The UK’s first national civil rights organization established to promote justice and justice for black people was launched.
The Black Equity Organization (BEO) was founded by some of the country’s most influential black figures in business, law, the arts and social justice, including Shadow Secretary of State David Lammy MP, academic David Olusoga, CEO Karen Blackett and business leader Dame Vivian Hunt and Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah.
It is hoped that this organization will be the same size as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in the United States, founded by black progressives in 1909.
Mr Lammy, who once practiced law, recounted LatestPageNews “We need a national civil rights organization dedicated to fighting in good times and bad.”
“As a young black man, it was tough growing up in the ’70s and ’80s. I experienced everyday racism at school, with the police and on television. I’ve witnessed the growth of the Front National first hand. Despite the desperation, I had hope that the future for black people in Britain could only get better. But after the Windrush scandal, the Grenfell fire and other endless tragedies, it became clear that progress was too slow,” said the Tottenham MP.
“After the death of George Floyd, blacks and whites came together to show their frustration at Britain’s failings in tackling racism. It is now time to move from protest to action.
“I am proud to be part of an organization that will be at the forefront of the fight for racial justice and equality. The Black Equity Organization will be a symbol of struggle and hope for Black people and their allies in this country as we take this next step in the fight against racial inequality.”
The BEO is already backed by a number of leading companies including Sky and several of the country’s leading law firms.
This comes a year after the government-backed Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities (CRED) released a widely condemned report suggesting institutional racism does not exist in the UK.
In contrast, BEO was founded on the premise that systemic racism not only exists, but plagues millions of people across the UK.
Systemic racism, the legacy of historical policies and attitudes, means 50 percent of black children live in poverty, black mothers are four times more likely to die in childbirth, and at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic black people were four times more likely to die Covid die as white people.
Launched around the second anniversary of the killing of George Floyd and the ensuing global wave of anti-racist protests, the BEO will focus on key areas where Black people face the greatest injustice, including economics, education, politics, criminal justice , healthcare and housing.
Over time, BEO plans to partner with and complement the work of grassroots, community and other charities that have been addressing these issues for decades to “make change happen”.
It will use all available tools to ensure Black people are treated fairly, including litigation to challenge systemic racism through courts, with appointed staff such as a “Director of Justice” tasked with helping Black people access legal advice and representation.
BEO’s Chair of the Board of Trustees, Dame Vivian Hunt, said: “We are proud to found the Black Equity Organization, the first national black British civil rights organization in the UK.
“We are committed to addressing the full range of systemic challenges faced by black British people and will help both black people and all Britons to reach their full potential.
“We respect and stand on the shoulders of many grassroots organizations across the country. We will come together and work with grassroots, national and affiliated organizations to bring about real change.”
BEO board members anticipate there will be challenges, but board member Kwame Kwei-Armah said LatestPageNews that the very fact that the organization was formed is in itself an indication that “the tide is turning”.
“This is an intergenerational moment and history will memorialize those who have stood up and taken action to reduce systemic racism and we will work with community organizations, activists and individuals outside the community to make this happen,” said the artistic director of the Young Vic.
“Second, history has shown that the powerful often lag behind when it comes to social change. Black Equity is no different. I’m not worried Just the fact that we’re here is proof that the tide is turning.
“Regarding other challenges, we know that change happens when we work together, rather than focusing on those who like to divide and spread fear in the current societal climate. BEO knows that when we gain ground, there are benefits for everyone. As such, we will work in partnership with others to achieve common goals, including working with government wherever possible to address issues affecting black communities. We know that we are stronger when we act together.”
In addition to the above, BEO’s Board of Trustees also includes business leader Ric Lewis, social justice advocate Marcia Willis Stewart QC, disability activist Michelle Daley, social entrepreneur Yvonne Field and co-founder of Conservatives Against Racism for Equality , Siobhan Aarons, at. Its youngest trustee is 19-year-old former Youth MP Athian Akec.