Words of wisdom from several members of the Young People Advisory Board sharing what it means for them to strive for Black Equality.
Nadjah Osman, Joint International Chair of the Young People’s Advisory Board
Racial equality is achieved when there is a thorough understanding of how race structurally and systemically impacts different types of communities. For Black communities around the world, how equality is achieved and implemented will differ. However, the commonality across this would be providing resources which tackle political, economic, and environmental facets of society, just to name a few. Black Equality is a journey with the aim of levelling the playing field once and for all. The journey to Black equality is generational, to ensure this continues and to keep the momentum going this would mean galvanising across ages, occupations, education levels and classes.
Diontre Davis, Joint International Chair of Young People’s Advisory Board
In the United States of America Black citizens have had growth in their rights moving closer to the ideal position of being equal citizens to their white counterparts. However, that does not mean the hardships Black people face have disappeared or even lessened because of the prevalence of anti-blackness in our society. Black Equality is the aim of ensuring Black people have the same opportunities (education, healthcare resources, economic and housing opportunities, etc.) as other societal groups to grow past racial barriers. However, Black equality alone is not enough. Black equity goes further which would enable Black people to utilise the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome to other groups of people despite the different circumstances of historical oppression. Without Black equity pushed forward in tandem with Black equality the impacts of systemic racism in the healthcare, the prison system, housing, jobs and employment will continue to widen the racial disparities.
Christopher Johnson, Head of the Editorial Team of The Black Policy Institute’s Youth Advisory Board
Over the last few years the world has endured a number of crises that have exposed and widened inequality. But from the pandemic to the climate crisis we see that Black and Brown people are disproportionately impacted. The appropriate support to help these communities either does not exist or exacerbates the problem. For me, Black equality is creating a society where nobody is left behind or has to suffer more because of their background. It means creating a world where there is a level playing field, where all voices are heard and where barriers to success do not exist.
Rochelle Wong, Head of Research & Analytics Team of the Young People’s Advisory Board
Black equality is about the acceptance of differences in thought, behaviour and values among those within the Black community by others. It involves building and sustaining platforms to ensure that the Black experience can be understood and valued. Through this, Black talent has equal access to possibilities for success as other racial groups.
Bolu Ayeye, Head of Operations and Communications Team of the Young People’s Advisory Board
Black equality means the equal opportunity and treatment of all Black people within social hierarchies and inter-community. It means Black people are treated with respect and dignity regardless of sexual preference, identity, disabilities, and religion. Not treated differently or discriminated against because of their differences but given fair opportunity and dignity. My Black equality is for all Black people all over the world.
Hannad Osman, Head of Membership Engagement and Operations At The Black Policy Institute’s Youth Advisory Board
A major priority to achieve Black equality is ending disparities in healthcare between Black and White people. An analysis conducted by Pieterse in 2012 demonstrated that Black Americans reported less trust in their healthcare providers compared to other Americans. The study found that discrimination in healthcare led to people having poorer health. A solution could be healthcare workers being provided training to be more culturally competent. So that they can identify the unique needs of the Black Americans, which would result in improved health outcomes as well as stronger relationships between patient and healthcare workers.
Ruth Jackson-Koufie, Editorial Team at The Black Policy Institute’s Youth Advisory Board
For me, Black equality means seeing others who look like me and share a similar cultural heritage with me represented in all areas of society. Seeing people from African and Caribbean backgrounds thriving in the workplace, and seeing us present in influential positions where we can demonstrate our worth and inspire hope for the next generation. It will come when we are respected for who we are and not perceived through labels or preconceived notions. Black equality signifies Black communities coming together in pride, and not succumbing to old and degrading eurocentric values which have harmed us for centuries. I hope to contribute to making this world a place where Black people no longer have to fight for what should already be.
Lilian Efobi, Member of the Research and Analytics Team at The Black Policy Institute’s Youth Advisory Board
Equality is the equal access and privileges extended to every person without regard to their status, beliefs, religion, race, or philosophy. Everyone should be given a fair chance to compete for the same opportunities, as this increases competition in some areas and encourages individual effectiveness or selection of the best among all. As a result, better results are obtained since the most capable individuals prevail regardless of their ethnic backgrounds, and this ultimately fosters social progress. Furthermore, I believe that black equality is important since it provides opportunity for everyone. The reason why I care about black equality is because when we fight for it, we give individuals opportunities who otherwise wouldn’t have had them because of their race or socioeconomic standing. This, in turn, deprives us of potential heroes who might have made a lasting impression on the world. We have seen through the lives of people like Barack Obama, Nelson Mandela, and others how fighting for equality can advance society to levels we never could have imagined, and this should inspire us to continue standing up for what we believe in. In all, supporting equality means future generations can compete on an equal footing for the same opportunities without fear of prejudice.
Paul Jackson II, Member of the Operations and Communications Team at The Black Policy Institute’s Youth Advisory Board
Black Equality is the freedom of self doubt and feeling less than another ethnic group or community. The pursuit of all dreams and imagination without systemic, and pathological barriers. It is freedom from aligning to a marketed status quo, governed by divide and conquer. It marks the transition to best practices of ownership, having a stake in the economy for community development in this era of information. Establishing the practice of seeking power by embracing leadership which will build on the successes of our elders. It means ensuring that families and communities have upward mobility to foster success and a quality of living which will rid us of generational trauma.
Valerie Rumbidzai Jeche, Member of the Outreach and Engagement of The Young People’s Advisory Board
In my understanding, Black Equality entails creating an egalitarian society where Blacks are equal to other races. Its advocacy is to establish a society that protects the individual rights of Black citizens. Black Equality means removing the racial treatment of black people like they are less than human. It ensures that Black people are just like any other human being. They will have equality in the workplace, in politics and all other spaces of society. Gone are the days when Black people were imprisoned and processed as slaves. Instead, the future of Black equality is to focus on making a system, changing the narrative, and educating others to remove any inequalities based on race.
Olajide Ojeniyi, Member of Partnerships and Outreach Team of the Young Advisory Board Member
For me, Black equality means having the same opportunities and rights as everyone else. It means having access to education, good jobs, and equal treatment in society. We must make our voices not discriminated against but are loud and heard. The world must understand how Black people feel about their lives and what they want for themselves. The black community has been fighting for their rights since before America was even founded, but its progress has been slow for decades. We must solve issues of racial discrimination and the treatment of Black bodies like criminals or second-class citizens because of the colour of our skin. Black equality means that Black people globally should have equal rights and opportunities across socioeconomic, political, educational and environmental spaces.
Tobi Ayinde, Member of Operations and Communications Team if The Young People’s Advisory Board
Black equality is when all members of the Black community are treated with the same level of respect and given equal opportunities from all parties, institutions and communities. Being in a world with Black equality means that Black people do not second guess their job application, check the diversity of their neighbourhood or conceal their emotions due to fear of relegation. It also means that harmful stereotypes projected by the media will not affect the real lives of Black people, as the society we live in will be able to decipher fictionality from reality. We can achieve Black equality by evaluating how other ethnicities treat us, but most importantly, how we treat each other. I believe that Black people living in developed nations need to lend a helping hand to those in developing countries by building them up to a level we can all benefit holistically.
Evan Quaintance, Member of the Outreach and Partnerships Team of the Young People’s Advisory Board
Black equality means a community that sees our ancestors as the common denominator in our struggles. Our ancestors’ dark history has enabled us to not repeat history and to spread awareness of Black inequality. Thus, Black equality advocates building a society that values Black life, education, and autonomy. It also promotes combating racial inequality produced by White people. As well as this, the fundamental components of Black equality link to our efforts to understand our Black ancestry. To do this, we need to create knowledge and networks to produce our narratives of Black equality in a positive light.
Titilayo Glory, Member of Partnerships and Outreach Team of the Young People’s Advisory Board
Having spent most of my childhood in Africa, Nigeria, to be specific, Black equality was a strange notion to me. I don’t think about it much unless in particular crises that make worldwide headlines. When I moved to the United Kingdom, however, this became my reality, and I realised that colour was a preference and nationality was a bonus.
Equality, whether in terms of race, gender, or human rights, should be the fundamental tenet of any social environment, particularly in a civilised world where social media has reduced the globe to a global village. I could go on and on about Black equality, but it would be a waste of time since we were and still are witnesses to the Black Lives Matter Movement.
The harsh reality is that there is no such thing as equality; nevertheless, if we follow the basic guideline “DO TO OTHERS WHAT YOU WANT OTHERS TO DO TO YOU,” we shall attain equality in all aspects of life.
In a nutshell, Black equality is about doing what is right, just, fair, and generally accepted, regardless of race, age, gender, or nationality. If it works for you, it should work for me.
However, this extends beyond individual activities to national policies and mental, cultural and social awareness. To do this, all stakeholders must contribute their parts effectively and efficiently.