Sunday, 1 March, 2020

Building the movement

Storms came and went but the movement continues to grow as we settle into 2020. First up Wanda, alongside Equal Pay campaigner Mumbi Nkonde, attended the TUC Yorkshire and the Humber Sisters to the Front Women Full Time Official’s conference 2020 in Sheffield. Wanda chaired the day and heard from activists and trade union members, with Mumbi running a session on the gender pay gap and winning equal pay. May 2020 is the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act 1970, get in touch to organise your Equal Pay 50 event.

We also saw the release of the Marmot Review: Ten Years On, which has seen health inequalities worsen over the last 10 years, particularly for poorer women. We joined the call to Downing Street to go further to reduce health inequalities, including enacting the Socio-Economic Duty (Section 1 of The Equality Act 2010), which places a duty on public bodies to pay due regard to the effect of their policies on those who are socially and economically disadvantaged.

February also saw Wanda speak at the Tortoise Thinkin, an opportunity to reflect on What does class mean today? Alongside Faiza Shaheen, CLASS, and Cash Carraway, Author. Next up was the release of the Trust for London report, Living on Different Incomes in London, which received excellent coverage in The Guardian. At its launch, Wanda responded to the report exploring people’s opinions about high incomes, wealth and what it means to be rich.

Take Action: support Gypsies and Travellers 

Last year, the Government proposed to strengthen police powers against roadside travellers. The consultation closes on Wednesday 4th March and Friends, Families and Travellers has created a simple form for people to add their voice to the opposition to these proposals. Click here to support this important campaign.

Why is this an inequality issue?

Gypsy and Travellers experience some of the worst outcomes of any ethnic group in the UK, including, lower life expectancy (10-25 years lower), low levels of adult literacy and porter educational outcomes. Please support this campaign today, it takes two minutes to support the campaign!

Young Equality Campaigners at The Tate

The activist art developed by the young people we worked with as part of our Young Equality Campaigners project was selected to be part of Steve McQueen's 'Artists and the City' exhibition at the Tate Modern, for a one night only, late event at the end of February. Attendees had the opportunity to be part of roundtable discussions with the artists as well as creating their own self portraits, encouraging them to interrogate their own experiences of inequality and the impact these have had on their lives. These authentic expressions of lived experience are key for raising awareness of socio-economic inequality, encouraging the general public to consider how socio-economic inequality damages us all and to start discussions about the ways in which it can be tackled.

#EQUALPAY50

Our campaign for gender pay equality keeps gathering pace, with seminars in Nottingham Trent (27th February) and Bedfordshire (4th March) Universities, plus more to come. You can find out about events we're holding here.

Meanwhile as we gear up towards the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Equal Pay 1970 on 29th of May we'll be holding workshops and stalls at the following events:

Here are some ways you can get involved in our campaigning for equal pay:

  • Join our 50/50 visual campaign. We want to highlight the stories of 50 working women and their experience of gender pay inequality over the last 50 years. Want to know more? Contact Nkonde@equalitytrust.org.uk
  • Come to our planning meeting on 12th March to discuss how we can create a groundswell of support in advance of the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act. If you would like to contribute to the discussion, then sign up here: http://bit.ly/EqualPay50Planning

LOCAL GROUPS BULLETIN

London's inequality coalition

My Fair London has been working with a coalition of other London-based campaign organisations for an 'equality hustings' in the lead up to the London Mayoral election to hear what each of the candidates are going to do about inequality in the capital and to hear their responses to the My Fair London manifesto. If you want to get involved, or if you have other ideas about how we can make sure inequality is a key issue in the London Mayoral elections, contact Alex Bax (alex@myfairlondon.org.uk). to get involved.

On Wednesday 11th March, My Fair London activists will be going to the People's Question Time in Wandsworth to ask questions and hand out their 'We Mind the Gap'. If you live in the area and would like to help, contact Alex Bax (alex@myfairlondon.org.uk).

Cambridge Commons

Cambridge Commons chair, Tariq Sadiq, delivered a presentation during a consultation on the Greater Cambridge Local Plan highlighting the importance of tackling inequality. Tariq has been made a trustee of the Board of Cambridge 2030.

The group began work with students at the Social Innovation Programme at the University of Cambridge to develop a communications plan and inequality audit for Cambridge. There are also new opportunities to work with volunteers from Anglia Ruskin University.

In addition, Cambridge Commons has been approached by Arbury Community Carnival, which takes place in the summer for support and to showcase the group’s work

The local group activists were involved in a workshop on a new local project that aims to create policy ideas through a citizens forum on how we improve social justice and cut carbon emissions.

The Cambridge Commons monthly meetup is on Wednesday 4th March with Stephen Thornton, a retired NHS senior manager and now a volunteer generalist adviser at Cambridge & District Citizens Advice and a Trustee of the Cambridge City Foodbank, on how we can tackle debt and poverty issues in Cambridge. To come along, RSVP here, or get in contact with them on contact@thecambridgecommons.org.

Oswestry continues to build its profile

The Equality Oswestry Group is continuing its important befriending support for Syrian refugee families liaising directly with Shropshire Council’s Syrian Refugee Coordinator.

The group will be shortly launching their new website, flyers and posters - so watch this space.

Meanwhile, they are utilising the free cost Community Meeting room in Morrisons supermarket which is available for community groups. Make contact with Equality Oswestry Group to find out more: equalityoswestry@gmail.com.

Swindon campaigning for climate justice

The Swindon Equality Group (SEG) held a recent discussion among our key players and concluded that our presentations, articles, videos and general presence had not had the impact they had desired over the past seven years and, if they were to enjoy some progress, they needed a new approach.

The connection between economic inequality and the climate crisis provides an opportunity: The Green New Deal. The 'green' elements of housing / energy / transport and even farming are capturing imaginations across all age ranges, while the 'deal' part includes the economy, employment, wages and taxation and clearly economic inequality territory.

With Parliament debating the current Environment Bill, COP 26 on the horizon and organisations wrestling with their definitions of Scope 1 and 2 (let alone Scope 3), there is a role for groups with an equality agenda.

Swindon Equality Group proposes to work with activist colleagues that have a green agenda e.g. Climate Action Network, x against plastics, even surfers against sewage – even though they are as far from the sea as can be. While they demonstrate the need for carbon reduction, SEG can demonstrate how capitalism, in its present form, could kill the climate crisis momentum.

SEG sees a common agenda here and an opportunity to gain some purchase locally while adding steel to the green argument, while also remaining politically non-aligned. To find out more and contribute to our new project, contact SEG on swindonequality@gmail.com.

West Midlands local group reforms 

The West Midlands local group has begun a process to reform in the wake of growing inequality in Birmingham and the Black Country. Ten people from across the community came together at Unison West Midlands exploring issues ranging from racism, tax dodging, housing and policy window dressing.

The new group agreed to meet again to plan practical campaigns which can have an impact on inequality in the West Midlands. The next meeting will be on Thursday 26th March; 6:00 - 7:30pm. Contact local groups organiser, Angela Khodeir, to find out more.

Do you want to make a difference in your community?

Find your local Equality Trust group or contact our Local Groups Organiser, Angela Khodeir, to find out how you can start an Equality Trust group in your area.

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Thanks for another month of your support. We would love to have you involved in any of our projects. Please get in contact to find out more.