I think I’m woke.
Actually, I’m pretty sure I’m woke.
I’ve got a fine barometer for social injustice, I try to be sensitive to social issues as they emerge and morph, and I believe in social justice and equality and diversity – which are often used as indicators when woke is used in a pejorative sense.
To be quite honest – I’m proud to be woke, and I wear my wokefulness like a badge of courage, particularly now when there is a coordinated attack on so many of the things I have believed in for decades and still believe in, including social justice and equality and diversity.
I’m also pretty sure that I work in a woke charity.
METRO Charity, the charity I have led for the past 7 years and worked at for the last 17 years, acknowledges and celebrates the power of difference.
We celebrate our black and minority ethnic staff and volunteers and service users.
We embrace our trans staff and volunteers and service users.
We support and advocate for and stand with people experiencing mental health issues, with disabled people, with people living with HIV, with young people and with all people along the sexual orientation and gender identity spectrum.
We want to create spaces for people to be their unique selves, to enable access that is truly inclusive, and as we celebrate difference, to allow people to differentiate themselves – to find their voice and to use it. As a charity, we don’t cancel, we enable.
For me, as the CEO of METRO Charity, being woke is being aware – and being aware is being open to and sensitive to change, and to other people’s experiences of the world, and that includes their experiences of oppression and inequality and injustice.
As a charity, our staff and our volunteers and our service users know that deep structural and systemic racism, and homophobia, biphobia and transphobia, and ageism and ableism and misogyny exist – and that accompanying stigmas and discrimination are real – and we remain absolutely committed, in our wokefulness, to addressing them.