The Community Development Network London



A Community Development
Case Study of Black Activism
in the East Midlands

Who are we?

Shamsher Chohan – former Chair of Community Development
Exchange, Director of Community Sector Coalition, founding member
of Voice4Change England, former member of the National Compact
Working Group

Michael Henry – former advisor to the Active Communities Unit
(Home Office), Dialogue Facilitator and Social Entrepreneur

Background to Project

  • 2009 recession impact on community organisations
  • Emergence/announcement of Big Society
  • Coalition spending cuts
  • Ageing activists
  • Lack of interest from young people

What is (Black) Community Activism?

  • Broadly – efforts to promote and facilitate social, political, economic
    or environmental change’
  • Can apply to those that briefly engage to those for whom it is a
  • Black activism – undertaken by those that see a need to take action
    and challenge inequalities based on ethnicity, where ethnic minority
    communities are discriminated against and disadvantaged due to the
    colour of their skin

Who did we profile?

People working to affect change through:

  • Faith organisations
  • Supporting those discriminated against
  • Initiating new projects to meet social needs
  • Supporting vulnerable women
  • Raising the aspirations of young people
  • Campaigns for specific issues
  • Providing support to access employment

What were they doing?

  • Helping to get voices heard
  • Engaging people in local issues
  • Creating champions to promote their causes
  • Challenging inequalities
  • Educating and informing
  • Celebrating festivals
  • Providing advocacy and representation
  • Supporting and nurturing talent
  • Links to CD Principles/Values

There are five key values that underpin all Community Development

  • Equality and Anti-discrimination
  • Social Justice
  • Collective Action
  • Community Empowerment
  • Working and Learning Together
  • Activism – Methods
  • Discuss examples of the following
  • Protest songs
  • Hacktivism
  • Economic activism

Community Profiles?

  • What are the key issues affecting the area
  • Who is visibly active in the area
  • What are they active around
  • Which groups exist (residents associations, community/faith/youth/
    self help groups)
  • What coverage is there in the local media of campaigns and protests
  • What mechanisms are used to engage local people


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