#BLACKLIVESMATTER - A statement supporting protests seeking racial equity and justice

Black Lives Matter
Source: Black Lives Matter

This article originally appeared on Ashoka Hello Europe.


Solidarity with those seeking justice

As Ashoka Hello Europe, we stand in solidarity with our Black community, both in the United States and abroad, and our community of social entrepreneurs and changemakers who are seeking justice through protests and fighting racism, inequality and oppression. We believe in a world where everyone has the same rights, and the same opportunities, and where we all can express love and respect in action. This is impossible unless our communities are diverse and inclusive.

In Europe, we also have a long way to go in order to address the serious injustices embedded in our legal and social systems that have silenced, oppressed and ignored many communities based on their ethnicity, race, country of origin, gender, and sexual orientation amongst other factors (see “In Europe, we also can’t breathe” for a perspective on this). We are committed to actively engage in the struggle to rid our societies of systemic racial and ethnic discrimination.

In the quest for enduring systemic change in this area, we know it will be central to learn from and follow the lead of changemakers and social entrepreneurs the communities most affected by these systems.

For Europe, one of the major challenges in this sense is to recognize, support and make visible changemakers and social entrepreneurs from migrant, racialized and minority backgrounds, including Romani leaders. This is, in fact, one of the key strategies for Ashoka’s Hello Europe (see this recent report we co-authored on the need for more support for Social Entrepreneurs from a Migrant Background). However, we acknowledge that we are far from the diverse and inclusive community we hope to be.

As we build that community together, we invite you to engage actively in the struggle against systemic racism and injustice. Here are some steps:

  • Learn: Check out some of the work and words of Ashoka Fellows who are directly engaging in these issues. Here are some in the USthat are leading on these issues.

Also, educate yourself on particular issues related to race and how these systems have been built and continue to function. Here and here you can find some great resources. In Europe, you might also want to learn more in depth about specific forms of racism such as anti-gypsysim (you can read a definition from Ergon Network's website here or go deeper here) and anti-immigration (check out PorCausa's "Branding Guide For Migration" for a fresh approach on how to think about migration).

  • Take Action: Inaction is not an option. If you’re unsure on where to start, check out this list. Also, find organizations you can support or join in Europe. Look through our Portfolio of Solutions, for example, or check out specific anti-racist organizations here.

  • Listen to friends and colleagues from racialized or migrant backgrounds and share with your own friends and family: This may be a challenge if we have never engaged in a conversation with people who have been victimized because of their skin color or country of origin, especially if we have never had the same experience. Don’t let fear keep you silent.

Reach out and especially listen, trusting them and their experience. Lament together, join them in protests and sharing helpful social media. Learn from them and follow their lead.

Also, reach out to family and friends who may be struggling to understand, or completely oblivious to what is going on. As you educate yourself, bring topics up at the dinner table or parent-teacher meetings, call out injustice where you see it, and engage in the topic, to help us all get a better understanding.

These are times of pain and anger, but also opportunities for profound transformation, both personally and systemically. We look forward to continuing to learn and grow together as a community seeking to transform the world into a better place for everyone.

Other resources:

Ashoka US statement and list of fellows

Ashoka U – An open letter and some great resources on systemic racism in the US Statement and steps to change from ChangemakersXchange

Articles on structural racism in Europe (and policy): "In Europe we also can't breathe" by Yassine Boubout and "Europeans of colour are finding their voice – it's time 'Brussles so white' listened" by Shada Islam

If you have other resources to share or want to reach out and connect with our team, drop us a note at helloeurope-at-ashoka.org

And, you can read about The Hello Nordics Accelerator here, where 10 social entrepreneurs developed proven solutions to migrants’ challenges in the Nordic region, and in particular how they can scale the impact of their work. The accelerator also provided a forum for all participants to share inspiration with each other, forge new partnerships and lay the foundation for future co-creation across the Nordics.