‘Black’ – generic term referring to those who, through history and shared heritage, consider themselves as Black  and having  personal comfort, joy and pride  of being that and part of a Global Human Family. These groups include Black African, Black African Caribbean, Black British, people of Black African Heritage and others. ‘Black-led’ meant at least 66% of the group’s members and leadership are from, and led by, the British Black Communities.

The National Federation of Self-Help Partnerships, in association with the Vince Hines Foundation, proposed a National Conference for 2009 in London for 11, 12 &13 September 2009, to examine the state of Black Britain and current challenges from grassroots perspectives. There is a targeted audience of 800-1200 delegates.

Community consultations are in progress. A spokesperson for the Federation said: “Given current global economic downturn and associated uncertainties, if there were ever a time for community cohesion, this is probably it.

“We need to be alert, organise and be prepared for any significant changes likely to be brought about by current situation. Recognising always that ‘A People without direction is a People vulnerable at the mercy of predators, exploiters, wickedness, injustices and inequalities, groping in the dark,’” the spokesperson concluded.

Those who proposed the Conference are of the view that “It is time that Britain and others heard again the individual and collective non-partisan voices of the grassroots.”

The areas  the Conference intends to consider are:

“Achievements since 1950s; Current Challenges; The Way Forward – How to enhance Collective Stand against percieved and imagined barriers.” 

Part of the Conference proposals is to engage a Selected Panel of Senior Activists and Experts, “to assist in identifying, formally and collectively, Political, Economic, Social and Technological deficits, which are seen to be impeding Black community development currently in Britain.

Workshops intend to focus on promoting a movement for change in areas identified by panel members and audience as major challenges to Black community development in Britain today.

For a wide sweep, the Conference initiators used the generic term ‘Black’“referring to those who, through history and shared heritage, consider themselves as Black  and having  personal comfort, joy and pride  of being that and part of a Global Human Family.” The issue of IDENTITY is crucial.

The below listed groups are being consulted, with the view to their being core to the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation  of the Conference: 

National Federation of Self-Help Partnerships – Chair of Organising Committee

Black-led Political and Community Pressure Group

Black-led Women’s Group

Black-led Youth Group

Black-led Senior Citizens Group

Black-led Small and Medium Sized Business concerns

Black-led Trades Unions Group

Black led Generic National Voluntary and Community Group

Black-led Mental and Community Health Group

Black-led Law Association/Society

Black-led Students’ Society

Black-led Ex-Offenders and Rehabilitation Group

Black-led Equalities and Diversities Association

Black-led Magistrates Group

Black -led Prison and Police Officers’ Group

Black-led Probation, Social Work and Youth Justice Group

Black-led Teachers, Lecturer and Trainer Association

Black-led Music, Art, Theatre and Entertainment Association

Black –led Lesbian and Gay Group

Black-led Sports Group/Association

Black-led Faiths Groups

Black-led Lodge [Freemason]

Black-led Multi-Media Association – Press, Radio, TV, Film/DVD, and Internet.

 

The consultative processes put the following questions: 

· Is there a need for such a Conference?

· Are the proposed thematic areas appropriate?

· Are there any other thematic areas you would like to be included in the draft?

· Is the location appropriate?

· Would you participate in the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluating of the conference on behalf of your group, if an invitation by the organising committee were sent to you?

Members of the pre-planning Support Group would like to hear from readers now who have an interest. Contact CHINEDU ANIEDOBE at E-mail: communitysupport@ubol.com

 

Text Box: “The State of Black Britain and Our Response to Current Challenges”
(From the Black Communities’ Perspective)

National Federation of Self-Help Partnerships Logo

“A People without direction is a People vulnerable at the mercy of predators, exploiters, wickedness, injustices and inequalities, groping in the dark”

Text Box:  RESULTS
 OF THE
 CONSULTATIONS
‘vibrant and productive – pulling together for the common good’

 

Introduction 

Members of the Black Communities [Black African, Black African Caribbean, Black British, people of Black African Heritage and others] were consulted about holding a national conference dealing with past, present and future community development issues. The overwhelming majority of those who responded agreed and supported the calling of such a conference and they contributed crucial views to strengthen the proposed Conference structure and agenda items. Those ideas are weaved into this paper.

 

Based on the support given, this  is an advance notification to members of the community, confirming the agreed forthcoming Conference, which targets the grassroots, its leaderships and other related individuals and groups from various institutions. The target groups are those whose authentic and collective views are rarely heard by British policy makers and ‘king makers’.

 

During the process of consultations, the issue of identity generated passionate responses and exchanges of e-mails and telephone conversations. 

 

How does the British 'black community' define itself?   Identity distinguishes and crystallises our experiences as a cultural group. These are crucial issues which the Conference should address, via debates in workshops. This type of frank and open debate should assist in educating many in this regard. Education is a slow process at times. We are up against the State Education Mechanism which seems to be pushing, at best, ‘homogeneity’ and, at worst, euro centrism in a permanent multi-ethnic Nation.

 

Currently, Black British is used by the British authorities to mean UK passport holders of African or African-Caribbean origin (e.g. the usage of the Commission for Racial Equality, now part of the Equality and Human Rights Commission).

 

The majority of the UK population in 2001 were White, 54.154 million (or 92 per cent). The remaining 4.6 million (or 7.9 per cent) people belonged to other ethnic groups.

Indians were the largest of these groups, followed by Pakistanis, those of Mixed ethnic backgrounds, Black Caribbean, Black Africans and Bangladeshis. The remaining minority ethnic groups each accounted for less than 0.5 per cent of the UK population and together accounted for a further 1.4 per cent.

 

Since the 2001 National Census, Black British population growth forecast is 0.65% in 2005. This showed Black British African communities increasing at 0.33%; Black British and Black British Caribbean and Others at .03% respectively and Mixed at 0.26%. Overall,  the 2005 forecast suggested that  Black  British and Mixed population were: Black British Caribbean 1.17% (590,400); Black British African 1.30% (658,500); Black British Other 0.22% (110,400) and Mixed 1.57% (791,400).  Moving on, the resident population of the UK was 60,975,000 in mid-2007. The average age was 39 years, up from 37 in 1997. Children aged under 16 represented around one in five of the total population, around the same proportion as those of retirement age.

The Grassroots Spoke and said YES we want the Conference

[After consultations with the Grassroots, new Working Draft prepared for consultative purposes only]

Background

Britain has been receiving Black people ever since the Roman occupation of the country between AD43-410. For instance, a unit of African troops was stationed near Carlisle.[James Walvin’s ‘Black People in Britain’, Trans Atlantic Slavery, p79].

Black people continued to arrive, some in chains, during Britain’s slave trade era and others voluntarily, coming from the British colonies, and the Commonwealth. Some to benefit from British education others  to fight shoulder to shoulder with British armed forces in two world wars 1914-18 and 1939-45.

However, a significant number of Black people entered Britain as immigrants during 1948-1980s, mostly for economic reasons, as jobs were abundant in a war-torn British economy. Others arrived as refugees in subsequent years. “Between 1948 and 1970 nearly half a million people left their homes in the West Indies to live in Britain”  - National Archives.

Components of population change by ethnic group, mid-2005 to mid-2006, (experimental statistics)

Many earlier immigrants, mostly from the Caribbean, arrived in Britain embracing the notions that they were coming to support “the Mother Country”. That they did overwhelmingly, in Britain’s Transport and Postal Infrastructures; Health and Social Services; Manufacturing; Constructions; the Military; Social Enterprises; Commerce; Race, Community Relations and Anti-Racist Infrastructures; Voluntary and Community Sector; Leisure and Entertainment, naming only a few areas in which Black people helped Britain’s well-being consistently over several decades. All communities must pause from time to time and take stock, as it were, of the past, the present and develop strategies for the future.

To do this, we need to examine our achievements, current challenges and what plan we have or must put in place to build on past achievements, learn from failures, and avoid any potential threats. The Africans call this process of looking back to go forward, ‘Sankofa’, after a mythical bird. This process of awareness is also good for community safety.

 

We need to do this collectively from the base up-wards. By this,   no section of our communities is excluded from the process. We, as individuals, may have varied and strong views and opinions in the process. It is our duty to posterity to reach a workable consensus in order to move forward confidently, in our individual fields, yet collectively in thought and intent to achieve  content and higher quality of life, not only for the strong, but also for the less able. A level-playing field for all.

 

Purpose

The purpose of the conference is essentially:

 

To facilitate discussions and exchange ideas. An education and training exercise, to inform,   entertain, innovate, motivate, empower, nurture and develop or validate new and tested  approach to collective community development, operating at the grassroots, among those individuals and groups, who are sometimes most disadvantaged and having the least support when they most needed it;

 

To bring individuals and groups together who are in touch daily with the people at the grassroots, service providers, beneficiaries,  policy makers, elders, children and young people, men and women of various social, economic and political back groups, who have a common interest in realising a fair, progressive, safe and balanced society, which provides real opportunities for residents;

 

To exchange information to develop  better understanding;

 

 To educate, admonish,  support and embrace the realisation that we are likely to achieve more when we speak in consensus and work together on issues of common interest; and

 

To assist in charting a way forward in the interest of our families, children and young people and to assist in creating the conditions to make it easier  for posterity to succeed in their chosen tasks.

Past Achievements

[1948-2008. Social,  Economic and Political]   Presented by  Elders and other Experts [tbc]

Current Challenges

 [Social, Economic and  Political] Presented by Young people and  others [tbc]

1.Families and Identity

2.Education & Training

 (Including strategic planning of our children and young adults education and training  for their entering new technologies and careers, predicted to drive commerce and industries in the future) 

3.Business Entrepreneurships

(New start-up, small and medium sized businesses, including music and entertainment business development) 

4.Criminal Justice System

 (Including addressing our children’s anti-social behaviours) 

5.Health [Including Mental Health] 

6.Self-Help Leadership for Progressive Community Development

 (Including the Voluntary and Community Sector)

Saturday Evening: Music and Social Entertainment

Text Box:  Conference Skeleton Programme for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 11,12 & 13 September 2009

Plenary

Conference Formal   Resolutions

Vote of thanks

Chair’s Closing   remarks

Text Box: Workshops: Charting A Way Forward 
[Participants - A mixer of Elders, Young people and other Stakeholders]

Friday

Saturday

Sunday