June 03, 2020

Make Our Rights Reality stands for the rights of black young people

Make Our Rights Reality

Make Our Rights Reality stands for the rights of black young people 

We are a movement standing up for the rights of young people. 

The events of the past few weeks have thrown into stark focus the fact that, for black young people, those rights are too often disregarded, disrespected and out of reach. 

While we are faced with the confusion, fear and practical challenges thrown up by an epidemic which is disproportionately killing black and minority ethnic people, we must also bear witness to the brutal and unpunished killing of black people in the country which our government deems its closest ally. Racism and racial injustice are nothing new, but this week, especially, it’s taking its toll. 

To our black friends, the Make Our Rights Reality community wants to make it very clear that we see you and we stand with you. We stand arm in arm with those on the frontline against racism and racial injustice. And we will always strive to do what we can to ensure your rights are met. You are welcome and cherished in our community and we will work to equip and empower you to build the change that we so desperately need. 

We believe in the very foundations upon which our human rights stand – equality and non-discrimination. And we recognise that equal treatment doesn’t mean identical treatment. Right now, our black friends need a little more care, a little more space, a little more support just to make it through the day. And we are working to make sure we’re doing our part. 

The staff team at Youth Access, where Make Our Rights Reality is coordinated, is very small, so we’re not always quick to produce big, fancy resources. But they are a team who care, deeply and genuinely, about human rights and social justice. They are a team that has rallied around to look after black colleagues at this tough time and shifted their workplans to better serve black young people and the professionals who support them, in this moment and beyond.  

We are all too aware that black young people find it particularly difficult to get what they need from a mental health system which struggles to meet the needs of young adults across the country, and we’re making sure our networks are looking critically at how we can improve that situation. That said, if you are in need of support, you should reach out. You can use the Youth Access search tool to see if there’s an appropriate mental health service near you, and there are also some organisations catering specifically to black people.

The staff team (well, Saf, our Black and brilliant Campaigns and Youth Engagement Assistant) has pulled together a detailed list of resources to support black young people with their mental health at this challenging time. Here are just a handful of her suggestions:

To our white and non-black friends, we’re also here to help you to be the best allies you can be. We know you understand the principles of human rights and are committed to re-building systems so that they’re no longer rigged against marginalised and minority communities. We won’t try to reinvent the wheel when it comes to anti-racist guidance, black history and tips for being a good ally, as there are so many resources out there. We’ll just direct you to  a few links below where you can take some steps to supporting black rights. 

We appreciate our brilliant community now more than ever. And now more than ever, let’s stand together to say, loudly, Black. Lives. Matter. 


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