Sunday, 8 January 2017

Response To: 'Is 2017 The Year Of Action For Black Britons?'

Dear Patrick,

Re: Is 2017 the year of action for black Britons?*

I applaud you for kicking off the new year by setting markers for us to deal with in 2017 in your latest Voice article.

I realise that what’s online may not be the full article as published in the paper edition. Nevertheless, in highlighting the International Decade For People Of African Descent 2015-24 as the thread which runs throughout your suggestions, I would implore you to endeavour to help us fashion a unifying African British identity that takes cognisance of our different antecedents, be they located in the Caribbean, Africa, or Britain (please see (1) below).

So whilst I appreciate the work you do across heritage, health and politics, I must respond to some of the itemised points in your article:

1. Re: UN Decade of African Descent.
As much as I disagree with the "Descent" bit, can we nevertheless stick to the proper UN terminology, which is International Decade For People Of African Descent or the IDPAD acronym?

IDPAD is an opportunity to recognise that we are one family – Africans, irrespective of antecedents, and unite us as African people rather than separating us as ‘Africans and Caribbeans’. As you are aware, we have Asian and European Caribbeans. So when geo- specificity is required and we are referring to Caribbeans of African heritage, it’s helpful to use the African-Caribbean terminology.

We know it’s incumbent on the UK, as a member state of the UN, to publish and implement a programme of activity for the decade. However it may prudent for African individuals and organisations to come up with plans they can deliver, whilst lobbying the government to implement aspects of the specific plans that can only be implemented by government.

2. Re: The Heritage Lottery Fund, etc; The government should also adopt Windrush Day on June 22 to celebrate the Caribbean migration to Britain.
Rather than ring-fencing funds just for Windrush @ 80 commemorations, the focus of such funding should be for African-led organisations to deliver programmes marking the African (not Black) contributions to British and world civilisation, which naturally includes Windrush and beyond.

I hope that Windrush Day will be celebrating the contribution of people of African heritage to the UK

6.  Re: Funding should also be available along with a special memorial to support the role and sacrifices made by British West Indies Regiment.
What's the rationale for singling out the BWIR? What about the King's African Rifles or Royal West African Frontier Force?


Also, 30 years from the introduction of BlackHistory Month (BHM), should we not be aligning it with the African Jubilee Year Declaration which is what BHM was predicated on? And whilst we’re at it, shouldn’t it now be called African History Month?

I notice you’re silent on Reparations – is that an issue to be left for  another time within the IDPAD 2015-24 time frame?

Lastly, I’d like to encourage individuals and organisations to heed your call as chair of Labour’s race equality advisory group and consider making a submission to the Labour Party’s race consultation by the Jan. 13 deadline – see http://labourlist.org/2016/12/after-the-brexit-vote-labour-can-put-race-equality-back-on-the-political-agenda.

I’ll certainly be suggesting that racism specifically against Africans be described as Afriphobia, and that a state-funded website be set up as a hub that provides a link to race-related research, which may cut down on unnecessary duplication, and provide empirical basis for making robust anti-racism policies and arguments.

Kwaku


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