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Policing is a hot-button topic on any given day, but the tragic case of Sarah Everard and the recent “Kill the Bill” protests have raised the alarm and reignited public debate about law enforcement’s role in the UK. Despite renewed discussions about policing, the perspectives of Black women, Black LGBTQ+ and Black non-binary people are often excluded from mainstream discourse even though they are more likely to be victims of crimes such as harassment and assault. To amplify these underrepresented and disproportionately affected voices, we reached out to our My Moon Landing community to find out what they thought about the state of policing in the UK.
Our conversations with our members revealed a staggering majority of largely negative experiences with the police. They recounted instances of the police committing wrongful house raids, arrests, assaults and being stopped without a valid reason - highlighting a real disconnect and fractured relationship with the police. As a result of these upsetting incidents, the My Moon Landing members described living in a hyper-vigilant state, where they are intensely afraid of interacting with the UK’s police force.
The overwhelming feeling from our community was one of fear of the very same body of people supposed to ensure their safety on the streets. They expressed concerns about unjust aggression, rough handling and the use of excessive force. And in spite of worries for their own personal safety as a marginalised group that often comes under attack, our community also shared concerns about the safety of Black men who they have witnessed being disproportionately stopped and searched by the police.
How to solve the UK’s apparent broken policing?
Without a doubt, the issue of policing is complex. But there will also be members of the UK’s law enforcement body that will feel that this representation of them is unfair. Sadly, it is the few bad experiences that people remember most. We asked our community what in their opinion can be done to fix a glaringly broken system to law and order in the UK. Unsurprisingly suggestions for improving policing were varied. Some called for increased recruitment from minority communities to foster a sense of safety for ethnic minorities, especially recruiting more Black women, LGBTQ+ or non-binary candidates. Another suggestion was for police to prioritise investigating existing crimes rather than making fresh arrests under the guise of stop and search. Although other solutions mentioned improving how the police communicate with marginalized groups and the police making public apologies for misconduct against Black people, for some, the answer isn’t one single solution. Enforcing a no-racism policy isn’t as simple as telling the police not to be racist. As a result, some people are less optimistic about solutions that would enhance feeling safe around the police.
Despite the police’s existing initiatives for improving minority relations, there’s still plenty of work to be done. Even though many debate the effectiveness of diversity, people from the My Moon Landing community still want the police to undergo personal development courses that could improve relations with the Black community.
As our government looks to the future of policing, we can't afford to relegate historically unheard voices when they are overwhelmingly affected by policing and crime. What feels like a watershed moment now is an opportunity to rethink how we approach law enforcement and ultimately make the country safer for all citizens, including the most underrepresented parts of the Black community.
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A word from Bayo Adelaja, CEO
So much has changed across the world over the past year. As an inequality focused organisation we have seen a significant rise in the need for our services, support and advocacy for the demographic of people we centre in our work, namely Black people.
We continue to be very grateful to our key partners and clients who have financially supported our work and provided access points for our beneficiaries to gain even more support than we are able to provide as a single organisation.In keeping with our belief in open innovation, we are happy to have a network of stakeholders that have seen the need for the deliberate and continued support of the Black community in the UK and across Africa.
2019-20 has been a learning year for our organisation, in terms of what we need to do for our beneficiaries, but in light of COVID, also what we need to do to ensure our organisation’s continued sustainability financially and as a deliverer of impact across under-served communities.
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2019 has been an amazing year, full of challenges and milestones in equal measure. We want to share the successes with you, especially as without you as our champions and invaluable support network, this journey would have been so much more difficult.
Now, as 2019 draws to a close we look back at what our incredible community has accomplished in the UK and Africa.
We’re building an organisation that supports underserved, predominantly black, people across the world to create better lives for themselves and their communities.
2019 began with a mission to think big in order to affect growth. In conversation with some of our fantastic champions over the past few months, I was driven to consider the opportunity an organisation like Do it Now Now can provide for BAME groups worldwide.
I learned that we needed to:
In the UK, we’ve been focusing our work on helping to reduce social and economic inequality within the black community. The statistics below spur us to redress the balance in equality:
Through initiatives like Black and Good (our support of black social entrepreneurs) and Moon Landing (our support of black female and non-binary local community leaders), we’re contributing to a world in which black people can gain the tools and resources needed to effectively impact the structures that affect the mobility of all of our lives on a daily basis. We’re grateful to have been funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation to do this.
Empowering African founders to unlock growth potential in their communities
We also learned the following about Africa-based, VC-backed startup founders that have raised over $100K:
From this information, we created AfriTech XYZ; a program that supports high potential, early-stage startups across 6 African countries through an individualised mentorship program supported by skilled volunteers around the world. Our initial cohort has gone extremely well:
We are extremely excited and incredibly humbled by the interest of this group of truly wonderful people in something we created.
Much more news to come on the progress of this program in 2020, but I think we’ve stumbled on something that could significantly impact the dearth of the African tech ecosystem and allow for a stronger, more effectively supported pipeline of startups to grow out of the continent.
In Africa, we want to support the democratisation of access to key opportunities and information that will catalyse the growth of startups and their ability to get funded. We’re working to ensure that we can bridge as many of those gaps as possible through the AfriTech XYZ program.
Thank you for your support in 2019, we hope to continue receiving your support in 2020.