In light of recent events and in response to existing in a majority-led space, Cysters has decided to create and publish a POWER LIST of chronically ill people of colour. We decided to feature race specifically, as brown and black advocates are rarely given the same levels of representation, inclusion or care as their white counterparts. We are actively trying to dispel the myth around us being ‘hard to reach’ or ‘unresponsive’ when it comes to recruitment for campaigns and opportunities for visibility. We hope that future organisations will refer to this list when it comes to including us within campaigns, and we urge that, where possible, people of colour are paid for their contributions to this space. Lived experience is a tool that majority-led organisations don’t have and should be paying to access.

We decided to shine a light on the amazing work that is done within our communities, we are tired of being excluded. That’s why this year, Cysters will be highlighting our first Chronic illness power list, consisting of people who have raised their voice, spread awareness despite their challenges and are representations of our community that deserve space. With this list, we hope that more campaigns will be able to spotlight people of colour.

We’re asking advocates to self nominate themselves. Confidence and authority can be a real problem for chronically ill brown and black people, who lack the same opportunities for exposure. We are conditioned from birth to believe that our voices aren’t important. We are raised to be secondary characters within our own stories. You can also nominate other people in the space that we may not have heard or seen but powerful and have a story to be told. Cysters is a platform for all of us to be heard, where we don’t focus on a select few but try to uplift the community as a whole. We understand that collective action is more important than individual gain. We want to take this opportunity to showcase 100 different people that are doing incredible work in this space: through raising awareness, uplifting and creating space for other people whilst navigating what it means to be a chronically ill black or brown person in a rich, straight, able-bodied, cisgender white man’s world.

Please share this with the relevant people so we can access people that we wouldn’t usually see. Privilege ensures that only certain voices are heard, and that includes us too – if you’re heard in this space, you hold some form of privilege in one way or another. We’d like to ensure that other voices are heard, too.

We’re giving a 4-week deadline in terms of applying. After the deadline, there will be a selection process. We remind anyone applying that they have to be representative of Cysters and what we represent:

Ensuring that the “other” is spotlighted within media, society and healthcare.

Intersectional approach – we are not here to centre the majority.

There will be a future campaign for our allies and supporters, but this is specifically to create space for advocates of colour. Please don’t apply unless you are a person of colour.

We believe in equality and creating space for people who are marginalised or more marginalised than ourselves. We don’t tolerate any kind of discriminatory behaviour, and to be specific: racism, misogyny, transphobia, homophobia, ableism (and any of the other phobias or isms).

We aren’t here to centre ignorant views or to expose anyone in Cysters, or the wider space, to harm. 

We look forward to hearing from you <3

Nominate yourselves here.

Deadline 10th August 2021