Tag Archives: social inclusion

Black Hibernation Month

For the months of October and February in the UK and America there are celebrations which look at the history and tradition of black people according to how the funders set the stall out.

The time when the celebrations are made are usually when it just starts to become dark or when it is really cold. In the UK it is dark and beginning to be cold in the month of October so events do get attendance but really you want to hibernate. In the US the month of February which can be warm or cold depending on which part of the country you are in.

The festival should be in both July and August as it is summer and most of the kids are on holiday and so it can be a time to reinforce the knowledge which people have about African history. There should not be one month of just history it should be a year round thing with the two months being festivals mirroring those in the main land of Africa, with tribal dances, drumming and story telling, and the talks which outline the importance of these activities.

Many of the topics of black history month look at social progress, though if you are talking about history, you need to look also at the political and economic factors. If you look at just the social factors then you have no economic awareness which means you rely on another group which is happening now. You should be able to get economic information about business owners, wealth black people and how you can help your communities through wealth and income, i.e. learning that money is not a contentious issue but an important on.

Politics is important too as we look at thinks on the surface and think just because someone was said to do good for black people they were good people. Rather, we should look at what the person did to improve our economic (wealth building, job creation and access to finances) situation. Like with elections, we need to learn how to get together and ask people how they will help us and what we can do to guarantee their assistance.

The reason I believe, there is political and economic factors missing in black history presentations and the same or similar people being talked about is the events are provided by the local authority. If your presentation is publicly funded then you will need to keep to an agenda, which is favourable to them. The better alternative is to have your own event, and listing it on websites within the local area you live.

There are places you can look which can suggest free or low cost buildings and rooms for rent to hold a presentation or event. The costs can be recouped if you do it through do nations or charge a price you think is reasonable for the event.

If you live in the UK and would like to find a venue for black history events or other events, you can find some here.

Further Information

Black History Month (UK) 2016

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Black Based Food Quarter

In the UK it is that time of year where the sun should be out and the weather is much warmer. This means there are festivals up and down the country and this includes African and Caribbean based ones, like most cultures food is an important aspect, how its prepared and cooked which makes it distinctive from other cultures.

It is good that there are food festivals of African and Caribbean foods, but what would be a great thing would be if there was incentives for the food vendors to create more businesses in particular areas in the UK.

In the studying and working within the regeneration sector, one of the project which spring to mind which I worked on was a food quarter, which was used as a basis for developing an ethnic food quarter in South Wales. This was seen as a way you could get jobs and investement into a local area.

Like many of the blogs I have written previously, I am no expert and I am not just trying to talk about the problem, I would like to add something of value into the discussion which is actionable.

There are areas of cities and towns in the UK which have ethnicities stamps on them, just not the Caribbean and African Stamp. This is demonstrated by the South and South East Asians who have their own areas and towns, with restaurants, food shops and market stalls, like China Town and Pakistani and Indian areas, throughout the UK..

For example each area of the country where there is a sizeable South Asian population you will find a area with their businesses and restaurants.

For South Asians you have:

  • Curry Mile – Birmingham
  • Brick Lane – London
  • Golden Mile – Leicester

For China Towns they are in the following Towns and Cities:

  • Birmingham
  • London
  • Leeds
  • Leicester
  • Liverpool
  • Manchester
  • Scotland
  • Sheffield
  • Wales

These ethnic food quarters have tourist visits as they have a uniqueness to their food and goods. In African and Caribbean areas there are no food businesses which are open to tourism and the restaurants which are open, are usually all the things which are said to be part of a bad customer experience.

Based on the needs of black people in the UK and worldwide a food quarter should be created for various reasons. The main ones are for money to stay with in the community and for investement from outside. You can see this with the China Towns and the Asian area.

Asians (South and South Eastern) will shop within the food quarters for their own foods, goods and other items, but also you will see other races coming into the areas to eat food in the restaurants. If black people do create a food quarter we would need to make our food more neutral and appealing to the greater masses like the Asians do. This will be more economically prosperous for the black based food quarter.

The prices of the food would need to be more affordable, if black food businesses were to say organically create a food quarter in a particular area, the vision would need to be shared in regards to the direction which is taken, this would then make sure that there is a high standard of food and service delivery, something which is not necessarily in place at the moment, but can be worked on outside of the public sphere.

The service and food standards would be guaranteed by the level of training the businesses incorporate. Another would be the suppliers as there would be a need to buy from suppliers who supplied foods which the businesses could sell, which is safe and of a high standard. 

There are some good quality, product and customer service being provided by, black food businesses, but they are either not owned by black people or in places where the price is not affordable. This is fine for these places but then there is a lack of employment of our own people a food quarter would ensure we can create our own businesses but also employ our own people at the same time, with a stamp that we do live in the UK or which ever country we are in around the world (outside of Africa).

Further information

Balti Triangle (Birmingham)

Curry Mile (Birmingham)

Golden Mile (Leicester)

Food Quarter (Bath)

China Towns (Europe)

Birmingham Caribbean Festival

 

Regeneration not gentrification

There has been a lot of talk, road shows on and documentaries on gentrification within black areas, the story does need to be told. Having studied regeneration and worked in a aspect of this (digital inclusion). I know that there is a fine balance between regeneration and gentrification.

The aim of most local authorities, regional, local councils and municipalities in areas, which are deprived, is to attract investment into the area. This could be from national and multinational companies. To do this a local authority will build office buildings and warehouses which these companies can move into, once they commit to moving their operations into the local area.

There is also an ambition to develop housing and social activities of the residents in that area. This can be through having new housing being built which his largely funded by a supermarket.

Regeneration can benefit all if it is designed and local residents get to access opportunities the same as everyone else. This means you will need information about financial and social capital (something I have talked about before). The problems come when you are not able to get the information or resources to set up businesses or get new housing.

Gentrification occurs when big businesses come to a town or city, which has bid for them to come and set up shop, with the local councils promise of giving tax breaks and skilled workers. If you are not a skilled worker then you might not get a decent paying role and usually big companies bring staff with them so many positions are filled.

If you want to get housing, often you begin to be priced out by the people who have the decent jobs with the new companies who have moved in and are living locally with new shops appearing which are out of your budget.

Regeneration is a fine line, I often explain to people that regeneration is getting investment and developing poor areas to make them more prosperous, though the people who live their now need to prosper with the prosperity, not be or feel left behind.

To get away from the gentrification theme and build on a regeneration theme more people need information and access to regeneration resources and information. If you are interest (if you live in the UK) you can look on the upliftment information community resources page. We have also listed some links below to help you find out more about regeneration and how you can help develop your local area.

Further Information

Upliftment Information Community Resources

Direct Black Investment

Tesco Building 4,000 Homes

Supermarkets building Homes Above Stores

Regeneration – Wembley Regeneration Project

 

Business As Usual

Recently, there have been the shootings and the deaths as a result. Black people on social media and over the internet have been talking about what to do next and how to go about stopping these things happening in the future. I remember in 2014, when my wife and I became more enlightened and started to see things from a deeper perspective. Micheal Brown was shot and we emotionally got sucked into the talk of taking action, at that time we were just finding our feet.

Over time we no realise that many people like to talk and as we are trying to set ourselves up to become more independent we are now not emotionally attached to the american situation since African Americans by and large only think about themselves and things which affect america.

I have set this site up and blogged over the last two years (even before Ferguson) to assist people with information and sources on developing their local communities through regeneration (since I have knowledge and experience of working in this area).

Many of the blogs I have posted are about community development through, physical regeneration (sweeting your walkway., doing your garden, cleaning/painting your walls), developing a regeneration strategy, creating black businesses and (a strong area of mine) bridging the digital divide, ensuring you are digitally literate so you can engage in certain conversations.

So, my position now is to be business as usual and continue with the work I am doing to become selfsufficient but also post information you might find useful on the website (at semi regular intervals).

I hope many black people are working towards, making things better for their people over a medium to long term rather than taking too much time out now to look at short term discussion points which do not deliver in the long term.

Black People And Touch Screens

Introduction

This extended blog is a guide to how you can support black people who have little experience of the internet and using internet enabled devices.

I have previous experience in creating and testing methods in how older and socially excluded persons can access the internet with different types of technology.

Previously I had managed projects which looked at providing older and socially excluded audiences with devices and the internet and seeing which devices (netbook, touch screen smartphone and touch screen computer) worked best for their needs.

The technology which was most effective was the touch screen technology (smartphone and computer). This was due to the layout and the ease of access to the applications they could use to browse the internet, send emails and video call, which are all things older persons find valuable about their technology use.

(Note. Digital Exclusion is those who do not have access to the internet, either by mobile internet, broadband or television internet)

These Users

The black enlightened network does not always realise that is it is based online, and can network and share information with others around the world. Most of the participants are younger and have access to a broadband or mobile internet connection.

The digitally excluded, with information to share may not have such access or the knowledge on how to use these devices. Although online engagement should not start and end the participation, it can be a accessible start.

Being able to fuse together the older generations get up and go know-how with the younger generations knowledge of technology great strides could be made.

How The Digitally Excluded Should Use Technology

Technology which digitally excluded users should use, is suggested to be simpler and more convenient, than your own device, since they may not be as skilled as you are at using different devices.

Screen size is important as they will need this to read the text or see the pictures, though it should be noted that the bigger the screen the more expensive the device will be.

Screen size can also assist in having ease of access to some of the following:

  • Internet Banking
  • Paying bills
  • Online Shopping
  • Skype
  • Checking and Sending Emails
  • Using Social Media
  • Internet Browsing

The device should be set up with a way in which they can check emails and notifications, send and check text messages.

Touch Screen Devices

Most of the applications and web pages are now created to match either the smartphone or tablets size, whilst a touch screen computer will have a desktop view.

This means social media sites will have applications if using a Smartphone or tablet that is easily accessible, with just your log in and password required.

You may purchase the touch screen device for some of the reasons below:

  • They just need to touch the icon on the screen.
  • Applications are accessible on one screen
  • Keyboard and mouse are optional
  • Ease of access to Audio, pictures and Videos

Connections

Some of you will have access to a internet connection, others may not. If you have a friend or relative who is new to the internet but would like it to keep in-touch.

You may assist them in selecting a service which would meet their usage, for example an unlimited internet package may not be suitable to them unless they are going to be subscribed to netflix or making many video calls.

If they are just using the internet to look at the internet and interact with people on social media and respond to emails then a package with a lower data allowance/lower bandwidth will do.

 

Ratings Economy

As a technical person, who works on electronic devices and provides advise on technology, which a person should purchase based on their usage. I have utilised device ratings and customer reviews when looking for appropriate devices.

As a people we should look to purchase products and provide reviews, rather than just liking or to favourite a product or a service. The effect of just liking or to favourite, based on reading about or just seeing a post which looks good has no benefits for the business owner in the long term.

There are ways in which providing a rating and review can help with the prosperity and improving your experience with that business, which can include

  • More people will be aware of other people who have the a product.
  • A community of users can be built who can have a say in how the product is developed to meet your specific needs.
  • There may be giveaways or rewards for more loyal custom and genuine product feedback.

In this increasing internet purchasing age we are now using more and more customer reviews to purchase, this should be the same with black businesses if you have used the service then you should comment or leave a favourite, rather than if you have not.

As a consumer you will know the importance of a customer review. If people just like or favourite a product it does not say much. A comment about a past experience will help otherwise it is pointless as a company cannot provide the same great service/product to more customers due to your actions.

Audio And Visual Plugging

Remembering back to the late 80’s and the early 90’s when
I would listen to pirate radio stations which would play
reggae and black music. These were ways in which black
people could play their music on the UK as the costs to
get a radio mast would be huge and for a Licence to play
songs this would be large too.

The radio stations still exist (on Analogue radio and as
internet radio stations) today in towns and cities across
the UK with a Afrocaibbean population. This is because we
originally created them to play our songs and music,
which would not be played on mainstream radio. Despite
them being illegal, many reggae artists do shout outs to
these radio stations, as they are channels which can be used to
bring more awareness of their music and songs.

The thing which these radio stations did which many of
the black people who talk about enlighted matters dont do
is promote local black owned businesses. As a kid when
recording these stations annoyance would set in as the
adverts would play but as a more enlightened adult I like
and understand the need for these adverts.

This links into the point of view that the enlightened
persons who provide information for black people should
have adverts on their audio and video posts for
businesses which are local or regional to them and some
of their following.

This will be useful to those with a large following and
the advertising would be for businesses which are
relevant to the demographic of the audience. On pirate
radio local black businesses advertise and you begin to
find out which businesses exist in that town or city and
also what events are going on locally and regionally.

As well as being able to provide opinions and information
you may also provide information on local businesses on
your videos and radio shows. The finer details in terms
of economic details for both parties are to be discussed
between yourselves.