The Emerging Leaders Advocacy project was created as a result of young BAME leaders within the Ubele network wanting to understand the reasons Covid 19 is having such a vast and disproportionate impact on BAME communities. A conversation was organised by our Director, Michael Hamilton, bringing together the young emerging leaders. It was here that the idea for the ‘Emerging Leaders Advocacy project’ was conceived and #WeNeedAnswers campaign was formed.
Data shows that BAME people have been most affected by Covid 19 in the UK, they are up to 50% more likely to die from Covid 19 than their White counterparts. Covid 19 has highlighted the racial inequalities experienced by BAME people that persist in British society. These inequalities are prevalent in various institutions in society including education, housing, health and employment and it is becoming increasingly apparent that these inequalities are having an adverse impact on the life chances of BAME people.
Racism is deeply ingrained in British societal institutions and as we see more story’s circulating about the increased risk to BAME people we grow increasingly concerned and angry, #WeNeedAnswers. The Emerging Leaders Advocacy Project seeks to channel these emotions by supporting and developing the capacity and competence of young BAME changemakers.
The group has been supporting and encouraging people to sign the petition started by Yvonne Field, our Founder and CEO, calling for a full independent public enquiry into how and why BAME people are being disproportionately impacted by Covid 19. The have also publicised and circulated it on social media and have created videos explaining the difference between an independent public enquiry and a review and it is vital for one us to have one. There is a need for independent public enquiry in place of a review, as it will provide a more in-depth investigation. Whereas a review will only provide a superficial, short term analysis into the current disparities linked to Covid 19 thus, will fail to consider pre-existing inequalities BAME groups have and will continue to face.
The group has also co-produced two letters to Prime Minister Boris Johnson about the need for a public enquiry, the first highlighting the need in general and the second reiterating the need in light of the Public Health England report 'Disparities in the Risks and Outcomes of Covid 19 into the impact of COVID-19' on BAME communities. The first letter has attracted 85 high profile signatures and has also attracted considerable national media attention and an increase in signatures daily.
The group has also organised three 'Emergency Community Conversations which discussed the impact of Covid 19 on various BAME community sectors. Their roles included researching and recruiting panellists, organising the programmes and schedules for events, and ensuring smooth delivery of events. The Community Conversations were hosted on zoom and live-streamed on YouTube. The first two conversations have gathered over 3000 views. The group are in the process of organising a further two conversations, one on the impact of Covid 19 on the Windrush Generation and their families and another on the impact of Covid 19 on BAME young people.
As a part of the project the emerging leaders are having skills sessions and ongoing mentoring and coaching sessions with experienced campaigners, such as Lola McEvory, Nigel Flannagan and Patrick Vernon. The group will be putting out a call on social media and through their networks to speak to and collect the stories of BAME people on both the front line and the not so obvious front line. They aim to collect the community voices through various mediums including written case study reports, blog articles, photo essays and video documentaries. These stories will be shared and amplified on social media, if you would like to share your stories as a part of this campaign please contact – Kelsea.Sellars@ubele.org or Saffron.email@example.com
The Emerging Leaders Advocacy project is an efflorescent project that is evolving by the day. Please support the #WeNeedAnswers campaign in the following ways:
· Sign Yvonne Field’s petition urging the government to conduct an Independent Public Inquiry into the conditions of disparity that exist for BAME communities in light of COVID-19 if you have not done so already.
· Sign the letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson urging for an independent public enquiry by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
· Contribute to the Majonzi fund which aims to provide BAME groups with a small grant towards conducting a memorial for their loved ones once social distancing has eased.