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Statement on Black Lives Matter from DR UK CEO Kamran Mallick

10 June 2020

From its inception, Disability Rights UK has been strongly committed to the principles of human rights and equal rights.

We have watched the rise of the Black Lives Matter protests in the past week and stand firm with the intention of those protesting. We stand with those who say: no more. No more to the inequalities which divide our society. No more to the lack of opportunities afforded to those who make up the minorities which make our society so richly diverse. No more to the lack of accessibility, in attitude as well as physical environment, which stops people from living the full and fulfilled lives they need and choose to live.

We know that globally, a quarter of black people are disabled compared to one in five white people.

We know that disabled adults from black British ethnic backgrounds face more barriers to accessibility than all other ethnic groups – including to education, to employment and to leisure facilities.

We know that black disabled people have the most trouble accessing the support services they need, resulting in poorer life outcomes across the board.

We are not ok with this.

We are not ok with disabled black people being less visible, less heard and less represented in society.

We are not ok with these demographics being invisible in real life, and also in the data that government collates through the Office for National Statistics.

We are not ok that it’s so hard to dig out data on people who live their lives with the intersectionality of ethnicity and disability, in order to track the lack of progress and change in society over years.

Black people have endured less opportunity, more oppression, a denial of rights, the fruits of ignorance, and the outcomes of hatred, both overt and covert, both personal and institutional, for too long.

Disabled people have endured the same.

Personally, Black Lives Matter is an issue close to my heart. As a disabled man, born in Pakistan, I have experienced both racism and ableism.

When I took over as CEO of DR UK, I made it my mission to include more people of colour here – especially at board level. We have made significant progress in achieving this but there is more to do.

As an organisation, we employ a diverse workforce, with a third of our operational workforce coming from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, a fifth of our trustees, and a quarter of our ambassadors.

We are acutely aware of the strength needed by people who have to deal with the double-burden of ableism and racism in society. And we work hard to be and provide a part of that strength and resource.

We are committed to providing, promoting and partnering our services within BAME communities.

We are committed to giving platforms to BAME disabled people. We are committed to listening to BAME disabled people. We are committed to employing and working with BAME disabled people. And we are committed to an understanding of inclusion that includes the lived experience of BAME disabled people.

We are committed to lobbying government to publish more transparent data on disability, with greater segmentation detail about ethnic groups, which is easy to find, monitor, and use to improve national outcomes for BAME disabled people.

Our whole organisation is committed to achieving these things.

I would like to hear your thoughts on how we can become a more inclusive organisation. You can email me at tellus@disabilityrightsuk.org.

To those expressing their pain, frustration, fear, and hope for change, we hear you, and we are with you.