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Maya Bharal: Why the Race Equality Foundation?

Maya Bharal

I’m pleased to be joining the Race Equality Foundation as a Research Administrator. A little bit about me…

Before joining, I completed an undergraduate degree in English Literature and American Studies at the University of Manchester (2020), and then completed the GDL Law Conversion course in 2021 – all during the pandemic! My areas of study have given me strong foundations in literature, written communication, critical thinking, and race theory. I’ve been committed to a lot of volunteer work surrounding social justice and inequality, including: period poverty in Greater Manchester, sexual violence and harrassment at university, and educating secondary school children on human rights. 

I was particularly drawn to working with the Race Equality Foundation as throughout my degree and life, I have grown to understand the ways in which race continues to structure society. I am eager to make a positive change and contribution in educating people about race inequality, and I feel strongly about the vital importance of policy and advocacy work in catalysing change. In the past year and within a post-Brexit climate more generally, I have seen conversations around race unfortunately become increasingly more hostile and negative. The very recent issues surrounding migration and asylum-seekers have demonstrated the vital need for allyship, social inclusion, and human rights in light of racial equality. 

The work done by the Race Equality Foundation is extremely important as we not only advocate for change through policy-making, but also get involved at a local level. The Strengthening Families Strengthening Communities (SFSC) parenting programme is a great example of this, as it is an accessible programme that allows for reflection as well as shared knowledge and experience. I also think that following the health inequalities exacerbated by Covid-19, the Race Equality Foundation’s ground-breaking work on health and care is vitally important. 

Recently, you may have seen a viral image created by Black medical student Chidiebere Ibe. The image depicted an illustration of a Black foetus and created an extremely positive response from people on social media. Images such as these in medical literature are extremely important, as they are usually depicted on White bodies and this disconnect can have implications for the real-life healthcare experiences and outcomes of people from Black and minority ethnic backgrounds. This recent example demonstrates the importance of representation in health and social care for Black, Asian and ethnic minority groups, and only makes me more excited to be working with the Race Equality Foundation and helping to contribute to this change. 

I have just started working on a project that will be exploring the health inequalities suffered by Black, Asian and minority ethnic learning disabled people in regards to annual health checks. I am looking forward to seeing what further achievements will be made by the Race Equality Foundation in 2022 and being a part of them.

Maya Bharal, Research Administrator at the Race Equality Foundation