RECLAIM: Solidarity with Lisa Cherry
The seeds for RECLAIM were planted in November 2020 when a group of care-experienced people and a non care-experienced ally met to talk about building an intergenerational community – for care experienced people, by care experienced people. What drew us together was our belief in the healing power of community, connection and mutual recognition that we have our own voices and are unbelievably powerful. Together we are a force to shape our future and meaningful change for Care Experienced people between and across our generations. We recognise our strength is not only beautiful on an individual level, but as a community and our growing felt sense of solidarity as a community is an experience many Care Experienced people do not experience. We want to change that. You can read more about that in our manifesto.
#SolidarityNotCharity was our first campaign beginning the growth of those early RECLAIM seeds. Each member of RECLAIM had experiences and stories to tell of charities, local authorities and support organisations claiming to ‘listen to us’, to ‘hear our voices’ and to ‘speak for us’ about OUR experience. These campaigns are often approached extractively to elicit ‘a story’ – whether it’s a success story or a trauma story. Participation is often tokenistic, asking for our stories in campaigns, and undervaluing our time and skills as professionals that is exploitative, and can trigger and cause harm where the lack of trauma responsive practice is lacking to ensure appropriate care for care experienced people.
In mutual recognition RECLAIM wish to express our solidarity with Lisa Cherry in sharing and calling out the recent harm she experienced by a large care experienced charity organisation who support care experienced young people. During these first nine months the of our journey the RECLAIM collective have listened to many examples of harm experienced by care experienced people of all ages and backgrounds. We stand shoulder to shoulder with Lisa to say enough is enough, this needs to stop. We speak for ourselves. Care experienced people need to be enabled to genuinely shape campaigns, practice, policy and what care means.
On Monday evening we met with Lisa to share our experiences and care for each other as a genuine community of care. It is time for us as a community to RECLAIM Care together. Over the coming months RECLAIM will focus our community working collectively on initiatives and campaigns to ensure this vision. We invite you to join us on our intergenerational community journey of mutual care, support and meaningful change for Care Experienced people. We are here to support, care for and ensure our voices are at the forefront of imagining change together.