After 6 months on The Advocacy Academy's 2023/24 fellowship programme, 20 young people are taking their campaigns public.
The Advocacy Academy was founded in Brixton in 2014, and has since grown into a community of over 200 young change-makers who have led campaigns that have had a huge impact. These successes include Lambeth CLT who secured a commitment for a £5m piece of land to build a Community Land Trust of genuinely affordable homes, Choked Up who have raised the profile of air pollution and its impact on Black and Brown communities as an issue in London, and The Halo Code who have over 1000 employers and schools signed up to the code to end hair discrimination.
As part of the 2023/24 fellowship programme, young advocates built 3 new campaigns:
BFAIR (Brixton Friends Against Immigration Raids), who aim to build community resistance against inhumane immigration raids in Brixton.
Homes not Houses, who are calling for Southwark Council to repair homes more quickly and thoroughly to end disrepair and mould.
This is Medsogyny LDN, a group of young people campaigning to raise awareness about how neurodivergence presents in women, non-binary people and people of colour.
See below for more information about their campaign actions, including a rally at Windrush Square this Saturday 6th January 10:15am-12pm
Young people organise rally against inhumane immigration raids in Brixton and call on London to join them
BFAIR is a Brixton based, youth led organisation set up with the aim of making immigration raids a thing of the past. young people meet on a regular basis, all with one shared goal and ambition, to end immigration raids once and for all.
The young people as part of this campaign have called a rally, this Saturday 6th January 10:15am-12pm at Windrush Square and they’re calling on people across London to join them.
The young campaigners have said 'Immigration raids are the Home Office’s basic terror tactic against migrants inside the UK. Immigration officers go into homes and workplaces to arrest people and deport them. Immigration raids are often carried out without warrants, with a 2022 Huck Study stating that on average over a 4 year period between 2017 and 2021 that nine out of ten immigration raids were carried out without a warrant. Raids often use excessive force to detain the victims.'
As Migrants’ Rights Network highlights, In June 2023, the Prime Minister attended an immigration raid in Brent, London. As part of the coverage on this, he claimed the Government has increased the number of such raids by 57% on the same period last year and arrests have doubled.
Corporate Watch did a report based on leaked Home Office intelligence documents from 2014’s “Operation Centurion”: 'In general, employers are not legally obliged to co-operate in these ways: they can give or withhold “consent”. However, in practice, businesses complain that Immigration Officers often do not give the impression that cooperation is voluntary.'
The organisation will gather and spread information on people’s rights, practical and legal resources, as well as connecting community support against the hostile environment as the Anti Raids Network also do. The young campaigners said that when they learned about the Byron burgers case in London, it was the ‘trigger point for BFAIR’, realising that 'enough was enough' and that young people had 'remained in the shadows too long'.
The Byron Burgers story happened in 2016 when a branch called a team meeting that was allegedly about cooking burgers, but in reality it was a sting operation organised by ICE with the cooperation of the head of the branch. It is estimated that there were 4-12 immigration officers placed within the restaurant. The Home Office confirmed that on that day about 35 foreign nationals were detained. The young campaigners noted that 'keeping quiet when we had a voice was no longer appropriate'.
When asked why the rally was important at this moment, the young people added that ‘immigration raids are a failure of the human rights system. That people are treated like this, it isn’t right, it is purely an injustice.'
To call for change and justice, BFAIR will be hosting a rally at 10:15am on January 6th, 2024. The rally will take place at Windrush Square in Brixton. There will be hot drinks, leaflets and speakers.
Phone: 07565 575 132
Young People Curing Hidden Epidemic of Poor Housing Conditions
Young campaigners from South London are ready to tackle housing inequality with their new campaign Homes not Houses. Through an online video and survey Homes not Houses will be calling on Southwark council to discuss the poor quality of council housing and repairs demanding they make immediate changes to fix these urgent issues.
This online video - which will be launched in the next two weeks - will be shared across multiple social media platforms and will contain testimonials of young people who have experienced these poor housing conditions themselves. Moreover, this video will be used to share their survey with other young people who have experiences similar to that of those they have interviewed. They will use the results from this survey, and the video itself, as a call to action from Southwark council.
When asked about why they set up the campaign, they said 'We believe that everyone deserves a “home” not just a house, not just four walls, but a home that is safe, secure, and stable. However many people within the London community have been deprived of this right. Council housing standards are inadequate. Repairs are needed and not being made. Repairs that are made are inadequate. Complaints are ignored.'
'Housing has never been as daunting of a social issue as it is today, yet it is one of the most consistently brushed off and ignored. But we cannot stay quiet for much longer lest we die silent.’
One in six young people live in inhumane or bad housing, which is threefold the rate of 45 year olds. One in ten people across the UK (6.5 million in total) say that they live in poor quality housing – defined as living in homes that are not in a good state of repair, where heating, electrics or plumbing are not in good working order, and where damp is present, and this is associated with poor health, worsened mental health and lower educational attainment in young people.
Homes not Houses reflected on this too, saying: 'This does not just affect the young people within that moment, but can setback their prospects, their lives, and directly, the future of this country- it makes them wary to be at home due to the health risks associated with damp, mould and pests; can cause young people to feel uncomfortable in what should be their safest space; and further means the mere human rights of the tenant aren’t met.'
'The future of tomorrow deserves a treatment akin to what we expect of them, a treatment akin to what they are, human beings with dreams, prospects and a life that should be worth living. Join us to change these harrowing stats, these life-threatening conditions and improve quality of living for young people in Southwark and beyond.'
'Together, we aim to tackle this by giving a voice to people who have struggled with inadequate housing standards and repairs, specifically within the borough of Southwark.'
Phone: 07565 575 132
‘This is Medsogyny’: young campaigners take action on neurodivergence in schools
Young campaigners on neurodivergent awareness believe it should not be a taboo subject. As young women and non-binary people, they are striving to clear the disparities between the treatment of women, girls, and non-binary people versus men and boys in the medical sector, especially in schools and universities. They believe in an intersectional approach to medicine and education around neurodiversity.
To ensure neurodivergent students are supported at school, ‘This Is Medsogyny’ want to begin their campaign by presenting a lecture to 'school the teachers' at their graduation from the fellowship programme on the 25th January. This will be the first step in their campaign to improve support for young neurodivergent people in schools and healthcare settings.
If you are a lecturer or programme leader on a PGCE, run a teacher training programme of any kind, are a teacher in training, or just believe that better support should be offered to those who are neurodivergent, please reach out to attend, whether you want to show your support or learn more.
In their words, 'Today, too many young women, girls and non-binary people are victims to the lack of education and support teachers receive when training to teach young people and recognise the signs of neurodiversity in girls and non-binary people. We are aiming to target UCL and other leading universities that have renowned PGCE courses.'
'We are calling on them to support teacher training programmes to expand how they discuss neurodivergence, how it presents in women and non-binary people as well as how teachers can support them.'
'We are working with The Advocacy Academy on this issue in the hopes of bringing about change in the educational sphere pertaining to the diagnosis and support of neurodiverse students. We care deeply about this as the majority of our campaign group has personally experienced difficulties within school and wider society due to being on the neurodivergent spectrum.'
The group will be hosting a lecture to 'school the teachers' at their graduation on the 25th January. If you’re interested in attending, please reach out to attend!
Phone: 07565 575 132