Virtual BYC — Week 11

I have posted some very silly things in this blog over the last 11 weeks.

Not today.


Things haven’t always run smoothly at BYC. I’m sure you can all remember incidents that have caused conflict or have upset people. That’s natural when you are in a lively noisy and busy environment (remember that?!).

I believe that we tried our best to solve any issues, sometimes privately and sometimes publicly (when we have felt that we have needed to talk to the group as a whole). I believe that we confidently confront these issues, allow young people and staff to talk about complex and difficult topics and appreciate that there are not always easy answers and that mistakes are OK, if they are acknowledged and built on.

You will have seen Black Lives Matter protests. I am very proud to support the position of BS3 Community, my employer and the community organisation that does so much in BS3 and beyond.

BS3 Community have stated “The trustees and management team within BS3 Community Development want to offer our wholehearted support to the Black Lives Matter Campaign”. Also that “Part of our role as a community organisation must be to use education as a vehicle to tackle societal and structural racism.” The full statement and that of Simon Hankin the CEO can be found here.

This is a very complex issue, but the starting point is clear.

Racism in all of its forms is unacceptable. The Black Lives Matter campaign is

“A coalition of activists from across the UK who believe deeply that Black Lives Matter. The struggle is global, and so must be the solution”. It is against violence and racism towards black people. That idea seems obvious to most people.

In over 25 years of working with young people I have found an overwhelming majority of them are very skilled in noticing when something is unfair or if someone is behaving unfairly. Often much better than adults.

Ideas of equality and cooperation are often embedded in very young people from a very young age. Think about how parents, nurseries and schools taught you to play fairly, to share toys/food, to take your turn. Many of these protests are fronted by young people, driven by their passion for a fairer society, one where black people are treated equally.

As a white person, agreeing with this is no longer enough. Education, reading, watching and listening all become important starting points. This should then lead to action. What can you do to support this movement? How can you do something to make a difference?

I have a long way to go, but I’ve started to find out more, to follow some interesting people on social media, to read lots of articles, and to properly watch the news on different channels.

So, I can’t really tell you what to do or how to do it. But I can share some of the things that I’ve seen, that I’ve read and that I’ve researched. It would be great of you did the same. Young people are leading this movement, you all have the power to learn and to educate others. I hope that you accept the challenge.

Let’s start in Bristol. We have a black mayor and deputy mayor, Marvin Rees and Asher Craig. They have spoken very clearly about challenging racism and other inequalities in Bristol. Here they are with East Bristol MP Kerry McCarthy at Bristol Pride.

You may have heard Marvin Rees talking about the removal of the statue of Edward Colston yesterday.

This is historian and broadcaster David Olusoga. He lives in Bristol and his latest series of A House Through Time is set in Redcliffe. It’s brilliant, please watch it.

He spoke on the television on Sunday morning about lots of things, but how people need to listen to what black people are saying. Take a breath and listen. This is part of his interview.

Babbasa also work with young people in Bristol , they have two strong shared beliefs :

“that young people’s aspirations and opportunities should not be determined by their background, and that every young person has a unique skill or talent which, if explored and nurtured, can advance humanity in a significant way.”

Clara amfo

John Boyega

Written by

Food Club support worker and Lead Youth Worker at Bedminster Youth Club.

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