As a national collective of people with lived experience of poverty and organisations which support them, we stand together with others to acknowledge that racism is here in the UK and raise our voices to say, it is not acceptable to believe that some human beings are worth less than others. We stand against racism in any form.
Understanding a problem from the outside, speaking on behalf of others – without the reality and wisdom of those who live with it everyday will never find sustainable nor truthful answers. We know that at this time we must listen even more deeply to our members for whom racism is part of the everyday.
Members who tell us:
“Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak. We ran away from a country where there is a war. Ran away to make our lives better. But I am afraid here too. This shouldn’t happen. We want to live in peace. There is a lot to do, we have to learn to see each other as human beings. We are sisters and brothers.”
“We might have a voice, and we might be being listened to, but what we need is action. We see politicians tweeting about Black Lives Matter, and we ask them, where have you been when we have been campaigning for change, when we have been writing to you for these last 3 years? I don’t know where we find our strength but we do.”
“Poverty and racism go hand in hand. Neither one of them is your own fault.”
“We have to make society more aware of racism, and of human rights.”
“Before coming to Scotland, I did not know what discrimination and racial discrimination were. When I experienced racism I first denied it. I was in a denial because I found it difficult to accept that some people on a ground of their colour see themselves as ‘better than others and therefore treat them unfairly. I have been struggling to see racism because to me there is no difference between ‘White’ or ‘Black’ we are all from the human race, we are all human beings. We are all the same.
When I finally understood and accepted that racism was happening to me and also to people like me I kept quiet. I kept quiet when experiencing or witnessing racism because of fear. I kept quiet because I was scared of not being listening to, not being believed and not being supported.
In housing for example, I experienced people being allocated difficult to live in houses because of their colour or because of them being poor I kept quiet and my heart was bleeding.
In term of employment, I have experienced not being properly trained and supported in my role and yet being told I am not making any progress. And I kept quiet!
Now I don’t want to keep quiet anymore.
I want to join my voice with other people; I want to share my experience; I also want to listen to others’ experiences and together raise our voices to say: Racial discrimination, discrimination on the ground of people’s ‘characteristics’ is not ok.
There is a lot to do. We are listening, we are talking, we are not keeping quiet. We are not afraid of having difficult conversations, and will continue to do so. We will work with others across society to ensure the voices we hear effect change.