creating opportunities for a community's future

Community is dynamic. What can we build that will enable our communities to flourish and remain relevant in the future for the young people of today? This was debated at a recent workshop where leaders from the African- Caribbean community came together to explore the next generation of leadership in the UK. There were three key lessons that became apparent and could be applied across any community looking to build a stronger future:

Adapt in uncertainty

What came out early on during the workshop was an acceptance that the world had changed, that the aspirations of the new millennial were different from when the leaders were young themselves. More courageous was the recognition that despite the vast experience in the room, the leaders didn’t have all the answers to the challenges their community faces in the UK and wider. They understood that what they had done and why they had done it was relevant to that point in time, but that their responsibility now was to “pass on the baton.” Being able to adapt in uncertainty is necessary to equip young people to meet the changing needs of the community in the 21st Century Britain.

Question assumptions

In one discussion a comment was raised “Look at the Asians. They are so organised and are able to make things happen for themselves.” From the outside it may appear that Asians are a single group yet conversely an outsider to the African-Caribbean community could justifiably voice a similar opinion towards them. We see the African-Caribbean voice represented in fields such as sport and politics where there is significantly lower Indian representation. The assumptions we make about others prevent deeper engagement with them, which in turn limits understanding. By questioning our assumptions, there is an opportunity to address these challenges together.

Cultivate an open culture

The workshop was underpinned by the openness that existed in the room. The community leaders weren’t sweeping issues into hushed corners; instead they were being honest with themselves and clearly acknowledging that issues do exist. Furthermore, they recognise that proactive steps were needed from them to create a stronger future for younger generations. Yes some issues were external, over which they have some control, but their internal issues are ones they were willing to take full responsibility of. Taking responsibility and owning our issues as a community, combined with uncertainty of our next steps creates a unique opportunity where we can ask bold questions that cultivate openness and possibility.

With thanks to Yve at Ubele for the invitation to join

Project Chakra is actively exploring these lessons through the Chakra Internship Programme and Chakra Conversations.

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