We have the power to change - The Ubele Initiative

The world has a long history of injustice that continues to impact black people and now more than ever before change is vital

Rianna Raymond-Williams

The Ubele Initiative are strategic partners of Power to Change. This guest blog highlights their work to support BAME communities, by Rianna Raymond-Williams.

Racial injustice, structural and systematic inequalities and collective outrage is not new. Neither is police brutality, oppression or silence. The world has a long history of injustice that continues to impact black people and now more than ever before change is vital.

The recent murder of George Floyd in America has been the catalyst for the worldwide collective action supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, which campaigns against violence and systemic racism. In the last week, we have seen hundreds of people take to the streets globally, to march and protest against the structures, behaviours and attitudes that continued to go unchallenged and dismantled and as a result, injure communities and claim lives.

Alongside battling institutional racism, the worldwide coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has also caused major devastation, particularly in the UK where research highlights that black, Asian and minority ethic (BAME) communities are disproportionately impacted.

Recent data from Public Health England (PHE) reveals that BAME groups are between 10% and 50% at a higher risk of death related to COVID-19 when compared to white British people. In addition to earlier data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) which found that black people are more than four times more likely to die from Covid-19 than white people, even after taking socio-demographic characteristic into account.

The Ubele Initiative have launched a petition on 38 Degrees, BAME communities and the impact of Covid-19 – followed by an open letter to Boris Johnson – urging the UK government to conduct an independent public inquiry into the conditions of disparity that exist for BAME communities in light of COVID-19. Through our ongoing community work as a grass roots social enterprise, we have seen and experienced injustice first-hand.

Over the last 10 weeks, we have actively responded to the community through hosting webinars, community events, as well as influencing COVID-19 strategy for BAME groups across the UK. One of the major findings that has surfaced from our research highlights that 9 out of 10 BAME micro and small organisations are set to close if the crisis continues beyond 3 months following the lockdown, due to the lack of reserves.

BAME communities have been hit the hardest and will continue to face disadvantage if their experiences and needs are not brought to light. The We Need Answers campaigns urges us to collectively participate in sharing our lived experiences, demand accountability from those who represent us and encourage us all – particularly BAME groups – to participate and contribute as stakeholders towards change.

Ways you can support BAME communities and learn more

The We Need Answers Campaign – https://www.ubele.org/weneedanswers

Black Lives Matter & so does our political participation – https://t.co/DKTA6MxIz4

Majonzi fund: Covid-19 bereavement fund – https://www.gofundme.com/f/majonzi-fund-covid19-bereavement-fund

Official George Floyd Memorial Fund – https://www.gofundme.com/f/georgefloyd