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Statement from Peter Fonagy on the murder of George Floyd

A statement from Professor Peter Fonagy, Chief Executive of the Anna Freud Centre, on the murder of George Floyd. 

“George Floyd’s cruel murder brings home to us not just the profound injustice rife in a culture on the other side of the Atlantic but, far closer to home, the continuing social injustices and inequalities across race and culture in our own society. 

“To pretend that the problems of disadvantage, of racism and of difference belongs to others is to allow them to continue unchallenged. Discrimination is totally antithetical to the core values of the Anna Freud Centre and we pledge our solidarity with our BAME colleagues, clients and students. As an organisation committed to ensuring that all infants, children and young people achieve their potential, we must address inequality based on ethnicity and offer support.

“We recognise the unfairness, the pain and anxiety, despair and exasperation in relation to multiple promises that have been made about race and injustice only to have hopes crushed by subsequent failures to act.

“This means that we at the Anna Freud Centre have to look not only to the outside world and call for change, but also to look within our own organisation to understand where we can do better. We can only do this if we move forward together and draw on and learn from the experiences of our staff, students, champions, service users and supporters.

“We are taking this course of action not just because it is right for us as an employer to do so, but also because we want to ensure that we are properly equipped to understand the experiences of the communities we serve and to address the social injustices and inequalities they face.

“Diversity and justice are values of fundamental importance to us and we are committed to investing our efforts into ensuring we are better able to work alongside and learn from black and minority ethnic communities. We have a great deal of work to do and it will take time, but it is right that our process is exhaustive and our actions uncompromising.

“We would also like to extend our thanks to those members of our staff, our valued friends and colleagues, whose courage to speak about their experiences has helped inform us and shape our thinking. Our work starts now.”