THERE are many good things happening in the community. People are using their time to find out how they can support those who are in need. Of course, this has been the norm here in Northern Ireland for a long time but in the Corona times people have become more active in helping others despite the constraints of social distancing.
Minority communities are especially affected by the current economic crisis because of the inequality of livelihoods and their personal circumstances. For example, migrants and refugees with no recourse to public funds.
This means that they will have to strive on tight moneyless economic conditions.
They have access to foodbanks, yes, a good idea but usually that’s not enough. In life, especially in these tough conditions, food is not everything. Life as it is can be so difficult in loneliness and many of the migrant families or individuals are on their own. We all know that feeling lonely can be extremely damaging to someone’s health and reduces their quality of life. So, the chairperson of Multi-Ethnic Sports and Cultures NI Mr Jahswill Emmanuel is mobilising a lot of efforts in not only doing relief projects like foodbanks but also making sure his organisation visits the lonely and reassure them that they are NOT ALONE.
House inequality is a very big problem. I once heard of a counter argument, if you don’t like it here because our housing poverty is a sham, why don’t you go back to your country. A person I know told me this. The family had endured enough of the shoving by the social housing sector, the official at the desk told her categorically, “You would not be here if it was that bad, would you?” If we focus on both sides of the coin, the person needing this crucial support and the housing mandarin have a right to what they believe in.
Most of our countries of origin do not have these housing interventions for the poor, less fortunate because of personal circumstances, health or otherwise.
However, this is not a ticket to offensive remarks and guilt baiting being thrown at a minority ethnic person. It will not work. The person is here already, the best you can do is to help them and doing that without bitterness is not a bad thing.
Another black person was shot in the back as he was running away from the trigger-happy US police of Atlanta last week. So that’s another dead black body in the mortuary lined up for burial. The details are not sketchy, there is a full film footage by the police which gives a minute by minute encounter between the young blackman Mr Rayshard Brooks and the police.
His death has been declared a homicide and the people are livid that this life has been lost on account of a sobriety test to which he had actually consented to. When Mr Brooks took off from the police after a scuffle, he suffered two gunshots to the back that caused organ injuries and blood loss. The Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields has resigned. For how long is this going to continue, not just in America but all other racially motivated and biased interventions by white policemen “confronting” black people everywhere. For how long?
People, black and white are tired.
Do you live in Ireland and identify as a 'migrant', 'asylum-seeker' or 'refugee'? Our global survey, Apart Together, aims to understand the psycho-social impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Available in 33 languages. Read more & take part here - https://t.co/sEeYlR4wsb pic.twitter.com/ZawFBYf3pj— All_Institute (@All_Institute) June 8, 2020
Elly Omondi Odhiambo is a writer based in Belfast.