What Happens for Black Immigrant Women communities coming out of Lockdown? Is there a level playing field for Recovery Post-Lockdown? WODIN Investigates – Virtual Fireside chats
Women and Digital Inclusion (WODIN) working alongside MBS for Mental health in BAME communities UK on a National Survivor User Network (NSUN Side by Side) funded project, held 3 virtual fireside chats to talk about the recovery of the BME community post lockdown.
Our sessions focused on the inequalities black people face daily that have been exposed or further made worse by the covid-19 pandemic.
WODIN wanted a collective response towards BME Recovery from lockdown and Covid-19 effects.
Whether Covid-19 is manmade or nature’s gift to mankind, covid-19 is here and people are still facing challenges despite the easing of lockdown measures.
So, we looked at these questions in-depth:
What are the effects of C-19 on your community? The people you work with, your, city?
What is Your responsibility towards other people, what can you do to ensure we get back to a more sociable lifestyle?
An example is: A lot of vulnerable people couldn’t work due to Covid-19 and shielding, they were on Zero hours or temporary workers and now they are really facing poverty post lockdown!
Research held in Nov-Dec 2020 returned a general consensus that domestic abuse, child welfare, and mental health in BMEs are the concerns to be prioritised because of the effects of the pandemic. Alongside the likes of plastic pollution and modern-day slavery.
Concern has been especially high among younger people, understandably preoccupied with the looming prospect of recession and overall uncertainty about their future.
And, are we still thinking vaccination is a conspiracy, or is it a life-saving measure, and will this be an ongoing process like the flu jab?
We hope to have government measures on saving lives explained more.
Covid-19 Vaccination Yes or No?
We talked about the vaccination program and why we should encourage each other to get the vaccine unless it is medically not advisable for one not to get it.
Will there be a need for a 3rd dose or annual booster?
What are the side effects to women of childbearing age?
Front line workers esp. BAME. It’s been difficult for front-line services and workers who have been exposed to clinically hard environments.
Parenting – Online meetings, lessons, interviews. One positive, commuting and related stresses have been very low. That said some find the digital stuff challenging and tire very quickly. It’s now a common saying that one is feeling “Zoomed out”
It was also observed that…
The term BAME – is a blanket for black and brown people which further boxes us in. While allowing for mainstream services to bypass Black people, with the explanation that a lot of resources have been offered to the “BAME” communities across the UK.
Also, people are feeling pressured to get the vaccine. They feel judged if they haven’t yet got their jabs, this more so coming from the prime minister’s slogan of “jobs jobs jabs jabs”… Yet, some people feel they have valid reasons why they don’t wish to be vaccinated. They feel it’s a personal decision, not a legal or work-related one!
So, how do we guard ourselves and not be judged?
How do we educate our colleagues about being pro and anti-vaccine without getting the public backlash?
It was suggested that each person should base their anti-vac decision on an informed background and their own truth.
Also, under the equal opportunities new law, an employer cannot force workers/employees to take the vaccine. That said, a manager is within their discretion to not offer bank and work time to freelance/temporary workers who have not had the vaccine and many do.
Spiritual work – we must encourage, support, and pray for one another, we need to get closer to our God, each one has theirs.
Community intervention is essential if we are to rise up and recover from the effects of Covid-19 and the lockdowns.
The CEO and founder of MBS for Mental health in BAME communities UK Ms Justine Kigozi, shared a lot of both expert and parenting advice regarding mental health and resilience. She also shared her concerns that it seems Black people are at the bottom of the pecking order in every area of life in the UK. How do we change this narrative and step into our power on matters that matter to us?
Our summer fireside Virtual chats also gave attendees the tools to help them improve self-esteem, our relationship with social care services, and instill confidence in our parenting style going forward.
2 of the 3 sessions are shared below. We also created a working document that we are waiting for an appointment to present to the Liverpool Racial Equalities Committee asap. We had experts from the social care sector represented by Mrs. Rose Katana, and another Mental Health expert, a Clinical Manager in the NHS, as well as Jazz lover Mr. Ajit Raghoo. Tune in below and share your views too.
How do the BME rise above Emerging Challenges exposed by the Pandemic – Recovery Post-Lockdown Sessions 2 & 3
The BME communities need to step up and show up more, look for and take on Self-development opportunities.
Create a working document of cultural differences and practices that are still practiced in Africa and aren’t considered harmful. What behaviour is considered good in an African setting? And share this document with the Government esp. the police, social services, NHS etc.
We as immigrant parents need to treat our children as individuals that deserve respect too. Give them age-appropriate boundaries; a 17-year-old shouldn’t be treated the same way as a 7-year-old.
Let us change our attitude towards social services and the system, for “what you focus on expands”.
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