Collective action must be a priority
For young Black people things are coming together, yet falling apart
The situation in the United Kingdom is bleak. An overlap of economic and environmental crises is hitting us hard. My generation is coming of age in the backdrop of this moment. Where do we go next? This article is a statement for my ambition for this generation to carve out a path through an embrace of community ambition. For us by us. Rather than by me for me.
Margaret Thatcher is largely regarded as one of the most influential and consequential prime ministers in British history. She reshaped the economy through the drastic reduction of the welfare state and a programme of privatising the British economy. But perhaps her most significant and lasting influence has been cultural. “There’s no such thing as society” is her most widely known quote. Her speech signalled what was to come. A society, atomised, to be defined only by the actions of individuals and the erosion of community. We have to abandon this.
Our community will only survive and prosper if we embrace collective ambition
For young Black people things are coming together, yet falling apart. More young Black people are gaining university places, yet Caribbean boys are being excluded from schools six times more than their white peers. A Black middle class is on the horizon, yet almost half of young Black children are growing up in poverty. Our community will only survive and prosper if we embrace collective ambition. How are young Black graduates teaching the knowledge that they have gained in universities to people in our community? What are we doing to make sure the community sees the profits of Black businesses? These are the questions of collective ambition.
To the politicians who may read this: the perspective that I am putting forward does not let political parties and governments off the hook in the fight against systemic racism, it’s a declaration of a roadmap for how we can survive and thrive in what are bleak and dangerous times.
Athian Akec is a former youth MP for Camden and author of the Beyond Black History Month series in i-D magazine
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