On 24 June, Hayley Ramsay-Jones of SGI joined the virtual launch event of WCAPS-UK, the UK branch of the Women of Color Advancing Peace and Security, as a panelist. WCAPS was created three years ago in the United States and aims to advance the leadership and professional development of women of color in the fields of international policy-making, disarmament, peace, security, and conflict transformation.
The event started with introductory remarks by Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins, Founder and Executive Director of WCAPS, and Anuradha Damale, Director of WCAPS-UK.
Ramsay-Jones spoke about racism and intersectionality in weapons systems – especially nuclear weapons and killer robots – and in international policy making, drawing from papers she has written, namely “A Social Injustice – Race, Gender and Nuclear Weapons” and “Intersectionality and Racism” (Campaign to Stop Killer Robots Campaigner’s Kit, pp. 26-31). She discussed how these weapons came to be, how they have been used (in the case of nuclear weapons) and how they could potentially be used (in the case of killer robots). Her presentation also explored how different weapons systems uphold racist structures and could further exacerbate discriminatory and damaging impact.
The panel included three other speakers. Punam Yadav, Research Fellow in Gender and Disasters in the Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction, University College London, spoke about implementation of the National Action Plan of the UN Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 1820 in Nepal. Warsan Cismaan Saalax, Chair of the British Somali Association and clinical psychologist, spoke about the mental and psychological consequences of racism on affected individuals and communities. Finally, Linda Goler Blound, President and CEO of the Black Women’s Health Imperative (U.S.), discussed how higher death and illness rates in certain communities more than others are linked to the issues of wider inequalities such as poverty, rather than race biology.
The event was chaired by Mélina Villeneuve, a member of the WCAPS-UK board. It was attended by over 100 participants.[Photo Credit: WCAPS-UK]