As a research and advocacy centre, the work of Centre Black is informed by direct experiences of discrimination and injustice; we amplify local voices and point to policy opportunities and audiences who create change.
We have access to a social-infrastructure which can leverage work at a national level amongst policy-makers, opinion-formers, NGO's and the wider public. Our work engages with local and national civic institutions and businesses, achieved through lobbying, collaborating, campaigning, and when necessary, direct action.
Centre Black was created by Do it Now Now, a non-profit committed to the empowerment of Black people through the provision of access to opportunities for social mobility through entrepreneurship and employment.
In response to the awful killing of George Floyd in the US, Black Lives Matter protests in the UK have highlighted once again the racism and inequality that exists here. Racial inequalities in the protection of human rights raised by the Black Lives Matter movement found that over three quarters of Black people in the UK do not believe their human rights are equally protected compared to white people.
Whilst the issues of racial inequality have been the subject of repeated reviews, the lack of progress in implementing the findings of those reviews has become a source of intense frustration and concern. Where actions have been taken, they have often been superficial and not had lasting effect.
Our aim through our research-based influencing and advocacy centre, Centre Black is not embarking on a new round of research in areas where the facts are already well established. Instead our focus is to apply academic rigour to subjects of concern within the Black community while empowering leaders within the community to significantly contribute to the research and outputs of the centre with clear action to implement these recommendations and look to how best to overcome the seeming inability for Government to act. We are determined to democratise knowledge creation and ensure that the Black community has an equal voice in matters that pertain to our experiences of the UK’s Justice systems.
Our vision is to create a society in which Black people are centred in the conversations that will determine our life experience in the UK. The research-based influencing and advocacy we do will enfranchise community leaders by making them equal partners in this work and it will empower them to become thought leaders within their local, regional, and national settings, contextualising their lived experience with recommendations they have contributed to. We will also actively seek to influence policy and advocate for the needs of underserved communities across the UK on the basis of the community-led research we publish and disseminate which focuses on four issues where inequality in the protection of human rights is of particular concern.
Through Do it Now Now's work, we know that over 60 percent of Black people in the UK do not believe their health is as equally protected by the NHS compared to white people. The mortality rate for Black women in childbirth is five times higher than for white women. The NHS acknowledge and regret this disparity, but have no target to end it. The impact on the Black community of COVID-19 has been disproportionately severe. Part of our work will be to ensure that any review or public inquiry into the Government’s response to COVID-19 must prioritise consideration of this unequal impact.
85 percent of Black people are not confident that they would be treated the same as a white person by the police.
We want to hold government and public bodies to account for their implementation of human rights commitments. Through our campaign and policy work, we want to ensure that the police carry out their own polling on this issue and set a target for reducing this startling lack of trust. The Lammy Review was commissioned in 2016 to address the issue of over-representation of Black people in the criminal justice system. Five years on, the recommendations of this review must be taken forward as a matter of priority.
Likewise, recommendations from the Angiolini review of deaths in custody which reference institutional racism, race or discrimination must be acted upon as a matter of urgency. However without the strengthening of voices in the human rights sphere and support for groups campaigning on these issues to build capacity and better organise, these recommendations will never be acted on.
We work to understand the specific experiences of the UK’s Black population across the four issues where inequality in the protection of human rights is of concern and when it comes to understanding, navigating, accessing, help-seeking, engaging with, and receiving support from these systems. We will also support grassroots organisations and advocacy groups to utilise the data, research and reports to inform policy, strengthen voice and scrutinise the responses and policies of powerful institutions and actors, while also building support for transformative social change based on justice, peace and sustainability.
Led by a sociologist and social policy researcher, we have a research-based approach that centres on the declared and observed needs and experience of our community members. However, during the pandemic, the continuing changing landscape means that our findings are often quickly out of date as we are not able to reach the depth and breadth of the UK’s Black communities in a way that would provide a useful picture of the needs that exist beyond our own provision of services in real-time.
Hence, we have built out capacity within our team to have consistent outreach throughout the year with our service users and the wider Black community across the UK. We are creating ongoing inputs through qualitative and quantitative means and similarly consistent outputs to ensure that we achieve democratisation of information so that research is useful for community leaders, decision-makers, civil society leaders and participants. Our goal is to be able to provide these real-time insights for our own work, but also utilise the research and real-time insights to ensure that large scale charities, local governments, and other stakeholders that are interested in engaging effectively with the Black community across the UK are able to do so effectively through us.