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A Manifesto for Race Equality in Britain

We have looked at the power of the black vote and developed a race equality manifesto to address some of the issues facing black and minority (BME) communities in the UK.  Read the preface below.Britain is at a crossroads. Brexit, immigration, and British identity. 

How these issues play out in this snap election will determine the country’s direction for a generation.

The key question is to what extent will black and minority ethnic communities (BME) be involved in this debate?

A Manifesto for Race Equality in Britain

After all, the outcome will deeply affect BME communities here.

Whilst this country has a proud record of being at the forefront of tackling race equality, not least as a result of grassroots movements driving change, in recent years some hard fought for gains have been lost. Race has fallen off the agenda and we have witnessed an unprecedented rise in xenophobia, Islamaphobia and anti-Semitism.

Persistent race inequalities in employment, education, housing and the criminal justice system has meant and lack of social mobility for BME children growing up to be adults is nothing short of a scandal. Many do succeed despite the barriers but too many fail to have their potential recognised much less fulfilled.

That is why we are calling for a government-wide race equality strategy to root out racial inequality wherever it lurks in the system.

Our goal during this election is to demand a plan to unshackle BME talent so that it can flourish, and to quash the normalisation of race hate filled rhetoric from politicians and commentators such a Katie Hopkins, and Kelvin McKenzie.

This is a manifesto for change and a rallying call to our communities that in an election where our vote counts, we demand respect, equality and chance to fulfill our great potential.

We are a collection of race equality organisations and individuals, one that will benefit the whole of society.

Click here to visit the website for A Manifesto for Race Equality in Britain

Registering BME Voters in Croydon

Thursday 18th May, Operation Black Vote (OBV), with the support of Croydon Council, hosted a voter registration campaign in Croydon, aimed at increasing the number of BME people registered to vote.Along with an ad van plastered with a 48 sheet poster,we took to various locations in Croydon to meet and engage with the borough’s citizens, including Market Square,

Croydon College and Thornton Heath High Street.

Our visit to Croydon College was particularly successful.  With the help of our volunteers Rosy and Claire, we were able to engage with over 200 young people and encourage those who had not yet registered to do so. Many thousands will have seen the eyecatching poster that drove around the city the whole day.

We also took the campaign on-line where more than 30,000 individuals in the Croydon area were targeted.

With three constituencies including one of the most marginal seats in the country, with a Conservative majority of just 165, there is a real possibility to tip the balance in the Croydon Central constituency.  The BME electorate at 32,389 is far larger than the majority– this means that Croydon’s BME population holds a huge amount of power to influence the election result on June 8th.

But to vote, you need to be registered.  Our campaign in Croydon was designed to inspire BME individuals to register to vote so that they can realise their potential political power.

OBV director Simon Woolley has echoed these sentiments: ‘We want all Croydon’s citizens Black and White to have a voice for these elections.  But you have register to vote first. We are particularly worried about BME groups not registering. Data shows our communities are five times more likely than white people not to be registered.  When more people engage and make their voices heard, parties are forced to listen and ensure policies work for everyone.’

We will be replicating the work in Croydon, to encourage voter turnout in the coming weeks.  Watch this space!

Source – OBV

Working Together to Protect Croydon

A statement from Croydon’s Chief Superintendent Jeff Boothe and Councillor Tony Newman, leader of Croydon Council, following the increased terrorism threat level.“Following the government’s announcement of an increased terrorist threat level, we would like to reassure residents that we are doing all we can to protect Croydon.

“As you go about your daily lives, you’ll see that there are more police and community safety officers on patrol to help protect our borough and give visible reassurance to members of the public.

“We know that some communities will feel a heightened sense of concern, tension and vulnerability. Our officers will also be reaching out to these communities, faith groups and schools to offer support and reassurance.

“We ask people to remain calm but vigilant at this time. If you are out and about, please be alert and tell the police immediately if you see something suspicious.”

BME Forum Mourns Board Member Alice Allison

July 12, 2016

The Board Members and staff of Croydon BME Forum are deeply saddened to announce the passing of one of its longest standing board member, Alice Albertha Allison, who passed away on 18th June 2016.

The Board Members and staff of Croydon BME Forum are deeply saddened to announce the passing of one of its longest standing board member, Alice Albertha Allison, who passed away on 18th June 2016.

Alice was a formative member of Croydon BME Forum, representing Croydon Sickle Cell and Thalassemia support group.

Alice had a passion and talent for community service, civic engagement and leadership in the community.  Alice had a particular commitment to the health and well being needs of communities, and in her usual calm and reserved manner contributed vastly to ensuring that the voice of communities are heard and local service improved.

Alice particularly promoted the needs of people affected by the long term conditions of Sickle cell and Thalassemia, delivery direct support services to them as well as presenting their needs to the local NHS bodies, various boards and the local authority.

Her commitment to Croydon’s BME Voluntary sector is second to none, she has been the longest serving member of CBME’s board having joined in December 2003; Alice became the Secretary of the Forum in 2006, a role she played until her last day.

Chair of Croydon BME Forum Mr Patrick Reid said; “There are very few people who put themselves forward to serve the community, not asking to be recognised or rewarded; Alice is one such special person, selfless, dedicated and relentless in giving herself in the service of others.  We should all be proud of her contribution in advancing the cause of Croydon’s black and minority ethnic communities.  She will be missed dearly and we pray that her soul rest in perfect peace”.

Chief Executive Mr Nero Ughwujabo said; “Alice has been a source of wisdom and strength for the Forum and to me personally. I am grateful to her for her dedication and her resilience.

The board, staff and members of Croydon BME Forum celebrate the life and contributions of Alice Albertha Allison.

Farewell: 

‘Say not in grief, she is no more

but live in thankfulness that she was’.

African, Caribbean? Dont risk losing your sight

October 13, 2016

SIGHT-LOSS WARNING TO CROYDON’S AFRICAN-CARIBBEAN COMMUNITY

Latest figures show that people of African-Caribbean descent are up to eight times more likely than others to get the eye condition Glaucoma;  if undetected and untreated, Glaucoma can lead to sight loss – possibly all of it.

In a bid to reduce sight loss and blindness among the African-Caribbean community, Croydon Vision, in partnership with Croydon BME Forum are running a year-long campaign to make African-Caribbean residents aware of the risk they face.

Those who have or have had Glaucoma in their immediate family are most at risk.

So our message to the African-Caribbean community in our borough is this:

  • If You are over 40 you should have an eye test
  • If you have had Glaucoma in your close family you should have an eye test
  • If you are over 40 and have Glaucoma in your close family you should have an eye test

All this and more is spelled out in our first campaign leaflet which features Councillor Louisa Woodley, Croydon Council cabinet member for families, health and social care, an ardent supporter of our campaign and herself of African-Caribbean heritage.

It is supported too by the International Glaucoma Association and  the campaign is funded by the Greater London Fund for the Blind.

The aim is to reach 24,000 African-Caribbean Croydon residents with the message.

An event will be held on Friday 28th October 2016 at Croydon BME Forum, 56a Mictcham Road, Croydon CR0 3PB; from 12 noon to 2pm prompt.   Please contact 020 8684 3718 or nadine@bmeforum,org to book.

REPORT: Improving Access to Mental Health Services for London’s Young and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Population

The Greater London Authority’s Health Committee has launched its report: ‘Healthy minds, healthy Londoners: Improving access to mental health services for London’s young and Black, Asian and minority ethnic population’.

Croydon BME Forum is delighted to have contributed to this report and welcome its recommendations.

The Health Committee is tasked with reviewing health and wellbeing across London, including progress against the Mayor’s Health Inequalities Strategy, and work to tackle public health issues such as obesity and alcohol misuse. The Committee will consider the Mayor’s role as Chair of the new pan-London Health Board and the impact that recent health reforms are having on the capital, notably NHS reconfiguration and the decision to devolve public health responsibilities to local authorities. The following terms of reference were agreed by the Committee at its meeting on 3 September 2014:

  • To examine the challenges facing people in accessing mental health services in London; with a specific focus on young people and BAME individuals; and
  • To explore and make recommendations on how the Mayor might support improved access to mental health services, particularly for young people and BAME in London.

A key finding of the Committes review:

Many people in London suffer from problems with their mental health. These problems affect individuals’ quality of life, their ability to play an active part in their communities and to contribute to local and wider economies. Mental health is a particular issue for London’s young people and Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BME) communities. Yet the lack of reliable data on mental health makes it virtually impossible for providers to assess the scale of demand for services in London and direct resources appropriately.

Risq Animasaum, BME Community Development Worker for the Croydon BME Forum contributed to the review and highlighted the role of the voluntary sector in achieving better outcomes.  The report remarks that ‘The voluntary sector has an invaluable role to play in the delivery of mental health services’.

The reports concludes that:

Mental health must be a priority for government and the health sector. Stakeholders told us that many young and BME people in London are not receiving good quality mental health care. The Mayor has a role to play in promoting good mental health in London, and in reducing the inequalities that exist for young and BME service users. The London Health Board – which the Mayor chairs – needs to explicitly prioritise mental health and wellbeing.

Croydon BME Forum looks forward to joining partners to implement relevant recommendations of the report at the local level.

Click here to read the full Report.