Earlier this week we were delighted to organise a meeting between our Young Equality Campaigners and the UN Special Rapporteur (Philip Alston) who is currently investigating the state of poverty and human rights in the UK. Around 20 of our 80 young campaigners were able to represent their views, experiences and provide incisive analysis directly to Mr Alston, giving passionate and honest testimony on issues such as how inequality and poverty impact on their mental health, ability to stay in education, quality of job prospects and also the precarity of their housing situations.
This was a fitting culmination to our first year's work alongside these dedicated young people, work that was funded by the generosity of our supporters during last year's Big Give Christmas Challenge. We are repeating the Big Give Christmas Challenge again this year (27 Nov - 4 Dec) - having secured a match pot of £17,500 from donors, including Four Acre Trust.
We will need your amazing support to raise £17,500 - which will be matched by the funds already pledged - giving a target of £35,000 in just one week so we can expand our Young Equality Campaigners programme and keep on, relentlessly, bringing the voice of youth to those in power.
So please, get your donation doubled now and enable us to expand this work in 2019.
Jo Wittams - Project Lead
The Equality Trust
Thanks to your donations via the Big Give - and with the support of experienced Youth Engagement Consultant, Rys Farthing - we were able to run sessions with 4 different groups totalling approximately 80 young people from across London, over the summer and into the autumn:
- The project was entitled by the participants 'A Summer of Race'.
- Our delivery partners were Caxton Youth Organisation, Praxis Brighter Futures, Bollo Brook Youth Centre and Worth Unlimited.
- The project was wholly participant led, focusing on the issues that the young people were most interested in interrogating.
- The key inequality themes that arose were around race, class, identity and gender.
- Some of the young people wanted to express this via art and created a large papier-mache sculpture of a young Afghan woman - to explore their views of identity and belonging.
- The key creation, entirely devised by the participants and executed with the support of artist Peter Griffiths, is an interactive sound booth which includes interviews and sound recordings on subjects such as 'is it race or class?', 'skin colour versus race - exploring colourism', 'jobs and discrimination' and 'stories of discrimination... or is it discrimination?'. All groups had input, with the main content being created by the young people from Bollo Brook Youth Centre.
- The work has been described by senior youth work practitioners as 'transformative' for some of the participants in how they understand their own identities and how they interact with the intersections of inequality.
- The issues that the booth raises are challenging for all discourses, and represent the kind of deep work that can only be done when you are able to be truly participant-led.
- The young people hosted a debate and discussion, which our Executive Director, Wanda, attended.
- A mini-documentary on race is in the final stages of production, and at least two of the participants are writing articles relating to the project.
- A launch of the sound booth in a public gallery in East London is being planned for December, and our partners are seeking a permanent home for both pieces of work.