Complicity and Duplicity: the EDL and Quilliam

By Yasmin Begum, Development Intern for V4CE

In recent weeks the English Defence League's (EDL) Tommy Robinson has announced his departure from the group through the anti-extremist organisation Quilliam. At a press conference in central London with Quilliam, he discussed “the dangers of far right extremism”, the non-productive nature of street demonstrations and the “on-going need to counter Islamist ideology . 

How important is the BAME vote to arts organisations?

By Ngoma Bishop, Voluntary Chief Officer the Black & Ethnic Minority Arts Network (BEMA)

In light of the impending General Elections in 2015 we see how extremely important our political vote will be to ensure the continuation and stability of our work. The Black and Ethnic Minority Arts Network (BEMA), also known as ‘the arts in harmony network’ is an informal alliance of individual artists, arts organisations, promoters, producers and others with an interest in improving availability of quality art to the public and of developing cultural activity as a means of promoting tolerance, equality and education. 

“United in Britishness?”

By Alexandra MaCrae, Equalities Officer for Black Southwest Network (BSWN)

On 5th September 2013 addressing a meeting of leading Councillors and senior Council Officials from England and Wales at the QE2 Centre in Parliament Square, London Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government paid tribute to the work done by local authorities in keeping our streets safe from crime. He began his speech, which he entitled ‘ United in Britishness’, saying: 

Making sense: Navigating the advice and information needs of non-English speaking single parents

By Anna Pietrowski of Gingerbread - single parents, equal families

Gingerbread is the national charity for single parents families. We provide expert advice, practical support and campaign for single parents. We also work with practitioners supporting single parents.
Single parents often face difficult situations that require the organisations working with them to relay complex advice and information. For single parents who are non-English speakers or who have English as a second language, getting the right support during key periods – such as looking for work or sorting out housing – can be even more important. 

A review of the public meeting supporting Immigrants in London and what local groups can do

By Yasmin Begum, Project Development Intern of Voice4Change England (V4CE)

Yesterday the Refugee and Migrant Forum of East London (RAMFEL) and Migrant Rights Network joined forces to run a workshop in New Cross around the ‘Go Home’ van campaign and wider immigration-related issues. In addition, the Newham Monitoring Project (NMP) delivered a workshop on the legality of spot-checks, which has now become more highly profiled in light of the ‘Go Home’ van.

Playing the immigration 'wild card'

By Kunle Olulode, chief executive of Voice4Change England (V4CE)

The mobile poster van says; In the UK illegally? Go home or face arrest.’ The words are set over the anonymous image of a Home Office Enforcement Officer dangling handcuffs. The term ‘White Van Man’ may never be seen in the same way again!
A few days later over in the predominantly Asian enclave of Southall, Southall Black Sisters lead a boisterous and noisy demonstration in the face of bemused and sheepish looking UK Borders Agency Officers. The scene is relayed over and over again on You Tube for the whole world to view. This is Britain summer 2013. A year ago we were being dazzled by the spectacle of the Olympic Games in all its multi-cultural splendour. The unbridled collective of international joy of those games seems a long, long way from the negative scenes and images now being conveyed of foreign workers and illegal immigrants.

3 interesting things you might not know that we learnt about Parliament

By Samantha Reeve, policy officer of Voice4Change England (V4CE)

Centre: Samantha Reeve with Policy and Parliamentary training attendees
In July we held two Parliamentary training sessions, one in London and the other in Birmingham. As part of our Strengthening Voices Project we invited BME organisations interested in learning about how Parliament works and how they can influence policy. The sessions were organised in partnership with the Parliamentary Outreach Service. 

'It is time to accept that identity in the 21st century is more fluid than it ever has been'

By Kunle Olulode, chief executive of Voice4Change England (V4CE)

Back in 1990 in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, then senior minister Norman Tebbit questioned the loyalties of Asian immigrants to the UK, using the example of cricket. Tebbit's "Cricket Test" was thus born. His provocative suggestion was clear, that the side ethnic minorities cheer for – England or their country of origin – should be a barometer of whether they are truly British..

Is the government serious about reviewing stop and search?

By Dan Silver, director of the Social Action & Research Foundation

The government is undertaking a six-week public consultation in England and Wales on the use of controversial "stop and search" powers, as the Home Secretary Theresa May has said it was "time to get stop and search right".

Can the BME/Muslim VCS sector afford to stay silent in the face of racialisation of grooming & child sexual exploitation?

By Saqib Deshmukh, V4CE Development Officer

Over the last year the dominating narrative to do with child sexual exploitation has centred on Pakistani/Muslim communities. The cases in Rochdale, Oxford and other areas have caught the public eye and despite there being clear differences in these cases have created a set of racially driven stereotypes that have not been helpful to our communities and in many cases have been downright dangerous.
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