Updated: Oct 3, 2020
What Can We Do? is a community hub to amplify the voices of organisations and initiatives providing help and support to each other during times of crisis.
Right now, we will not crowd out the black voices, we will let them speak and be heard. We support them and we want to let it be known that the What Can We Do? team supports those who continue to seek justice for George Floyd, Belly Mujinga and the BAME community as a whole.
We will continue to share their resources on our site and social media accounts. We will listen, and share what they recommend that we can do to support the black community. And, we will do our bit to help and support each other to end racism, and continue to proactively be anti-racist.
The George Floyd killing is just as relevant in the UK as it is in the US, and racial disadvantages move beyond state racism into all areas of life – including health.
As we are in the midst of a global health crisis it is vital to look at how different communities are being affected, why, and what can be done.
BAME communities and COVID-19
BAME communities are disproportionately affected by the pandemic. According to a recent report between February and the end of April 2020, black people in England were 71% more likely to die from COVID-19 than white people.
This is supported by an analysis by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) confirming that BAME groups are 4x more likely to die of COVID-19. There is no evidence that genes explain the excess risk of COVID susceptibility, and this once again highlights the prevalence of health inequality in the UK.
Additionally the Ubele Initiative found from their surveys that between 19 March and 4 April that “9 out of 10 BAME micro and small organisations are set to close if the crisis continues beyond 3 months following the lockdown”. Read more about the strategic response of the Ubele Initiative to COVID-19 affecting BAME communities.
Continue reading to see what we can do to support the BAME community in response to the George Floyd killing and the struggles compounded by the pandemic. We have also shared some resources to further educate ourselves on how to be anti-racist.
These resources shared by the What Can We Do? team are by no means an exhaustive list of ways to help, support and learn. We are still learning and are committed to continue to do so! We are not experts, and want to continue to be a communal learning and sharing platform.
Please do not hesitate to contact us with more suggestions and resources. We would LOVE to do more and do better.
How to support the BAME community through COVID-19 and beyond
What Can We Do? features many organisations, groups and charities run by and in support of BAME groups which provide alternative ways to support during this time.
Especially for those who are still self-isolating and social distancing – the options below are excellent ways to still show your support from your home. If you are not joining the protests, this article in The Independent outlines more about what you can do from home.
Learn about diversity and Black history in the UK
Read and inform yourself using these anti-racism resources
Inform yourself about diversity in the UK.
Sign sign sign those petitions to support BAME communities
Let’s get educated! Battle racism by updating GCSE reading lists.
Help find and prosecute the individual who assaulted Belly Mujinga at London Victoria whilst knowingly being infected with COVID-19.
And for more petitions still, check out our petitions page.
Feeling upset, concerned, angry, lonely, helpless? Find BAME mental health support and talk to someone.
The Mental Health Foundation supports BAME communities.
Mind.org runs several programmes providing mental health support for black men.
If you want to talk – about anything – call the Chit-Chat hotline. Number: 0333 002 0333, open 9am – 9pm, 7 days a week.
Peckham Befrienders is an adult mental health service for Black & Minority Ethnic (BME) people (aged 18-65yrs) who are currently receiving care from SLaM (South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust). Call: 020 3228 9833.
Donate to BAME groups and keep their vital work going
Find more on our donations page.
Majonzi fund: Covid-19 bereavement fund: Majonzi Fund (in Swahili means grief or deep sorrow). They provide small grants to help BAME communities, families and work colleagues, community and faith groups so they can organise memorial events and tributes to celebrate and commemorate the lives of loved ones post-lockdown.
Imkaan: Imkaan is the only UK-based, second-tier women’s organisation dedicated to addressing violence against Black and minoritised women and girls.
Southall Black Sisters help to continue emergency services to protect those experiencing gender-based violence.
The Resourcing Racial Justice fund is a coalition of people of colour (POC) innovators, change makers, activists, artists and social leaders dedicated to social change. Together, they have established a new UK wide-funding pool to support individuals and communities working towards racial justice.
The UFFC (The United Family and Friends Campaign) is a coalition of those affected by deaths in police, prison and psychiatric custody, and supports others in similar situations. Established in 1997 initially as a network of Black families, now includes the families and friends of people from varied ethnicities who have also died in custody.
Hopscotch are building better opportunities for women. They assist women from 16-65+ from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, on a whole range of issues.
Donate to Voyage – providing transformative leadership programmes for young people from BAME communities.
Get to know people and volunteer
Step outside your echo chambers but don’t expect black people to educate you – learning about anti-racism is your responsibility. You can still do more to actively help BAME communities and through volunteering learn about and support specific issues.
Get involved with Black Thrive – a partnership for Black mental health in Lambeth.
Volunteer at the Black National Archives. The only national heritage centre dedicated to collecting, preserving and celebrating the histories of African and Caribbean people in Britain.
The Baytree Centre is a social inclusion charity for women and girls based in the heart of Brixton, South London. You can also donate and fundraise.
Volunteer with The Africa Centre. A charity dedicated to providing the African diaspora, and all people with an interest in Africa. It is a platform for experiencing events and engaging in discussions on culture, education, business and art.
Also as an organisation – don’t overlook black people as volunteers!
Support BME youth in gaining employment opportunities.
Join 100 Black Men of London – become a member or volunteer and collaborate with other like-minded professional passionate and positive Black men and women. If you can’t give your time, you can also donate.
Other ways to support BAME communities
For even more information on how to support, visit Black Lives Matter’s ‘Ways to Help’.
Also see Resources for Accountability and Action for Black Lives. It mainly contains resources for the US but note ‘Ways to Support Outside of Donating’ and ‘Additional Action-Oriented Google Doc to share’.
Watch the episode “Exploring the Media’s Role in COVID-19” with acclaimed author Marc Lamont Hill and and Black Lives Matter Global Network, Managing Director, Kailee Scales.
Join these 5 online workouts by women of colour.
Read and join ROTA to put Race On The Agenda – this specific letter is from race equality organisations writing to the PM asking him to consider the racial disproportionality in the government’s response to COVID-19.
Support black-owned businesses from the UK – read about selection on this post, includes: fashion & accessories, beauty & haircare, home & lifestyle, cookbooks, food & drink.
And make sure that you check out the work of CORE – the Coalition of Race Equality Organisations (formerly the Coalition of BME VCS organisations) – which brings together many of the UK’s leading black and minority ethnic voluntary and community organisations for the promotion of race equality. The coalition includes: