Blog Post: Introducing Sutton’s Anti-Racist Practice Lead
By Nashan Wilson, Anti-Racist Practice Lead for London Borough of Sutton.
Hi – Im Nash, the Anti-Racist Practice Lead for the London Borough of Sutton Children Services (LBS).
Who am I?
Like you, I am probably more than one thing but if I had to narrow it down, hmmm…First and foremost, I am an adopted ‘Suttonite’ as this is where my wife grew up and her immediate family still lives.
From ‘my first day at work picture’ my wife forced me to take, below, you can see, I am black and I love being black. That being said, the colour of my skin has been and continues to be racialized, as it has been for other members of our community for centuries. Hence, from a personal perspective my anti-racism journey began from birth, if not before, because race is something I thought about as a child and my parents were cognizant of before I came to being. My skin colour has shaped my experience and understanding of racism, discrimination, equality, diversity and inclusion.
I am a social worker. My professional anti-racism journey began when I studied and qualified as a social worker. Upon graduation (2016), I worked in a child protection locality team with Derby City Council, which served an ethnically diverse community.
I am an avid football fan. I have a huge passion for football and took advantage of an opportunity to work with The Football Association (The FA) in 2018. At The FA my role included responsibility for not only safeguarding but equality, diversity and inclusion. A large focus of this was designing and implementing an anti-racism action plan. A key element of which you may have heard of, in particular if you are a football egghead or follow football news, which is the Football Leadership Diversity Code.
Why am I here?
There is recognition by the LBS that we can improve as an anti-racist organisation both internally (workforce and culture) and externally (practice/service we deliver to children and young people and our relationships with the local Sutton community and partners). This is a concrete, bold and courageous step. Within teaching and education itself there has been a call to ‘decolonise education’, re-examine the potential ‘white-washing’ of education and create space for diverse education which was once marginalised, ignored or silenced. This cannot continue. Not only because it is the right thing to do but there is more and more data reinforcing the conclusion that organisations who value and embody diversity are more successful and outperform their counterparts by any metric.
What is next?
There will be changes across LBS Children Services to support us being an anti-racist department and delivering anti-racist social work. These changes will likely come under our Anti-Racism Action Plan hopefully launching in April this year, which includes things like reviewing our recruitment practices or tailored Anti-Racism training for our staff. I hope to also share learning with our partners, so that our collective efforts can make a tangible difference. Education is a key tool in eliminating racial discrimination and therefore I and LBS hope to work closely with the Teaching Partnership, and to be an anti-racist friend who can be leaned on.
Race did not lead to racism. The opposite is true, racism (that is, exploitation of non-Europeans by European colonizers) is what led to the concept of race. I am a proud black person but we are all one race, the human race, and we must actively fight against those who wish to oppress and discriminate others based on skin colour, religion, nationality, ethnicity.
For those with keen eyes, you may have noticed that I have used the words like ‘journey’, ‘us’ and ‘we’ several times, this was deliberate. Because as the African proverb says, ‘if you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together’. I am excited to be on this journey with you all and looking forward to our work ahead. I am confident we can make a significant impact and ensure our anti-racism work is effective.
If you want to know more about me or my job please contact me using these details: