German Black empowerment grows stronger


Back  in March this year I was asked once again to participate in the Transatlantic Inclusion Network for young BME leaders in Brussels, Belgium. Young men and women from around Europe and the US have a three day intensive training programme, unprecedented in its quality and multinational support.

One young man, Daniel Gyamerah from Germany said he thought he could be a community leader. I stopped the session in its tracks. ‘Stand up Daniel’, I demanded, ‘please tell the group why you’d like to be a community leader’, I enquired. ‘We sir,’ he nervously replied, ‘we need more young Black men like me to stand up, be role models and positively change how we are treated’. Pressing him further I asked, ‘and what are you going to do about it?

‘I’m going to start by getting my brothers and sisters together so we can form a group of campaigners. I promise!’

True to his word Daniel along with his other German colleague Gun Tank sat on the plane during their return journey and set about a project that would culminate with 12 dynamic young activists coming together to form a network for change.

I joined Daniel and Gun again this week in Berlin, along with the very brilliant US political campaigner Jeff Johnson for day one of the young activists, now training and collaborating with others. Bright young champions, hungry for Black political history, keen to learn from the experience of others. They were a joy to be with. If you want to know about campaigning you could do no worse than read Martin Luther Kings ‘A great stride for Freedom. His detailed account of the Montgomery Bus boycott which occurred after Rosa Parks was arrested for not moving to the ‘Blacks only’ section of the bus.

There might be variations to race inequality around Europe and the US but the themes are strikingly similar: police racial profiling, divide and rule, self hatred, lack of representation, and a sense of powerlessness.

This group sought not only to understand these dynamics but to tackle them head on through their own collective empowerment. We wish them well on the well trodden Black journey.

Well done Daniel and Gun, all of us activists and campaigners can be proud of this new generation of leaders.

Simon Woolley