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Where are Brexit's black voices?

CALL TO ACTION: Campaigner Gina Miller is urging people from the BAME community to share their views on Brexit

BLACK AND minority ethnic (BAME) people need to do more to make their voices heard on Brexit.

That’s according to Gina Miller, the transparency campaigner who successfully led a legal case against the government over the triggering of Article 50. Miller told The Voice that although the people from the BAME community were facing a lot of the same issues as others in relation to the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, they were missing from the debate.

She said: “I think one of the saddest things I’ve discovered is that the BAME community is not being vocal enough.

“They’re experiencing a lot of frustrations – as every other sector of society is – but their voices are not being heard.

“We are not hearing from black business owners, from artists, from musicians – because this all impacts on them and we need to hear [from them]. The BAME community needs to be much more vocal about what Brexit is going to mean for them and their lives in Britain.” Miller, who launched a new campaign, end the chaos!, in Dover Town Hall last Friday (September 14) to promote understanding about Brexit, toured the country during the summer to speak to ordinary people about their feelings on the issue.

She told the audience: “Over the summer, I’ve been travelling around Britain and talking to people from every walk of life, background, and region of our country.”

Yet despite her statements that Brexit was an issue that affected those of varying backgrounds, neither Miller’s campaign video nor the panels of experts and everyday people at the event featured people from a BAME background.

She said that although she had spoken to numerous BAME people during her tour, they were reluctant to appear as part of her campaign when she asked them to.

She told The Voice: “Over the six weeks I’ve been out, I’ve specifically been talking to people in the BAME community, saying you’ve got to be part of these panels, you’ve got to be part of our campaign film.

“We desperately wanted to make a film ... we could not find a single person to agree and that’s with me having over 50 conversations. I could not find a single person who was willing to go on camera.”

She added: “One of the reasons I think they won’t go on camera is because there has been a rise in racism and abuse. I mean, I’m experiencing it every single day and that is palpable and for their children because even if you’re mixed race or whatever you can’t hide the colour of your skin and so there is a massive concern about what this rise in racism will mean for children and grandchildren and people are really, really upset and angry about it.”

Despite the prospect of a new wave of racist backlash in response to speaking out in opposition to Brexit, Miller has persevered with her campaign.

She said: “This campaign will increase the hatred towards me, I know that.

“But the fact is I’m a very strong person and I can deal with that. But what I need to do is amplify the concerns of other people.

“I am a fighter and those voices of bullies, and racism and misogyny which are now coming front and centre in politics and in wider society ... I simply cannot let them get away with it.”

WHAT WILL BREXIT MEAN FOR OUR BUSINESSES?

TAYO IDOWU, founder of Business Networking and Growth London, said that some of the tech business owners that he works with have expressed concerns about what kind of workers they’re going to be able to recruit in the UK and the extra costs they may face post-Brexit.

“A lot of them export their technologies abroad to Europe so they’re not going to know now what the relationship is going to be with Europe in terms of exporting their technologies and what tariffs may or may not be in place,” he said.

He also said black business owners could face problems accessing finance if lenders become more risk-averse in the immediate aftermath of Brexit.

Asari St-Hill, business growth expert and trainer at Action Coach, says that black business owners should look to the possibilities that Brexit could bring.

He told The Voice that they should “forget about what all the politicians are saying… [just ask] what is the benefit?

“Is there any benefit in Brexit for me and my business...not is it good for Britain...but is it good for our businesses and our community?”

St-Hill said: “The whole Brexit situation does open potential doors for us to look much wider than Europe and look to our brothers and sisters who are living in other parts for the world who we could do business with.”

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