Harness the social media to equality and community renewal
By Thomas L Blair, 20 March 2015 © updated 07 April 2015
In a unique alliance, activists and faith leaders with large BME populations across Great Britain are online for equality and renewal. Moreover, their web sites send a clear message to their communities: make sure you are registered and vote.
What do leading organisations say?
A united front of Black and minority ethnic voters in 168 marginal seats could put race equality and social progress at the centre of the 2015 general elections.
In fact, a number of organisations came together to affirm and promote their quasi-political message: get out the vote.
Simon Woolley, Director of Operation Black Vote, said: “The heart of any democracy is its people and their engagement within it.” Registering to vote ensures you are as important as any other voter in the land, no matter what your faith, your gender or your race.”
Others agree that collective action through the ballot box can make a difference to beleaguered communities.
In the fold are representatives of Black Christian, Hindu, Sikh, and Muslim associations. Now is the time to make a difference they say.
The Black Church leaders credit the scriptures for their involvement. Pastor Agu Irukwu of the Redeemed Christian Church of God who, twice annually convenes a single audience of 40,000members, stated:
Politically, the Black Church has been a sleeping giant. That giant has now awoken and we will confront the challenges that our communities face.”
Speaking in support of community activism Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo representing one of the largest churches in the country, stated:
“It’s simply not enough we have Black councillors and Black MP’s for politics to work well we all have be involved.”
The Black Church manifesto, written by Dr David Muir and Pastor Ade Omooba, sets out the leaderships view on areas such as education, health and the criminal justice system.
They affirm that the scriptures should lead the way to direct political involvement in pressing issues such as prisons and mass incarceration of Black people, siting Matthew 25:35-36.
Why are these leadership manifestos important?
Aware of their new strengths they could deliver a strong message to candidates and party leaders:
“We demand plans for a future without the deepening ordeal of poverty.”
“We want safeguards against the local effects of elaborate political schemes.”
What’s at stake?
The election figures reinforce the strategic size and potential political influence of 21st century British BME communities.
Divisive anti- immigration policies and rhetoric will alienate them.
Equal opportunity proposals for hard hit people — for jobs, schools, health, and favourable trade, aid, relief, and overseas development policies — will attract support.
Hence, all party candidates in marginal and BME-heavy constituencies will have to fight hard to win their votes.
5 Tips for smart Black voters
What is interesting of course is how the new “digi-generation” can use their smartphones and social media to get out the votes that favour the peoples of the marginal abyss. A prospect that is literally in their hands.
More to come. Over the final weeks we’ll share our 5 favourite smart tips for community empowerment.
Meanwhile check out the new quasi-political online voices. They are Black and Asian and minority ethnic voluntary and faith based groups setting the voting agendas for their kith and kin and co-religionists. They include (along with the above)
Kapil’s Khichadi: British Hindu Manifesto 4 GE 2015
Our Vote 2015 – calls for a fair approach to migration
Muslim Manifesto 2015
Sikh Manifesto 2015-2020
Sikh Siyasat News: Sikh Manifesto 2015-2020
The Sikh Network
Muslim Council of Britain: Muslim Vote
Voice4change encourages Black voluntary sector involvement – http://www.voice4change-england.co.uk/ –
Your comments are welcome.
Further essential readings include:
Migrants’ Rights Network Report at http://socialwelfare.bl.uk/subject-areas/services-client-groups/minoritygroups/migrantsrightsnetwork/migrant15.aspx
Chronicleworld at the British Library