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Macc statement and support for Black Lives Matter

11 Jun 2020 - 14:41 by michelle.foster

Black Lives MatterGeorge Floyd was murdered. He was not the first victim of police brutality and nor is America the only country in which this happens.

At Macc we want to express our solidarity and support to the Black Lives Matter movement and for our brothers and sisters in Minneapolis, Manchester and around the world who are rightly fighting for racial and social justice.

We recognise that the institutional and structural racism seen in America exists in this country too. We also have our own history of oppression of black people by state institutions: a history of British imperialism and colonialism. In more recent times, black people have died at the hands of police or been denied the justice they deserve. Covid19 is taking a greater toll on minority communities. Black, Asian and other people from minority ethnic groups are dying in greater numbers and facing greater levels of hardship from the economic impacts of the lockdown. The recent report issued reluctantly by government shows institutional racism as contributing factor in this – but contains no recommendations nor planned actions. We believe Government has failed these communities.

We recognise that this is not just an issue of state violence or neglect, it is the day to day experience of racism that makes life for black people qualitatively different from that of white people.

But it is very easy to put out a statement of solidarity and support. Words are not enough. We all need to take positive anti-racist action.

At Macc we wanted to stop and reflect on how we can do better at being an anti-racist organisation. We will continue to promote racial equality and justice throughout our work, including promoting and supporting the work of BAME-led Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise organisations. In our policy and influence work, we will use our position to open doors and to influence policy makers in Manchester and Greater Manchester and beyond to challenge institutional and structural racism. We are committed to listening to and amplifying the voices of BAME organisations and colleagues.

Right now, the priority for us is supporting Manchester’s charities, community groups and voluntary organisations to address the challenges of Covid19 and the social and economic impacts it is having on communities. We know that many of these organisations are at risk and that, as we have seen in the past, this will particularly affect Black-led organisations which have a history of under investment. The Ubele Initiative’s report on the impact of Covid-19 on the voluntary sector lays this out plainly. Our key message to all funders over the last two months has been that addressing the needs of BAME organisations should be their top priority. We will continue to press this message.

We recognise we are a majority white organisation. We have made efforts to recruit and develop staff from a wide range of backgrounds including creating opportunities through work experience, apprenticeships and on our Board of Trustees. That work is never finished. Macc is always a work in progress. We are constantly looking at our actions and behaviour, learning and finding ways to support racial justice, equality and change.

We want to encourage everyone to support local and national action and campaigns. The list below includes a sample of the Manchester charities, community groups and voluntary organisations, led by Black communities and other ethnic minority groups and those supporting and amplifying these voices. Our online directory of groups includes details of many more, there is a link at the end of the list:

Local organisations

  • Manchester BME Network is a network for BME voluntary sector organisations in the city
  • Caribbean African Health Network GM (CAHN) seeks to empower, enable and equip faith and community organisations with the Infrastructure to deliver and shape health and wellbeing services
  • Black United Representation Network CIC aims to challenge and tackle persistent racial inequalities in Greater Manchester which negatively impact people of African Descent to bring about systemic change
  • Kids of Colour – exploring race, identity and culture, and challenging the everyday, institutionalised racism that shapes their lives 
  • Northern Police Monitoring Project – an independent campaigning and advocacy organisation to educate, empower and organise the people of Manchester and the surrounding area in the face of increasing police harassment, violence and racism
  • African and Caribbean Mental Health Services – a community-based organisation providing free and confidential culturally appropriate services predominantly to African and African Caribbean communities as well as other minority groups including White Europeans with mental health needs aged 18 and over living in Manchester and surrounding areas
  • North Manchester Black Health Forum – user led charity that works with vulnerable adults from marginalised communities living with long-term health conditions, poverty and economic pressures (soon to be relaunched as “Hopewell” – and recent winner of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service)
  • Manchester Refugee Support Network – works to support asylum seekers and refugees in Manchester build safe, happy and productive lives in the UK
  • Boaz Trust – works to end destitution amongst asylum seekers and refugees in Greater Manchester by providing safe accommodation and holistic support
  • RAPAR (Refugee and Asylum Participatory Action Group) – is a human rights organisation based in Manchester, UK, which is primarily concerned with displaced people, and issues relating to displaced people
  • Together Now reunites families of refugees – supports refugees living in the UK to reunite with family members they have been forced to leave behind whilst fleeing persecution
  • Manchester City of Sanctuary – works to advance the education of the public about issues relating to refugees and people seeking asylum or sanctuary. To make Manchester united in being a welcoming city, open and fair for all
  • GM Immigration Aid Unit offers free legal immigration advice, representation and support services to people seeking asylum, refugees, children and vulnerable adults
  • Manchester Migrant Solidarity (Manchester MiSol) is a self-help group set up as a convergence space for all migrants including asylum seekers offering practical and social activities for mutual support, empowerment and solidarity with non-migrants to build a powerful political voice against the systematic mistreatment of migrants in the UK
  • Migrant Destitution Fund GM – a fund (hosted by Macc) to give financial support to people with no recourse to public funds
  • African Rainbow Family – Support for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTIQ) People of African Heritage including Refugees and wider Black and Asian Minority Ethnic Groups.
  • Rainbow Noir a volunteer-led social, peer support and community action group, which celebrates and platforms people of colour who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans*, Queer and/or Intersex (LGBTQI+)
  • Women Asylum Seekers Together (WAST) – organisation made up of women seeking asylum in Greater Manchester. Coming together to share experiences, empower and support one another whilst fighting for their rights and raising awareness about the issues that force women to seek international protection and the effects of the injustices experienced through the UK immigration system
  • Safety4Sisters feminist and anti-racist organisation working for the safety of migrant women and an end to patriarchal and state violence
  • Heart and Parcel supports women from ethnic minority communities around Greater Manchester to develop their English language (ESOL) and communication skills by coming together to cook dishes from around the world, sharing recipes, stories, experiences and connections www.heartandparcel.org
  • The Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre and Education Trust – A Manchester based archive containing a wide range of documents, leaflets, posters, photographs and ephemera donated by BAME communities across Greater Manchester
  • Fuse Manchester – A community, creative platform and directory dedicated to creatives of colour in Greater Manchester, working towards a racially diverse and inclusive creative industry
  • Greater Manchester BAME Network – aims to provide networking opportunities and better access to knowledge, information and support for Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) and refugee VCSE sector organisations across Greater Manchester

More local organisations can be found in the Macc online directory

National organisations

  • Race On The Agenda (ROTA) is a social policy research organisation focusing on issues that impact BAME communities
  • Voice for Change is a national membership organisation championing the voice of the BME voluntary, community and social enterprise sector. They speak to policymakers to drive more informed and responsive policy making, and support civil society organisations that emerge from and work with these communities to provide support and drive social change
  • Runnymede Trust generates intelligence to challenge race inequality in Britain through research, network building, leading debate, and policy engagement 
  • Show Racism The Red Card provides educational workshops, training sessions, multimedia packages, and a whole host of other resources, all with the purpose of tackling racism in society
  • The Ubele Initiative a social enterprise with a mission to contribute to the sustainability of the African Diaspora community
  • Black Thrive works to reduce the inequality and injustices experienced by Black people in mental health services
  • Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust works with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds aged 13 to 30 to inspire and enable them to succeed in the career of their choice
  • The Equality Trust works to improve the quality of life in the UK by reducing economic and social inequality
  • Stop Hate UK is a service for victims of racial harassment aiming to end hate crimes in the UK
  • Black Lives Matter UK A coalition of activists from across the UK who believe deeply that Black Lives Matter. Part of a global Network builds power to bring justice, healing, and freedom to Black people across the globe. You can donate to support the work of BLMUK here
  • INQUEST provides expertise on state related deaths and their investigation to bereaved people, lawyers, advice and support agencies, the media and parliamentarians. This includes deaths in police and prison custody, immigration detention, mental health settings and deaths where wider issues of state and corporate accountability are in question
  • Museum Detox – This network champions fair representation and inclusion of BAME cultural, intellectual and creative contributions
  • The Black Curriculum – a social enterprise founded in 2019 by young people to address the lack of Black British history in the UK Curriculum

gm vcse leadership groupGM VCSE Leadership Group BAME Statement

All Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities, and BAME-led organisations, are an integral part of the fabric that makes up Greater Manchester (GM).

Many BAME communities face injustice and are not given a fair chance to do well. There is a huge challenge to change the economic, social and political inequalities. We recognise these problems are caused by all of us and must be resolved by all of us, working together.

We are at a juncture where we can improve things - or allow them to get worse. We must work together with communities and across all sectors to create a better future in which everyone enjoys the same freedoms, rights and opportunities in Greater Manchester.

The GM VCSE Leadership Group welcomes the GMCA proposal to establish a Race Equality Panel (3 June 2020). We also support a GM-specific review of the impact of COVID-19 on BAME communities. We pledge to play our part in ensuring this agenda moves from words to actions.

We recognise that there is systematic and structural racism in our own sector.

To address this, we pledge to:

  • prioritise candid and honest conversations about racism and structural barriers in our sector
  • actively value and enable the voices of BAME people and communities in decision-making across GM
  • support our own BAME staff and volunteers, actively encouraging BAME people in leadership
  • play our part in educating and empowering the VCSE sector so we can tackle racism in all its forms
  • support local and national campaigning for racial justice
  • promote access to funding for BAME-led groups and organisations, and promote new funding and organisational models that redress financial inequity
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