout the UK; the charity sector is not immune.
The Fund must be transparent and accountable to our community about our approach to Diversity and Inclusion. Diversity, both visible and invisible, broadens our insight, develops a richer understanding of the world we live in and will help us tackle the challenges that lie ahead.
By lifting the voices of our diverse community, I can and will set the right example within our organisation.
It is my responsibility to ensure that everyone that works for, or with us, feels valued and included for who they are and what they bring to the Fund.
The wellbeing of staff is my highest priority and I am committed to look after our team. I am also committed to continue the work of developing the diverse and talented people we have in the Fund and to ensure that everyone feels valued and respected for who they are.
Everyone's skills, intellect, perspective, and cultural heritage supports our diversity and enables us to overcome the pervasive inequalities in our society.
We need role models and advocacy for minority groups and where it exists, we should use our privilege to be part of the solution to take action to support those around us.
The priority for inclusion must be on creating an environment where different lived experiences and backgrounds are valued as assets to our teams and organisation. Cultivating a continuous dialog as part of the DNA of our routine work will enable us to foster a positive approach to working with each other and our stakeholders.
It is a fundamental element of everything we do, every action and decision we take. I am asking us all to have the moral courage to speak up if you see or feel something that does not meet the values, standards, and inclusive behaviours we would expect personally or professionally in our work across the Fund.
The best piece of advice I was given early on in my career is to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes (no matter how uncomfortable this may be).
This approach has helped me learn, appreciate different perspectives, understand the cumulative effect of the discrimination (intended or otherwise) and bias (conscious or unconscious) on people's lives.
We must be the best we can be to support the Royal Air Force Family and we must nurture our attributes and characteristics if we are to succeed.
By AVM Chris Elliot, Controller of the RAF Benevolent Fund