Black Inclusion Week - Duane Phillips
Black Inclusion Week is a celebration of Black people in the UK and an opportunity to remember the importance of building a fair and just society through the inclusion of everyone.
As part of the week, we are featuring a number of contributions from local people, who share about their proudest achievement, how they have promoted inclusion, the impact of their work, the advice they would give to others and their commitment to 'being the change'.
In this article, we feature Duane Phillips, a support worker for the Turning Point service at Walsall Children's Services.
What is your proudest achievement?
My obvious achievement would be being a father to my daughter, more recently, my proudest achievement is getting into university to complete my social work degree, because where I grew up university was never on the horizon or encouraged so although I’m late starting, I’m proud that I am good enough to get my degree.
What are some of the ways you have promoted inclusion in your community?
I believe I have done this in a number of ways. I have been involved in setting up groups for fathers where they could have quality time with their children, meet other fathers and create their own community and offer support to other new members. I also worked with local places of worship to promote similar groups which led to a local father completing a qualification in childcare and then taking over the group when I left.
How would you describe the impact your work has had in your community?
I believe I have contributed to changing stereotypes for not only fathers but for men working in safeguarding, which is undersubscribed by men. Since starting my degree, I have been able to create content for other members of the community and been fortunate to be invited to speak at events for Black History Month, decolonising the curriculum webinar and Siobhan Macleans Student Connect webinar series.
What is your advice for those who want to empower and connect with their communities?
I think the first thing to do is find out what is already available to see either how you can support or bring new ideas to your community. Most people are going to be so grateful to have someone interested and passionate about the same thing they working toward. Speak with community leaders in your local authority and connect with them, where possible! Sometimes the journey can be difficult, but always hold on to the reasons you wanted to create positive change/impact and hold on to that!
What is your commitment to ‘being the change’?
To treat the career and myself I am passionate about with uttermost respect and love. To challenge discrimination in all its forms. To be proud that personal growth develops sustainable change for my family, friends and community.