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Addressing the balance of equality, race and disability

Julie Jaye Charle

FOR 20 years, the Equalities National Council has worked with both prime ministers and government officials, to make it very clear that we believe there is an imbalance in how resources are allocated to black and minority ethnic (BME) organisations working on a grass roots level, compared to non-BME national and local organisations,

It is time for us to have an open discussion about why BME organisations are closing rapidly up and down the country in England and Wales, due to lack of recognition and lack of power to continue to fight their cause for the most vulnerable they serve.

As the CEO of Equalities National Council, I am appalled that there is quite openly discriminatory practices in all levels of government department.

I am even more so appalled and embarrassed as a black British woman when I go to a meeting and I am the only BME individual attending. Is this because I shout the loudest or is it because Equalities National Council secures funding to sustain our ability to provide services to the most vulnerable communities in society today?

It's not that I shout the loudest, it is not that Equalities National Council is flooded with funds, it is not that Equalities National Council have Lords and leaders patting us on the back saying how well we are doing, but truth be it we have been managing by a shoe string for a long time. If the government or shadow government offered sufficient support there would be enough to go around, but this is not the case. Do we not exist?

We have facts and figures from England and Wales that proves in numbers the amount of disabled BME individuals in the country by local authority, we are also aware as a population that our youth are in turmoil.

I have two grandsons and no way would I encourage them to spend their lives in a country which does not respect, eliminate or provide for those who are ending up in our criminal justice systems. The country needs to change its attitudes towards young individuals struggling to survive.

Disabled people come as individuals in their own right to us. Many of them access support in time of need - this is usually across housing, employment, further education, welfare benefits, health and social well being and immigration.

They do not have the funds to access legal representation and they do not have the funds to adequately feed their families.

As a community we can no longer hide, we must support each other and disabled people should not be excluded from that.

United we stand, divided we fall, we can do this but we need your support and partnership!

The Include Me TOO charity, a national charity for BAME disabled children, young people and their families, has organised a roundtable discussion to take place next week. Any enquires regarding the event to be sent to: im2@includemetoo.org.uk or Dot Owen dot@includemetoo.org.uk. Contact number 01902 399888 or 01902 711604

- Julie Jaye Charles is a government advisor and CEO of the Equalities National Council

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