At the Alliance, we recognise the enormous contribution young people make to our society and the importance of putting the youth voice at the heart of all we do.
The Black Lives Matter movement has underlined the injustices and inequality that Black people face across the world and in the UK and has made every section of society acknowledge that up to this point, we have not done enough.
Our Youth Advisory Panel member, Rashan McDonald, has written a powerful and eye-opening blog about systematic racism and his own experiences as a young black man.
So, let me get straight to the point; the generation that we live in right now isn’t socially equal; racial segregation and discrimination still exists.
It’s amazing to see that our generation is highlighting BLM in many ways possible, through petitions, promoting historical articles/films/educational TV shows, protests, social media promotion, local MP engagement, GoFundMe pages and highlighting issues in the workplace too.
I have also experienced some of this unjust behaviour; as a hard-working black man, who focuses on my work and football, I have been stopped and searched after a football game when making my way home.
I was with a few of my teammates when the post-football stop and search happened. At the time, the police saw us in a rented car (provided by the university) and they suspected us to be drug dealers. They then proceeded to surround the car with police officers before hand cuffing myself and my other black teammate FIRST.
They then proceeded to call my Black friend a ‘thug’ and moved him away from the rest of us; I identify that as a discriminatory action. They found nothing on us (as expected) but the whole process of how they dealt with us was horrible.
However, that treatment is nothing compared to what I have seen with George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice, Elijah McClain, Belly Mujinga and many other black people that had their lives taken due to an unjust system, and this scares me.
As a black person, we are more likely to get stopped and searched and treated like the names above. The fact that so many innocent Black people have been murdered, brutally harmed and discriminated from the ‘enforcers of the law’ is part of a wider issue and still highlights segregation in this modern day. These unfair actions have caused an uproar in our generation and motivated us to promote the matter so far and wide.
My position as a Youth Advisory Panel member can help to tackle this discrimination by helping to provide a youth perspective on all relevant campaigns, including Black Lives Matter. Myself, the Youth Advisory Panel, the Alliance and wider sector must now use our ‘voices’ to inform other people of this movement and why it is important to support it.
It’s inspiring to see how organisations, such as the Premier League are promoting the Black Lives Matter movement and encouraging those in power positions to use their platforms as a voice to spread the movement. This is not enough though; words can speak louder than actions.
It now lies to all organisations in the sport and recreation sector to take action; through developing equality and diversity policies, to providing mandatory racial recognition/development/inclusion training for coaches of all levels, to ensuring people of BAME backgrounds are equipped with the opportunities that allow for key decision making roles within the sector.
This is more than just lip service though, this is change. Change across the UK to develop employment opportunities for young, black people, change in how we talk and how we think, instilling confidence to call out discrimination where justified. A change to our biases- conscious and unconscious. But this cannot be created without everyone’s voice. When society and our sector listen to our young stakeholders, our action becomes more united in strength.
Without the voice of everyone, we are powerless to enact the change we really want.
Please just remember, black lives really do matter