UK Ambulance Services: George Floyd’s death must be a catalyst for genuine change

The Managing Director of the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE) Martin Flaherty OBE, has conveyed the pain and sadness that staff across UK ambulance services are feeling following the death of George Floyd in the USA on 25 May 2020.

Mr Flaherty said:

The anger, shock and grief that has been felt across the world following George’s death is mirrored across the workforce of our member ambulance services and must be used as a catalyst for genuine change in the fight to eradicate racism.

Our ambulance staff are proud to serve the rich and diverse communities that make up the United Kingdom and in turn, as employers, we are extremely proud of our black and ethnic minority staff members and stand firm in support of them at this difficult time.

Tasnim Ali, Chairperson on behalf of the National Ambulance BME Forum (NABMEF) said:

Since the death of George Floyd last week, millions across the globe are taking part in protests and supporting the #BLM movement. The sad thing is that this is not a new issue, this is part of what has been a systematic racial problem for centuries and it is a global problem, not just a problem in the USA.

We recognise the personal impact and emotional turmoil that this is having on our black colleagues and volunteers, and we acknowledge that there are people in all our trusts who are hurting. The pain that is felt by black people around the globe is palpable.

We as the National Ambulance BME Forum stand with our black colleagues and will continue to drive towards eradicating racism. Our focus as a BME forum is to champion and raise awareness on issues around race. Racism has no place in our society.

It is not enough just to be not racist; we also have to be actively anti-racist. We do not want to move backwards in all the good work we have done so far in terms of race equality by staying silent.  Let us use this as an opportunity to be better and do better going forward. Ask your black colleagues, “are you ok?”

Right now, our black colleagues feel tired and having allies is more crucial than ever. It’s okay if you feel uncomfortable let’s get talking, let’s have the conversation. This is not a black vs white matter. This is an everyone vs racism matter.

NABMEF has produced an excellent resource to help colleagues find how they can support their BME colleagues and the Black Lives Matter movement which can be accessed here.

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