Allyship | Making NHS whites strong allies for racial justice

Listen. Learn and Act say Black health advocates

By Thomas L Blair 29 June 2020 ©

Cherron Inko-Tariah

Let’s face it. There are two viruses on the necks of Black people: Covid-19 and white privileged racism, said Cherron Inko-Tariah MBE presenter of the Nigerian Nurses Charitable Association webinar. And the solutions must include harnessing “the Power of White Allies” walking beside us to tackle both problems, she adds.

Clearly, this is a powerful message for change in the National Health Service health and safety regulators, professional bodies and UNISON, the public service union.

Three experts echoed Ms Inko-Taria’s refreshing optimism. “White allies must “relentlessly focus on compassionate leadership” said Professor Oliver Shanley expert in quality standards and workforce safety.  “Check you don’t make decisions based on your own biases” said John Brouder CEO   North East London Foundation and champion of inclusivity in the trust. “Listen, Learn and serve others not self”, said Samantha Allen Chief Executive of Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation a seasoned leader in mental health and care services.

Kani Kamara/Photo Fergus Burnett

And we have discovered another brave initiative. Trendsetting Kani Kamara and colleagues aim to purge white privilege at Imperial College London. Her co-authored report as Head of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Centre (EDIC) sends a powerful message. Advantaged staff and leadership whites must use their power to deconstruct white privilege in the college workforce.

However, they must first accept four principles on “How to be a White Ally” to mark their transition from neophytes to full participants.

“Acknowledge your white privilege: Understand that you have white privilege and think about how you can use this privilege to make change and educate others in your workplace and community.

Listen to what Black people are saying. Ask your Black friends and colleagues and ask what you can do to support them.

Boost the voices of Black people on social media
: Share threads/posts with donation links and resources. If you have found a book, article or any other kind of resource particularly helpful as a white ally, we can add it to this page to share with our Imperial community.

Educate yourself: Do not ask or expect Black people to educate you. Read books, especially nonfiction books, by Black authors. Buy them from independent bookshops or borrow them from your library. Follow the accounts of Black activists. A good place to start is the coalition of UK Black Lives Matter activists”.

Collect and Use the Necessary Tools and Information
British Library – BAME Staff Network

Racism concerns all of us: Anti-racism resources and ways to support racial justice Members of the BAME network write: Racism concerns all of us. Together we all make our society what it is, and each of us can help to make lasting change.

In the words of Angela Davis, ‘It is not enough to be not racist, you must actively be antiracist’. This collection of resources has been created by members of the BAME network and other colleagues. In particular, white members of the network wanted to create this to share with their fellow white colleagues.

It shows ways that white people can support the Black Lives Matter movement through both action and education, and not leave anti-racism work solely to people of colour.

  • Introduction • Sign petitions and lobby MPs • Donate to funds and support anti-racism organisations • UK-based charities and organisations dedicated to fighting racism and racial justice • Read, watch and listen • Free online resources and articles • Books (non-fiction) • Books (fiction) • Film/Netflix • Podcasts

Significantly, the evidence shows that intrepid Black women – nurses, care workers  and professionals and others — have offered a healing balm to racially unhealthy institutions and leaders. And in doing so have defined the action tasks of white allies.


Nigerian Nurses Charity Association


Imperial College

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FURTHER RESOURCES and links for you to explore

@ukblm Twitter account,


UK charities Runnymede Trust
Runnymede, a race equality think-tank

Race on the Agenda
Race on the Agenda, a social policy think-tank

Operation Black Vote
Operation Black Vote tackles the Black democratic deficit

StopWatch UK
StopWatch UK works to ensure fair and accountable policing

Institute for Fiscal Studies – reports from the Deaton Review of Inequalities

Hansard debate on COVID-19: BAME Communities at

British Library Global and Business Management

Workforce Race Equality Standard 2019 report