Questions and answers with Dreda Say Mitchell at the Idea Store London
12th December 2017
The evening didn’t start in a very promising way the modest audience was worrying all of us from Journey to Justice. However, the conversation went far beyond expectations, to the point that we almost didn’t want to leave. When the Idea Store’s staff told us we needed to leave as soon as possible I could see in the audience’s face the will to continue those conversations.
What were we talking about then, you might be wondering?
We were talking about class, Islamophobia, education, Brexit, current politics, immigration, colonialism and history. It might seem a bit too much for an event which lasts just over a couple hours, but it was immediately clear how all these themes were intrinsically linked with each other.
As suggested by Dreda, the question of who holds power was at the core of our conversation. We cannot talk about what is the most appropriate education system, without taking into account how the existence of public schools underlies the will to maintain power. We cannot talk about immigration without considering how colonialism has been a means of exploiting human beings and maintaining a position of power over them.
How does this question of who holds power link to current issues such as Brexit? As always it’s harder to evaluate what is happening right now compared to analysing what was in the past..
As a European without UK citizenship I had always associated a negative connotation to the leave vote, a simplistic, ‘Why don’t they want us here?’ But I had never thought that voting to leave the European Union could have been for some people a form of protest, a way to finally be able to have their say. Before our event, I had never tried to put myself in the shoes of those who had been immigrants in previous generations, of those who had been part of the British Empire. Even if my final opinion regarding Brexit didn’t change – I still think I would have voted to stay in the EU if I could – I have learnt a new angle on the problem. When evaluating if an organisation such as the EU is fair or not, we cannot forget its past. In the eyes of some of those who have been freed from colonialism, the EU is not helping, it is just giving to some people the rights that their parents had to fight for. When looking at the problem from this lens it is clear how the EU could be considered another means to maintain power over others, to keep other countries excluded. I have always been pro open borders, but if we decide to establish open borders why is it that some people who have worked in the UK their whole lives are not allowed to bring over to Europe their own families?
As a volunteer in an organisation which galvanises people to take action for social justice, I thought I grew a sixth sense for situations of injustice. But that night reminded me how it’s not simple, it reminded me how easy it is to view the world as ‘us’ against ‘them’. I had never thought how varied the leave vote reasons were. We cannot stigmatise all of the pro Brexiters with the same labels, because they are individuals with different opinions, perceptions, beliefs and different needs.
I am thankful to Dreda for coming that night because hearing her point of view was extremely useful for my personal growth. I left the Idea Store with food for thought, and some important teachings.
As part of Tower Hamlets Black History Month, JtoJ was invited to run an event
JOURNEY TO JUSTICE, INSPIRING ACTION FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE THROUGH HISTORY AND THE ARTS: MLK’S 1967 VISIT TO NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE
On October 24th 2017 at Idea Store, Whitechapel
In 1967 Martin Luther King came to Tyneside to receive an honorary degree from Newcastle University for his civil rights campaigning. We screened the powerful BBC film, ‘A King’s Speech: Martin Luther King on Tyneside’ in which Lenny Henry tells the story of this unique visit and its impact on both the man and the people he met. Our volunteers Arianna Assanelli, Jack Madden and Mahzabin Ahmed made links between MLK’s speech on war, racism and poverty then and some of our projects which focus on the same issues today.
ADZ, an underground hip-hop artist and partner of JtoJ performed two raps to illustrate his life story, feelings and views on war and poverty.
Girlz United, a Tower Hamlets community group and JtoJ partner have been working with their peers to learn about each other’s cultures and traditions. Nadia and Summer performed poems written in response to learning about local struggles in the face of racial discrimination and poverty.
The room was packed and the audience diverse in every way including a group of Community Action students and staff from Birkbeck, University of London. It was a most positive and powerful night:
“It was an evening of powerful connections between King’s speech fifty years ago and what we face today; of performers raising profound questions through poetry, spoken word and song; of new friends who’d known nothing of JtoJ nor what to expect declaring how inspired they’d been. The enormous challenge of so many injustices is daunting but we learn from the lives of others and the creative expression in all of us. Such a collective effort – eleven of us performing and presenting in so many different ways. Questions, connections, inspiration, community … the essence of JtoJ.”
“It was a very inspiring and affirmative evening. What was so impressive was that the young people, both volunteers and performers, were really confident and seemed to claim ownership of the event in a way that I could never have done at their age.”
“I loved that MLK was speaking as a human being, not only as a Black person – he was for all humanity.”
“We can take his ideas and move forward.”
“I really enjoyed the young girls’ poetry and the rap. It was lovely seeing the music film of the choir – there was such a variety of people there, different ages, ethnicities, it was lovely to see the whole community.”
Thanks to everyone involved and to the Freedom City 2017 team in Newcastle for their support:
Train the Trainer September 23rd 2017
Thanks to a generous grant from the MSN Fund, we delivered a Train the Trainers course for 30 participants from all over the country who work with youth and community groups, in schools, museums and art centres, as carers, lawyers and educators. Our aim was to teach the JtoJ approach (history, stories, the arts and social change) in order to embed and sustain it in a range of settings. It was a great day and we now have a film of the day which is a resource in itself. Participants began trying out the resources with girls’ groups, ‘disaffected’ school groups, refugees and sixth formers and reporting encouraging outcomes. ‘It was one time they properly listened!’
Feedback was tremendous: ‘The training day was inclusive and dynamic and offered a creative way to make a SAFE space.’ ‘I think we should lobby a future government to get such approaches and stories into the national curriculum.’ ’We must emphasise the journey not just results or events. Struggles must be recognised or we are denying truth and opportunities to the next generation.’
1. Introduction and Keynote (5 minutes)
2. History & Storytelling (7 minutes)
3. Arts Activism (6 minutes)
4. Social Change (5 minutes)
5. Planning & Evaluation (5 minutes)
See all parts together in a 35 minute film:
JtoJ Volunteers’ Film
Meet six of our volunteers talking about their work with JtoJ
JtoJ Music Fundraiser
As a performer: I loved performing at Journey to Justice, there is something especially empowering about expressing yourself through music for an event with a purpose for good change! As an audience member: I enjoyed listening to the stories and expressions of the other artists who all touched on the relative issues of today through their art.
A wonderful evening of youth led entertainment in a fabulously supportive atmosphere. When ADZ asked if there were any hip hop fans in the room, as a fifty one year old white woman, I didn’t think I was one. But I was wrong! I had to leave early but wished I could have stayed. When’s the next one, please?
I very much enjoyed the evening and it was so inspirational to hear the words and songs of so many talented young people. It was such a positive atmosphere and everyone was so friendly and welcoming.
It was exciting to see raw talent. The collaboration among musicians, technicians and organisers was clearly genuine and respectful. They melded naturally.
I didn’t really know what to expect from the evening but from the moment I got through the door I was entranced by the positive, clever talent the young people showed. Amongst all the recent/current tirade of negative news stories this was a positive bolt of energy which made me aware of the talent so many young people are showing despite and because of the hard reality they are now having to cope with. So a huge ‘big up ‘ to them and their friends who are making themselves and their pain heard and a hearty thank you for such an enjoyable evening.
The beauty of the evening was the high quality, not only of the artists’ music but also the honesty in their lyrics, their integrity, warmth and respect for each others’ craft, and identification with the aims of JtoJ. These young performers are truly inspirational and a reminder of how music and poetry of protest, solidarity and hope is alive in so many forms on our streets and in our clubs.
A spectacular event that I will remember for a long-time. It was quite nerve-racking at first because of some uncertainties and we wanted things to go well for JtoJ and the artists. We wanted to learn from our previous events. However, all of this disappeared very quickly as soon as the artists started to perform and the crowd filled up the room. I felt overwhelmed by the amazing talent that our young people have. They have a vision for the world, they want to see change and they want people to listen to their journey, story and struggle though their music. A lot of effort has been put into organising this music fundraiser by every single one of us in JtoJ London team. Well done!
After arriving for my first collaboration with them, I quickly realised that Journey to Justice is a community of humans that really care. Performing for them was a great experience, anybody that really cares about art, learning from other people’s stories and wants to be empowered/empower others, get involved! You wont regret it! (I certainly didn’t)
soulful rnb from Kemi Sulola
spoken word from Solo Kulture
jazzy hiphop from Hasna D
and the unforgettable voice of Naz
worldwide eclectic dance tunes from top DJ
All proceeds in aid of Journey to Justice www.journeytojustice.org.uk
Journey to Justice (JtoJ) inspires and empowers people to take action for social justice through learning about human rights movements and the arts.
Tickets £4 only at:
JtoJ Training Film
See our training film featuring workshops for teachers, youth and community workers and students:
JtoJ Summer Fundraising Party
June 13th 2017, The Fable, 52 Holborn Viaduct, EC1A 2FD, 18.30 – 23.00
For the third time at a JtoJ event, patron Baroness Helena Kennedy QC wowed the room, this time at our Summer Fundraising Party. She spoke about: the importance of JtoJ’s work and why she loves it; her family’s links with struggles for justice including the 1915 Glasgow Rent Strike and the positive signs of hope and activism for more equality now. We were also delighted to welcome patron Dr Paul Stephenson and his wife Joyce. Paul was one of the leaders of the successful 1963 Bristol bus boycott against racism.
Compered by volunteers Tania Aubeelack and Arianna Assanelli, 80 guests enjoyed a night of cocktails (thanks to our co-organiser Susannah Sheppard’s generous donation of Xoriguer gin) and tasty snacks as they met each other and heard about JtoJ’s work from director Carrie Supple, Chair Chandra Vemury, trainers Martin Spafford and Parul Motin, Bristol JtoJ co-ordinator Dr Madge Dresser and fundraiser Roisin Gewirtz-O’Reilly. We showed short films about our exhibition, volunteers and training programmes.
“It was a really relaxed and yet exciting party…JtoJ is so with the zeitgeist!”
“A lovely and moving event, thank you. I was honoured to, briefly, meet Paul Stephenson.”
“It was a great event – congratulations. How does Helena do it? Just takes the microphone and speaks coherently for 10 minutes! Her speech was so inspiring!”
“I had a lovely time on Tuesday and it was great hearing people truly believing in this cause. Thanks for organising such a good and inspiring evening! I am looking forward to starting my journey to justice with your charity!”
“What a lovely fabulous party last night! Many thanks, it was wonderful to be there and meet so many great inspirational people and enjoy a wonderful cocktail or two!!”
“Such a great and memorable event! All the speakers I heard were inspiring uplifting and brilliant.”
“What a wonderfully put together evening. What an interesting group of guests and volunteers. Such dedication and passion you have all instilled in everyone is fantastic. Beautiful beautiful evening – great food, atmosphere and generous heart. I was really happy and proud to be there.”
“I loved it!”
“A very special gathering of wonderful people. It was heartwarming, full of love and good will to make a better world. The room was full of positive energy that has enriched further the road of the journey of the exhibition. “
“Last night was wonderful. I loved speaking to your lovely lovely volunteers and to your charming new chair. The atmosphere was great; everyone was happy.”
“Last night was such a great and memorable event! As always I loved every minute of it……”
“Thank you so much for last night I really enjoyed myself. I had some really fascinating conversations with other guests. There really was a fantastic atmosphere in the room.”
“Well done, an excellent evening. Enjoyable and hopefully very effective!”
“What a successful evening. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. I talked to a number of interesting people who are clearly inspired by the work of Journey to Justice.”
“What a great party – thanks for the invite! Very motivational speeches and I hope JtoJ makes a ton of money.”
“Thanks for a fabulous evening last night. I hope we got lots of donations!”
“A superb and special evening.”
Huge thanks to everyone who came and helped and gave to us. Your donations mean we can continue our work all over the country.
As we arrived home, the horrific news from Grenfell Tower, North Kensington was breaking…
Summer Fundraising Party
Don’t miss our Summer Fundraising Party, hosted by JtoJ patron Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, June 13th at The Fable, London
See the Press Release here
Sixth Form workshops at Norbury Manor Business & Enterprise College, Croydon, March 7th 2017
We were delighted to be invited to run a day on the US civil rights movement for Sixth Form History students at Norbury Manor.
JtoJ friend and volunteer Celina Dunlop (UK representative of the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute) told them to the ‘real’ story of Rosa Parks who was a lifelong, radical activist and was not in fact the first African-American who refused to give up her seat to white person. The Norbury students were also introduced to Jo Ann Robinson, a Montgomery resident who had spent years planning a bus boycott against racist practices and had leaflets ready prepared! Celina shared her fantastic collection of original artefacts from the period – magazines, badges, leaflets and Ku Klux Klan outfits.
Carrie Supple outlined the work of Journey to Justice and ran activities linked to one of the stories we tell in our exhibition, of Janice Wesley, a 14-year old school student who joined the 1063 Birmingham Children’s ‘Crusade’. 1,000 school pupils marched for equality in Birmingham, Alabama and were arrested, fire hosed and attacked:
I was very excited about participating. I realized the extent to which I had been unfairly treated and I wanted to do what I could to effect change in a positive way. One of the most significant memories I have is that of the music. “We Shall Overcome”! Sometimes I cry when I hear it, even today! The music was such an important part of conveying the message. It was inspiring and encouraging. I felt that God was on our side.
I did not realize it at the time, but we made a significant contribution to human rights around the world. It is something that I am VERY proud of today.
Change happens slowly, but it takes persistence, perseverance and sacrifice. Some of the battles were won because innocent blood was shed. We paid a price for the freedoms that were obtained; some of us were bitten by dogs, some were hosed, many others were jailed. Six innocent young people died. Freedom was not free!
The last session of the morning was led by Eliza Rebeiro, Director of Lives Not Knives: http://livesnotknives.org/ Eliza told us the remarkable story of why she founded LNK aged 14 and all they have achieved since. She asked the students to discuss in groups which issues they would choose to campaign on and explain why and how. The feedback was fantastic, with well thought through ideas focused on e.g.: violence against women and the lack of student voice in schools
After lunch Sarah Thompson, Head of History, who organised the day, showed Freedom Summer, Mississippi 1964, a film directed by Stanley Nelson (Freedom Riders, The Murder of Emmett Till) about patient and long-term efforts by outside activists and local citizens in Mississippi to organise communities and register Black voters in the face of intimidation, violence and death.
In their evaluation of the day, Norbury students, when asked for highlights, said:
The Ruby Bridges story, I didn’t know about it before& was surprised how the teacher helped her.
When we saw the artefacts, a snapshot of what people from the past read and seeing their point of view. Seeing the KKK uniform was very memorable. I have never been able to touch them.
Lives Not Knives.
Using History for inspiration, to make a change.
How much people I associate with feel the same way about certain topics and that we can actually make a change.
That there was more to the Rosa Parks story.
How big the movement was and what people did. I learnt how there were many people behind the famous figures who were supporting them.
The Just Food cook book
My name is Róisín. I’m 12 years old and I started secondary school in 2016. My bat mitzvah was last December and as part of becoming a bat mitzvah I decided to lead a charity fundraising project.
I chose Journey to Justice (J to J) as my charity. In 2014 I was a volunteer at its launch event and there were lots of interesting people on stage talking about how they fought for justice through the arts and it really inspired me and made me aware and helped me become who I am today.
I made the decision to create a book of recipes from people around the world who have fought for justice. I came up with this project in order to campaign for Journey to Justice, which, in the eyes of some of my friends and family, makes me a campaigner for justice who therefore deserves a page in this recipe book.
I have always been concerned about inequality in the world and how some people just can’t get along because of silly reasons like the colour of their skin.
One of the people I admire in history is Mary Seacole who was a Black nurse in the Crimean War. She helped thousands of soldiers in the war and opened her own hospital. People like Florence Nightingale were praised for their work, whereas Mary Seacole, being a poor Black woman, was forgotten until very recently although she was very popular in her lifetime.
When I’m older I hope to be a designer or an architect and also a politician for my borough, representing the Green Party.
The funds I raise will go towards sending J to J’s exhibition all around the country and influencing young people everywhere as it did me.
I hope you decide to buy a copy (or two!). They’re only £5.00 and you can order them here:
Speakers’ Corner JtoJ Human Rights marathon, April 23rd 2017
We had a fascinating and memorable experience at Speakers’ Corner with our partners ATD – Fourth World who are anti-poverty activists and members of UpRising emphasising environmental justice. We told stories of human rights struggles from our exhibition about less known children, women and men whose example inspires us all including Ruby Bridges, Janice Wesley, Jean Stallings, Memphis sanitation workers and the Burston School strike. Tania offered PM Clem Attlee as a champion of social justice and Martin told the true story of St. George highlighting its relevance to today. He was a child soldier and refugee who was beheaded after his rights were denied. Read more about ‘Syrian George’ here
“The way Journey to Justice links the past to the present felt palpable during the Human Rights Marathon. Standing perched on a ladder at Speakers’ Corner connected us to the many people who have spoken there in the past, some more radical than others, but all passionate enough for their causes to reach out to the general public. The beautiful weather seemed tailor-made to draw listeners. We each had different stories to tell, and a few of us were even brave enough to argue with hecklers. Listening to everyone helped to renew my own sense of purpose in the struggle for social justice.” (Diana)
“Fascinating to experience stories related to social justice being told in public and watching people react to them, a genuine platform for direct campaigning and an amazing celebration of free speech.” (Will)
“For me, the Speakers’ Corner event was pivotal in its incredible mission to share publicly the message of human rights and ordinary people’s daily struggles for lasting change. It’s a fantastic project which makes a tangible difference, causing people to think and respond. Wishing Journey to Justice continued success.” (Andia)
“Although daunting at first, it felt great to be standing on the ground where many have spoken before. Speaking in solidarity with partners ATD and UpRising and promoting human rights to a lively diverse crowd was stimulating and fun! We told our stories of ‘ordinary’ people past and present who found a voice and took courageous action to improve our world to a new audience.” (Pat)
“It felt like a team day out, spreading what we love most – social justice, history and the power of the voice. It’s inspiring to hear young people address environmental health and see their confidence to speak passionately about issues that affect us all.” (Parul)
Ark Academy, Brent, North West London
Journey to Justice workshops with Year Nine, March 2017
Joseph Coward, a History teacher at Ark Academy in Brent found JtoJ via our website. He wrote:
“I was keen to find a museum / outreach organisation which teaches the history of the US Civil Rights Movement. We wanted a cross-curricular event that both increased students’ knowledge of History and increased their engagement in citizenship and social justice.”
After careful planning, JtoJ’s Martin Spafford, Rosaleen Lyons and Tania Aubeelack went to Ark Academy to run 55 minute sessions for 8 groups of Year 9 students over two mornings.
They told the story of the 1968 Memphis sanitation workers’ strike, ending with a clip of Elmore Nickleberry describing their working conditions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KW-V8buCFm0
In groups, students then learned about Ruby Bridges and Barbara Henry – a story of school desegregation in 1960s New Orleans full of violence and bravery and about British child migrants to Australia between the 1920s and 60s. All three of which involved successful campaigns for justice.
They asked students: What qualities did campaigners need to have and what factors were needed to succeed? The facilitators then asked pupils to connect those examples from history to two disturbing contemporary cases: a student in Leicester who took his own life because of online bullying and children seeking asylum in Australia who are stuck in the grim conditions of a refugee camp on the island of Nauru. Students had to consider what the objectives of a campaign might be, who a campaign might be aimed at and what factors would be needed for it to succeed.
“The sessions were a great success. So many students were incredibly engaged.” (Joseph Coward)
Journey to Justice taster in Sunderland
Thursday January 28th 2016 at The Bonded Warehouse, Low Street
Over 40 people from across Sunderland gathered in the chilly Bonded Warehouse to find out about Journey to Justice and discuss bringing our travelling exhibition programme to their city. They came from organisations including Young Asian Voices, Sunderland Carers, the LGBT forum, Disability Access, Housing and Homelessness, Sunderland College and schools as well as four members of the Newcastle JtoJ group including our new North East co-ordinator Katie McSherry.
The taster day was organised with our main partners from Sunderland University – Dr. Rick Bowler, Senior Lecturer in Community and Youth Work and Justine Gillespie, Head of HR Business Support and a member of the Diversity and Equality Committee. They welcomed JtoJ and talked about how our work complements their focus on creating a fair and inclusive community and society.
The room warmed up as we heard from Rev. Chris Howson Chaplain of Sunderland University about Sunderland’s radical history and some of its sons and daughters who were devoted to social justice – John Lilburne, leader of the Levellers, WW1 conscientious objectors including Norman Gaudie the footballer, suffragettes and abolitionists such as Anne Isabella Byron and James Field Stanfield.
We showed films about our Newcastle and Leyton pilots and Parul Motin inspired us with a description of her work with young people and the impact on their attitudes and choices.
Keith Hodgson, retired UNISON Regional Education Officer talked about local campaigns and support for the rights of women workers, carers and miners and he asked us, What makes an activist? Then Amer Sheikh, Chemistry teacher and rapper told us about THE WORD – a project he created with young people to challenge racism and prejudice. The day ended with an animated discussion about local priorities and the possible role of JtoJ. One participant said, ‘I’ve not felt passion for years as I felt here in this room!’ There was overwhelming support for bringing the exhibition to Sunderland.
Issues covered ranged from disability rights; access to learning and housing; Sunderland’s rich cultural stories, the need to hear more voices and to humanize everyone; devastating cuts to organisations which support the most vulnerable people; the ‘mental torture’ of asylum seekers as a result of punitive processes; demonization of activists and the need for intergenerational work.
Evaluations: Brilliant organisation and cause; it proves that we can change the world in funny way (like songs); there is so much that could be achieved for and by the people of Sunderland; lots of inspirational stories and people; I got my passion back as to why I work in engagement; it helps the youth to have confidence in themselves; it was well presented, informative and thought-provoking.
‘Journey to Justice could be an excellent vehicle to tackle inequalities and injustice in the region.’
And the next day we received this message from one of the participants:
‘As a result of the Journey to Justice taster, we have begun talking about what we’re doing today to confront injustice, other than just talk about it or act as individuals. One of the issues where we might act is finding homes for unaccompanied refugee children or possibly families. We have no idea which agencies might eventually co-ordinate such action and I wondered if you might know.’
We’re meeting with those who signed up to be part of a steering group to bring the JtoJ exhibition programme to Sunderland. We’ll begin planning – venues, funding, dates, partners and events…If you would like to get involved with JtoJ Sunderland email: email@example.com or call: 07711199198
Journey to Justice: Sunderland launch
Watch our film of JtoJ Sunderland’s moving launch and opening event:
Sheffield Live: Voices of Equality
Watch a short film of JtoJ Chair Mark Hutchinson introducing our exhibition on Sheffield Live TV.
Journey to Justice at the Five Nations Conference, Dublin, January 2017 Martin Spafford and Parul Motin on JtoJ as transformative education
The conference was superbly and tightly organised in a lovely hotel, everything running super smoothly. More important than that, there was very quickly a coming together in solidarity and warmth of like minded people who are really out there trying to do transformative things in classrooms with bravery, creativity, skill and respect for young people in a wide range of very different contexts. Most of all was the quality of discussion and exploration of how to encourage social action in the current climate and the challenges facing educators. We were grappling with complexity with a lot of realism but also positivity and some optimism. Delegates were very diverse indeed in terms of age but not at all diverse ethnically: two Asian teachers and one of mixed heritage, otherwise all White. Some of the best moments, as always, were the discussions over the (delicious) meals and long into the night at the nearby canalside pub. We made some good friends.
As we were running a workshop we sadly couldn’t go to the other workshops, but the inspired idea of having an artist to create a visual report as we went along means you can see lots that emerged from the attached photos of what he produced. There were two excellent country-based discussion sessions – we were in the England group – the second of which, particularly, had us grappling with how to preserve the teaching of liberal values in a rightward-moving political climate. As one person said, ‘What if successful work encouraging students to be active in organising for change means that one group of students wants to organise a campaign to stop immigration?’ Of the plenary sessions, a real highlight was the one chaired by Lee Jerome in which four teachers in English schools reported on ways they had tackled the Prevent agenda in a Five Nations sponsored project which started from seeing Prevent itself as a controversial issue.
Both our workshops were very well attended and went very well though with more time for discussion in the second one. We generated really good discussion about the role of the arts and the power of stories from history. I think we managed to get a real understanding of how we connect history, the arts and social action in ways that can be transformative for young people and were therefore very keyed into the theme of the conference. We made new contacts in the five nations and will follow up with them. Without reservation, a fantastic conference, really impressive in its organisation, scope and sense of solidarity while realistic about the challenges ahead.
I left there feeling inspired and with a sense of pride. I was proud of the work we have done so far and achieved in such a short amount of time. We were praised and applauded as a team for our work and commitment to help support young people find their voices in the most creative way. I met some wonderful people, whose stories I will always remember to help me through my own struggles working with young people. The room was full of richness, people’s stories, backgrounds and practices – we were all learning and growing together. No one was patronised or belittled.
‘A fascinating project. Well done to you all’; ‘Amazing workshop. Love the way you ask students how the different civil right activists achieved change and about the obstacles they overcame.’ ‘Inspired by the young people’s sadness, anger, lessons they learnt and their voice of hope.’; ‘Fantastic to see the transformative and empowering work. Thanks for sharing.’ ; ‘Loved it all! INSPIRATIONAL.’ Martin’s going to work with Citizenship PGCE students at Middlesex University as a result.
BBC Look North: Newcastle Launch
Local news item to promote the Footsteps to Freedom exhibition in Newcastle.
JtoJ national team day and AGM November 5th 2016 at Bethnal Green Library
Representatives of ten JtoJ groups gathered for the morning from Newcastle, Sheffield, Middlesbrough, Sunderland, London, Nottingham, Hull, Bristol, Dorchester and Leicester to share stories about their JtoJ projects focused on what’s going well and the challenges. They had the opportunity to discuss questions about the local-national structure sent in advance, which will help determine the detail of our national model. It was the first time we were able to meet in this way and everyone agreed it was enjoyable and constructive and we should make it an annual event.
A banquet for lunch and refreshments all day were provided again by management committee member Pat Boyer and JtoJ volunteer Mary Campbell and featured prominently in the feedback.
JtoJ members arrived in time to hear a presentation by Girlz United, the Shadwell/Camberwell/Essex based youth groups who we worked with as part of our Tower Hamlets project. They spoke about the impact of their residential weekend with us and how they learned about each other’s lives and heritage. And they wowed the AGM with some of the searing poetry they wrote in response to researching the murder of Altab Ali and the Women Unite Against Racism campaign in the east end.
We were very sorry to lose Janet Browne who stepped down from the committee after three years as our creative, active, knowledgeable Vice Chair. Happily she stayed involved with the planning and delivery of our Tower Hamlets and Lambeth projects and as a member of JtoJ. Mark Hutchinson decided not to stand as Chair this year, so that he can focus on Sheffield JtoJ. We are very pleased he’ll stay on the management committee and say a massive thank you Mark for being such an inspiring figurehead, excellent spokesperson and tremendous organiser for Journey to Justice.
‘I actually can’t tell you how much I enjoyed it! It was so nice to see and meet the other groups and put faces to names.’
‘It was really exciting to meet everyone and find out more about Journey to Justice and its impact. It is such an exciting and essential project, and what a time to be doing this with everything that is happening in the world at the moment. Thank you for your help and support, it is really appreciated.’
‘It was wonderful being there, I had so many good chats and met lots of nice new people. Everyone is doing amazing things. I feel honoured to be part of it and to be contributing to it.’
‘I feel like I have a much better idea about Journey to Justice and what it does. It’s a really amazing organisation. Thank you for letting me be part of it.
‘The girls group were amazing. It’s at times like this (war, Brexit, Trump etc.) we need to be reminded that love and understanding is the dominant human force. ‘
‘The AGM was really interesting to see how much work and passion it takes to create such an effective organisation as Journey to Justice.’
‘It was fantastic being there on Saturday and learning all about the recent developments and things to come. To think now about how much has been achieved and how far we have come. It’s such an enriching and humbling project to be a part of.’
JtoJ fundraiser at STYX, Tottenham Hale, 27th November 2016
Introducing a superb line-up:
Kemi, Lemzi, Naz, Wyll, Hasna D, Tells, Boy Nash and DJs Felix and Lo-Fi Odysseys who gave us their time and talent and created a wonderful atmosphere with strong messages for Journey to Justice about the struggle for human rights here and in the US. Thank you all and to our brilliant volunteer organisers: Tania, Dani, Diane, Pankaja, Alison and Jennifer, what a team! See you again in July 2017.
Sheffield Dance Fundraiser, ‘The Journey’, at Crookes Social Club, 29th January 2016
As I left home that Friday night, I consoled myself with the thought that whatever happened, the evening was already a success. Firstly, half a dozen musical acts had bought into the philosophy of JtoJ by giving their time and talent at no charge. Secondly, a group of supporters had volunteered to help on the night – selling tickets, T-shirts, taking photos and filming. Thirdly, publicity about our exhibition programme had gone out on local radio and the television station, ‘Sheffield 5Live’, local shops and via student networks of Hallam and Sheffield Universities. Finally, over 50 people had bought tickets online and many others had promised to pay on the door.
As I entered the club, I heard Alan Deadman and his engineer Matt running a sound check, I sighed. So what if it was cold and raining outside, however many came we would enjoy ourselves. I could not believe that all of this had been pulled together in little over three months by the legendary Alan, an alchemist of World Music bands. Thanks to his talent and reputation he had persuaded the artists to participate. The magic started just after 8 p.m. with the opening strains of DJLS sound system. Lloyd was followed by the mesmerising Afro-Samba dancers of ‘Mulembas D’Africa’ and their charismatic leader Angelina Abel accompanied by members of a 4-piece band. The burgeoning crowd of over a hundred were silent as she read Warsan Shire’s devastating poem ‘No one leave home, unless home is the mouth of a shark’, capturing the grief and trauma of the refugee experience: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/sep/16/poets-speak-out-for-refugees-
The room rocked to the dance beat mixes of DJ Papa Al – ably supported by his son Alex Deadman and the rising star of rapper YT echoing JtoJ’s messages of social justice and activism. Soon 150 people were dancing to the infectious Afro-beat of K.O.G. The evening reached a crescendo with the power of Steve ‘Papa’ Edwards’ Northern Soul and the final leg of the night was captured as DJ Winston Hazell’s smooth jazzy beats floated over the dance floor until the early hours.
We raised over £1,000 which was fantastic and will help pay for the installation of our exhibition ready for its Sheffield launch at The Art House on 28th May. Huge thanks to everyone who helped.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to get involved.
Mark Hutchinson, Chair of JtoJ and JtoJ co-ordinator in Sheffield.
Footsteps To Freedom, Newcastle 2015
Filmed by Hugh Kelly of Swingbridge Media and edited by Professor Steve Hawley at the School of Art at Manchester Met. A huge thank you to Steve for capturing our story:
JtoJ’s MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY EVENT at the V&A MUSEUM OF CHILDHOOD MONDAY 18 JANUARY 2016
“There are three urgent and indeed great problems that we face today. The problem of racism, the problem of poverty and the problem of war.” Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking at Newcastle University on receiving an honorary degree, 13th November 1967
As historic numbers of people fleeing war and poverty seek refuge, Dr. King’s call for universal economic justice continues to resonate loud and clear. To mark MLK Day and JtoJ’s new work in Tower Hamlets, we focused on themes of migration and racial and economic justice which are at the heart of London’s East End history and life today. We examined the challenges faced by waves of immigrant and explored the impact on children and families and how communities organize to secure their rights.
Over 70 people came to our event in the V&A Museum of Childhood’s beautiful main hall for an evening of talks, films, music, poetry, refreshments and discussion and a chance to see the exhibition On Their Own – Britain’s Child Migrants.
We were delighted to welcome its co-curator Professor Gordon Lynch as one of our speakers and Eithne Nightingale who talked about the diverse backgrounds and experiences of children’s migration, history and politics in the East End of London and Dr Michael McMillan who explored migration and the stories of children and young people left behind in the Caribbean.
The evening was facilitated by JtoJ teacher and management committee member Parul Motin and opened to great acclaim by five students of Bethnal Green Academy who told us about their heroes and sheroes including Martin Luther King and welcomed Journey to Justice to Tower Hamlets.
It was an opportunity for us to show aspects of our work – the launch of our exhibition in Newcastle and our work with young people in Leyton. After the break we asked the audience to talk about local needs and priorities in preparation for the arrival of our exhibition programme in the borough this year.
The night ended with MC Naga who wowed and moved the audience with his poetry and spoken word performance in acapella. We received messages of support from our allies in New York, “Warm wishes and solidarity to Journey to Justice from the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights and Social Justice in New York City. We are working to fulfil Dr. King’s call for a “revolution of values’ and through the mobilization of the poor and dispossessed a “new and unsettling force” for an end to poverty. Recognizing as Dr, King taught that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” we are inspired to see you advance his vision in the United Kingdom and around the world.”
And from our patron Lord Herman Ouseley: ”It is fitting that today, on Martin Luther King Day, we should reflect on the issues affecting the next generation as we seek to build societies free from the evils of repression, poverty, hatred, prejudice, discrimination, exclusion and violence.”
With thanks to everyone at the V&A Museum of Childhood and Journey to Justice who helped make the event a success.
Photographs by Aziz Rahman
See our short film of the evening made by Kerian Daniel.
JtoJ’s travelling exhibition will be on display at Rich Mix in December 2016, a catalyst for arts and education events and training focused on local history and current social justice concerns. Rich Mix is a cinema and cross-arts centre in Bethnal Green, Tower Hamlets and our exhibition will be on display there in December 2016 with a programme of complementary events. www.richmix.org.uk Join us in making JtoJ happen in Tower Hamlets This was our first event in the borough and we’d welcome your help and partnership with events, publicity, research, exhibition planning and outreach and fundraising. Email: Carrie Supple email@example.com
London pilot of Journey to Justice workshops
Thanks to funding from Awards For All (The Big Lottery) and Land Securities, we are running a pilot of our workshops focused on: the history of human rights movements; the arts of social protest; what is social change and how you can you be part of it, developing communication and team skills. A group of 13 young people from George Mitchell School, Leyton will be taken through a seven week course led by Martin Spafford who has many years’ experience of teaching history, with colleagues and volunteers. Sessions are interactive, with visiting speakers, challenging them to think about social change and their role in making it. There will be a local celebration event and on February 25th our patron Lord Herman Ouseley and Lord Jeremy Beecham will host us at the House of Lords where the group will share their learning with guests.
watch a short film made by Winstan Whitter about our Leyton pilot.
We are thrilled at the response to our three preview screenings. All events were full – London and Newcastle sold out of tickets and had waiting lists. We raised enough funds to support some of our education projects in the forthcoming Newcastle pilot and to give Sheffield a healthy start to its pilot. Thanks to: Pathe Films, our volunteers, superb speakers and to everyone who supported us
Fundraising event for JtoJ
Team member and English teacher Parul Motin held a fundraising evening at her home for friends and family to showcase the work of JtoJ. They enjoyed refreshments and the films and poetry of our projects and heard the views of young people who have gained so much from their involvement with JtoJ. Thanks everyone for your support and generosity, we could not do without you.
‘My favourite part today was watching the children express themselves through the power of poetry. It was extremely touching and inspiring.’ (Lili Bayne)
‘ I love Journey to Justice’s aims. I lacked knowledge in school and had to learn from my mum and the internet.’ (Rochelle Mullings)
‘It’s wonderful to know that JtoJ exists and serves to address and eradicate fear and equality. To see the impact it had on the children was awesome.’ (Nadia Altaf)
‘My day was educational. I learnt many new stories!’ (Yusrah Kalyaci)
‘I look forward to seeing the great changes JtoJ will encourage.I have certainly gained a much more in depth understanding of what JtoJ stands for.’ (Afsana Motin)
Be the Change: at Northumberland Park Community School, Tottenham
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” (Mahatma Gandhi)
Journey to Justice was invited to run a session with students at NPCS in Tottenham as part of their Be the Change Day which aims to inspire and motivate students to make a difference through volunteering.
We talked about our work so far: in Leyton, the travelling exhibition, Newcastle and more and we discussed the factors which make human rights campaigns successful (or not) and asked them to describe issues they care about most. Their concerns include: equal education for girls world-wide; eradicate discrimination; homelessness; the need for peace and respect (‘don’t insult each other’, ‘be more positive’); more family time.
The young people outlined how being a volunteer can help achieve change and the range of skills needed. Then they worked in small groups; focused on helping plan our London launch of the travelling exhibition for 2016. The themes were: fundraising; PR & Communications and the line-up itself.
Feedback to the whole group was fantastic! Detailed, enthusiastic, thoughtful and invaluable. Happily for us, many students signed up to volunteer with JtoJ. It was a brilliant morning full of quality questions and responses. In their evaluations, students said:
‘I really enjoyed the class. I didn’t want to come because I thought it was going to be boring but I really learned things and understand that it’s in my hands and the hands of all people to make a difference. We just need to join together.’ (Ruth)
‘My favourite part of the day was when we planned next year’s show in London.’ (Kaan)
‘The part that I liked was when we were sharing things about our world that we would like to change.’ (Marianna)
‘I really enjoyed it when my group had to present our ideas for the launch.’ (Ryan)
‘I really enjoyed everything. I thought our session was well planned and there was nothing to improve. Everyone got involved and it was a fun experience I won’t forget.’ (Ketura)
Thank you very much staff and students of Northumberland Park Community School
LAUNCH OF JOURNEY TO JUSTICE: FOOTSTEPS TO FREEDOM IN THE NORTH EAST
Saturday April 4th is the anniversary of Dr Martin Luther King’s assassination and was the date of our North East launch. Journey to Justice is part of his legacy. In our exhibition we tell the stories of less well-known people who chose to join the civil rights movement and, by doing so, helped bring more justice to the world. We celebrated with a rich mix of local singers and speakers from our partners and supporters and poetry by young people in Leyton, London who are part of Journey to Justice.
Highlights included a song composed by Crossings for JtoJ, music of North East heritage performed by Johnny Handle and Benny Graham and an impassioned speech about the global meaning of Justice by Archie Sibeko, international trade unionist and a former cell mate of Nelson Mandela.
The event was run by 20 of our volunteers and at the end they each read a line from the speech by MLK when he came to receive his honorary degree at Newcastle University on 13th November 1967.
See here for the full programme.
The exhibition was opened by Marcia Saunders, former US civil rights activist in the Tennessee voter registration campaign and whose story is told in the exhibition . She cut the ribbon with Spencer Moore of Kingsmeadow School after he sang Oh Freedom with his community choir and all his heart.
See here for Marcia’s speech.
350 people packed into the magnificent Great Hall at Discovery Museum. Formerly the canteen and ballroom for Co-op workers, it was the perfect venue for our opening and all filmed by the BBC. We had a minute of fame on Look North that night which – with fantastic coverage on the radio and in The Journal and Chronicle has brought hundreds of visitors to our exhibition.
‘The Journey to Justice Newcastle launch was a diverse and inspiring event to all who attended. The inclusive nature of the launch ensured all voices from all campaigns, from the civil rights movement to tackling poverty today – were heard. All linked by the way normal people see something that is wrong and strive to change it. Our highlights were Archie’s inspiring speech, the photographs from campaigns and of course the singing!’
PEN (Poverty Ends Now) group
‘The inclusiveness of J2J shone through. Especially important was putting people on stage who clearly are not often given such a platform alongside confident experienced speakers and leaders and the MP.’
‘I loved every minute of the incredible launch. I know many of you have worked so hard to deliver this dream. It was a moving afternoon with wonderful speeches and music. My parents and boyfriend attended – they hadn’t really known what to expect but they came away very much inspired and full of it. I feel very privileged to be involved.’
‘It was a great day of solidarity and aspiring activists. There was a humbling atmosphere full of smiles. We are not here for fame and money but for change and empowerment.’
‘It was a magnificent afternoon.’ ‘The opening was fantastic..Everyone was superb…Zola’s a legend!’
‘It was so special to be part of the day and I felt proud as punch that my parents and sister were able to see it. They were all so impressed, HUGE congratulations!’
With many thanks, as always, to our funders, supporters, guests, performers and volunteers.
Photography courtesy of Aziz Rahman
Celebration at the House of Lords
February 25th 2015
Hosted by our patron Lord Herman Ouseley and supporter Lord Jeremy Beecham
Funded by Big Lottery Fund and Land Securities
With huge thanks to everyone.
Students, staff and volunteers from George Mitchell School, Leyton led their guests through two hours of presentations, music and poetry. We were celebrating the first two months of a Journey to Justice course focused on global human rights movements, the music of social protest and understanding social change. Students: met campaigners from Movement for Change, researched Soweto, Ruby Bridges, Malala Yousafzai and the Burston School Strike; attended a preview of Selma and The Scottsboro Boys and planned their own campaigns. These will focus on gangs and the lack of activities for young people locally and on the involvement of students in the school exclusion process.
The JtoJ poetry group created stunning work in response to discussions about justice which they read at the House of Lords and is now part of the Journey to Justice travelling exhibition.
Click here to download the poems
Students invited guests at the HOL to talk about their own journeys to justice including: meeting Martin Luther King; bring wrongfully arrested by a racist police officer; coming out as gay and running a campaign against FGM. It was an extraordinary, powerful night for everyone.
Click here to download the full programme.
‘I was so moved and inspired by the poetry and journeys against injustice that everyone had faced. It was eye-opening for me to see young people express themselves in such a way, they really are something. It made me reflect on my own journey and my own struggles with social injustice and the changes I want to see in the world. It showed me that I have no excuses to sit back.’ (Aminah Khan)
‘I’ve learned that if I believe in something I shouldn’t give up no matter what the challenge is.’ (Krusal Vara, student at George Mitchell School) ‘I want to know more now, make an effort and succeed.’ (Jacky Yenga-Matmu). The group say they are more aware of injustice, have made new friends, can speak in public with more ease and have found issues which are personal and real to work on. The Journey to Justice poetry club gave them an outlet for their inner thoughts and feelings and some parents say they are more confident at home.
‘The project has certainly changed their hearts and mind. They want to be a part of positive change’ (Parul Motin, teacher)
Visit the George Mitchell Journey to Justice Blog Spot for details of the pilot course we are running:
watch a short film made by Winstan Whitter about our Leyton pilot.
Photographs by Bethany Hunt and Aziz Rahman
What Do You Think About Our Plans?
Professor Brian Ward, Fred Suadwa, Lord Jeremy Beecham and Anya Bonner in Newcastle-upon-Tyne talk about the importance of learning: from struggles for human rights all over the world and how change can happen; the meaning of economic, social and legal justice and the need for vigilance against the exploitation of insecurities and fear.
Footsteps to Freedom in the North East
Click here to view the full programme of events
What can the civil rights movement and its links to the UK teach us?
People in Liverpool and Bradford talk about: how we need to be inspired, learn from past mistakes, unite, stand up and speak out – now more than ever and the importance of education about human rights struggles from all over the world.
Fundraising cocktail party
We can all make change happen
People in Manchester and Glasgow talk about: the need for action if we want to preserve the rights and access to welfare which were so hard won, especially for women; the need for empathy and understanding of each other and how history can help us tackle human rights abuses today.
Selma Nights – the reviews
We are thrilled at the response to our three preview screenings. All events were full – London and Newcastle sold out of tickets and had waiting lists. We raised enough funds to support some of our education projects in the forthcoming Newcastle pilot and to give Sheffield a healthy start to its pilot. Thanks to: Pathe Films, our volunteers, superb speakers and to everyone who supported us. Here’s some of the feedback:
London January 26 at the Charlotte Street Hotel
“The reason I liked this movie was because it opened my eyes to what Martin Luther did for the black community. It was definitely very inspirational, as he fought for the blacks’ rights in voting. He didn’t fail them. Martin Luther King changed history. He fought for what he believed in and didn’t stop until he got what he wanted. I would recommend this movie to everyone to learn” (Samira Hussein, student at George Mitchell School, Leyton)
“Selma, America in the 1960s is where lots of black people marched because they were treated unfairly. They stood up for their rights and did not give up until they got what they were protesting for, which was equality in voting with white people without needing to pass a test. After watching the film, I felt very uncomfortable and sad for the people who died, calmly protesting. However, I was happy to see them finally getting victory. They were all brave and continued to challenge the President. My favourite part was when King and his followers kept going back to march, their courage was astonishing and they even invited white people to join. I learnt a lot from the film, I know if I believe in something I shouldn’t give up no matter what the challenge is. I would recommend it to everyone in my school.” (Krusal Vara, student at George Mitchell and one of the speakers before the film)
“Thank you Journey to Justice for such a moving night – the speakers were amazing and my friend Issy and I want to be human rights lawyers now.” (Hannah Polden-Churchill)
Photography courtesy of Aziz Rahman
Sheffield January 31st 11am in the VOID lecture room, Sheffield Hallam University
“We heard you on the radio, Sir, talking about that Civil Rights film!”.
Over 80 people bravely bore the freezing temperatures to turn up for an exclusive preview screening of Selma to raise funds for Journey to Justice at Sheffield Hallam University. Amongst those present was Bruce Leng a Church minister who was on the 1963 March on Washington and heard Martin Luther King deliver his famous ‘I Have a dream ‘speech. Others were impressed with the portrayal of Martin Luther King by David Oyelowo and the intelligent way in which the story of the struggle for civil rights was told.
Mark Hutchinson, co-ordinator of the Sheffield Journey to Justice Project and Maxine Greaves, Engagement Officer for Communities at Hallam University thanked Pathe and Plan B Entertainment for the rights to screen the film. Further support came from Carrie Supple, director of Journey to Justice and Michael Gillender a senior researcher with JtJ.
Sheffield Live! and Radio Sheffield broadcast interviews with Mark – heard by some of his pupils who asked, ‘Can we see the film Sir and get some justice?”.
Newcastle January 31st 2pm at the Star and Shadow
‘It was a huge success , Professor Ward gave us a really good historical context and opening with a freedom song (Birmingham Sunday) was great – Bethany (Coyle, JtoJ’s North East co-ordinator) has such a beautiful voice. I wonder how often the Star and Shadow sees the likes of such a vibrant event? The audience appeared drained by the film it was so affective.’ (Lucy T)
The Ira Grupper Interviews
Dr Ira Gruper talks about how he joined the US civil rights movement as a school boy when his father took him to a demonstration in New York in solidarity with the Greensboro Woolworth’s lunch counter sit-ins. Ira became part of the Student Non-Violent Co-ordinating Committee in Mississippi, went to prison and has been active in social justice movements ever since.
Journey to Justice announces exclusive previews of Pathe Films’ stunning new movie, ‘Selma’
Pathe will release ‘Selma’, starring British actor David Oyelowo as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with Tom Wilkinson as President Lyndon B. Johnson; Carmen Ejogo as Coretta King; Tim Roth as Governor George Wallace; and Oprah Winfrey as Annie Lee Cooper, in UK cinemas on 6th February.
Journey to Justice is holding three exclusive preview screenings of the film in Sheffield, Newcastle and London (details below) to help fund our education work. Every penny of your ticket price will go to projects which will make connections with campaigns for social justice now. Our travelling exhibition on the US civil rights movement and its links to the UK will be at The Discovery Museum in Newcastle throughout April.
SELMA tells the story of the historic struggle to secure voting rights for African-Americans. The film, directed by Ava DuVernay tracks a dangerous and terrifying three month campaign led by Dr King which culminated in the epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in March 1965. It galvanized American public opinion and persuaded President Johnson to introduce the Voting Rights Act, protecting African-Americans’ right to vote. 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of this pivotal moment in the US Civil Rights Movement and our event is a week after MLK Day and the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day.
‘Tremendous… A flat-out great film. Oyelowo is electrifying as Martin Luther King’ (5 stars, Daily Telegraph)
‘A film everyone should see… phenomenal’ (Glamour)
‘A triumph… stunning’ (Baz Bamigboye, Daily Mail)
Monday January 26th
7pm, Charlotte St Hotel, 15-17 Charlotte St, London W1T 1RJ
Special guest speakers include: Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, Lord Herman Ouseley and Chi Onwurah MP for Newcastle Central
Tickets £30 – all proceeds will fund one of our education projects in Newcastle. As part of our pilot there, launching in April 2015, we will use oral history to tell the story of when Martin Luther King visited Newcastle to receive an honorary degree in 1967.
To fund one of our education projects in Newcastle. As part of our pilot there, launching in April 2015, we will use oral history to tell the story of when Martin Luther King visited Newcastle to receive an honorary degree in 1967 just five months before his assassination.
Tickets for the London screening:
Saturday 31st January 2015, 11 am, Tickets £7 to fund Sheffield pilot of JtoJ
The VOID room 123 Owen Building, City Campus
Sheffield Hallam University S1 1WB
Sat. Jan. 31st
2pm at Star and Shadow Cinema, Stepney Bank, NE1 2NP
With special guest speakers
Tickets £10 to fund Newcastle pilot of JtoJ
For tickets: www.purecharity.org/journeytojustice.3
What activists can learn from Selma:
Facing History and Ourselves: teaching ideas:
Journey to Justice launched through song, dance, poetry, film and speeches
On Saturday 21 June 2014, Journey to Justice hosted a night of the music and arts of human rights movements in Conway Hall, London. Attended by 350 people, with 45 performers and 40 volunteers, many spoke afterwards of feeling inspired to take action for social justice whether at work or in their neighbourhood or community.
Main speakers were three of our patrons Leyla Hussein, co-founder of Daughters of Eve and campaigner against gender based violence; Sir Geoffrey Bindman QC, who spoke about the need for people to campaign for justice and Lord Herman Ouseley who addressed us via video and described the ‘walks to freedom’ taken by so many.
Compered by our Chairman Mark Hutchinson, performances included the David Idowu Choir (formed in memory of David, who was a 15 year old victim of knife crime); Tayo Aluko (Call Mr Robeson); Streetz Ahead dance; UCLU Jazz Society; Zena Edwards, poet and singer; Jo Clarke in memory of Nina Simone and Wayne Marshall singing civil rights anthems. A feast of food and drink – donated by generous supporters was enjoyed by all during the interval.
June 21 2014 was the 50th anniversary of the murder of civil rights workers Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman in Mississippi and our launch was dedicated to their memory. We concluded with a tribute to the late Pete Seeger, a king of social protest music. Huge thanks to everyone who made it such a success.
See feedback and photographs of the launch here
Journey to Justice Team Day at the Black Cultural Archives Saturday October 25th 2014
Thirty five of JtoJ’s volunteers, advisers, supporters and steering group members spent a most stimulating day together in the brand new Black Cultural Archives Learning Room on Saturday October 25th. We explored the meaning of social justice, shared our own journeys to justice and were taken through a lesson in the importance of critical thinking as Martin Spafford unpacked the true story behind this notorious photo from the Children’s Crusade, 1963 in Birmingham, Alabama:
(copyright Bill Hudson, 1963)
Before lunch, our North East co-ordinator and singer extraordinaire, Bethany Elen Kirtley Coyle sang Joan Baez’s tragic Birmingham Sunday and led us all in Sweet Honey in the Rock’s Ella’s Song about Ella Baker, one of the many unsung heroes and heroines of the US civil rights movement:
We held our first AGM that afternoon, agreeing a revised constitution ready for our application to become a charity. We heard reports and updates about our amazing first year and elected a new management committee [link??]. It was a very special seven hours and a milestone for the team.
‘I liked the way activities involved everyone, a refreshing way to discover new insights and knowledge about that period of history. I was reminded of how much work goes on behind the scenes to make change happen, and that there are lots of unsung heroes and efforts involved in organising events and actions for social justice.’
‘Most memorable was the wonderful cross-section of people present – all supporting JtoJ in different and important ways. This was inspiring and reflected our principles of JtoJ. I loved Bethany’s beautiful singing and I learnt much more about the tactics and reporting of the US civil rights movement and how much more complex the struggle was……… in contrast to the well-known, traditional description of events and personalities.’
‘The introduction was very powerful, finding out what justice meant to each individual because everyone is on their own journey.’
‘It made me rethink more deeply about how the media and different viewpoints shape historical narratives.’
‘I was inspired and educated about the nature of the planning and overall mission of the non-violent civil rights movement via the discussion and reflection of those events. I learnt that it requires planning, clear goals, focus, and cooperation to make positive changes.’
‘I didn’t know so much about the Birmingham protest so that was fascinating. I was also inspired by meeting so many passionate people, and felt part of the J2J community.’
Islington Black History Month Festival 2014
We are pleased to announce that the Islington Black History Month Festival, organised by our friend and colleague Aisha Forbes runs from 1st October – 18th November 2014.
Click here for full details
Journey to Justice sings songs of civil rights and social justice
Martin Luther King speaks – at Newcastle University, 13th November 1967
Journey to Justice is delighted to introduce you to a wonderful short film made for us by Exposure, one of our partners and an award-winning youth media charity supporting young people to improve their confidence, communication and employability skills. They have taken part of Dr King’s speech on accepting his honorary degree from Newcastle University. Five months later he was shot dead.
MLK’s words are so powerful, Exposure produced this film to bring each phrase to life and share with the world. For what he says is still so true for today. The work goes on. Thank you Exposure…
Journey to Justice will pilot the US civil rights exhibition in Newcastle next year partly because it was the only University in the UK to give Martin Luther King a degree. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-27629106?SThisFB
Join us for a mass singing of civil rights and social justice songs
One week before the end of our crowd funding campaign! Please help Journey to Justice reach its target!
Just bring your voices – we’ll provide song sheets. Tell your friends, family & networks too & please donate at: www.buzzbnk.org/journeytojustice by 31 July. Help us build our travelling exhibition about the US civil rights movement & its impact, linked to UK histories of human rights campaigns.
See you on Wednesday July 23rd at 6pm, the South Bank
Our launch party – June 21st 2014
On 21 June the wonderful Conway Hall was host to our launch – a night of song, dance, poetry, film and speeches celebrating movements for social justice – compered by our Chairman Mark Hutchinson. There was a full house and teams of dedicated volunteers prepared delicious food and drink, all donated. The launch was made possible by our funders and the hard work of 40 volunteers and 45 performers. Many in the audience have given to our crowd funding campaign – thank you!
We were delighted to be joined by Alvin Hall whose brilliant programmes about civil rights and African American music – its sounds and politics – inspire and inform us. Speakers included Leyla Hussein, co-founder of Daughters of Eve and campaigner against gender based violence; Sir Geoffrey Bindman – human rights lawyer and JtoJ steering group member and Brandon Palmer, remembering Bayard Rustin – the phenomenal organiser of the US civil rights movement. Mary Spyrou read Maya Angelou’s Still I Rise and performances included the David Idowu Choir (formed in memory of David, who was a 15 year old victim of knife crime); Tayo Aluko (Call Mr Robeson); Streetz Ahead; UCLU Vocals; Zena Edwards, poet and singer; Jo Clarke singing Nina Simone; Wayne Marshall singing civil rights anthems and Dareece James reading her powerful poem, Who Are We? Who Are They? and Exposure premiered Revolution 2.0 their stunning re-make of Gil Scott Heron’s The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. The evening ended with a tribute to Pete Seeger introduced by Dave Rosenberg of East End Walks and all performers back on stage singing If I Had A Hammer and We Shall Overcome after we cut a magnificent launch cake made by Trisha Kelly under the banner she made. You can see the full evening’s programme here.
We promoted Journey to Justice’s first project: a travelling exhibition about the US civil rights movement and its impact which will tour UK communities starting in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Sheffield. As it tours, the exhibition will connect with local UK histories of campaigns for change. June 21st was the 50th anniversary of the murder of civil rights workers Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman in Mississippi and the launch was dedicated in part to their memory.
Photography courtesy of Aziz Rahman
The feedback has been overwhelming. Here’s a taste of it:
Warmest congratulations and admiration to everyone who was involved on Saturday: what a rich, thought provoking, warm, combative, exciting evening with a real sense both of a community developing and a willingness to struggle. So many wonderful elements to the evening, so varied yet complementary the contributions. The gloriously eclectic and delicious spread of food mirrored the wide ranging glories on stage, too. We’ve so much to do ahead of us that the launch needed to inspire and invigorate us as well as announcing us to the world and bringing in an ever wider network. It did its job so well.
It was a fabulous evening. The performers were brilliant and delicious food and wine. I really loved it and was extremely impressed by the fantastic organisation and Mark’s excellent presentation.
I had the most brilliant evening; you gathered the most amazing crowd and all of the acts were great. The room was a-buzz and there was a palpable sense of love and excitement in the air. We were both in tears listening to the David Idowu Choir and it made us think about how we should stand up for our rights at work more too.
The evening was fantastic on so many levels. The message came through so clearly and strongly with every act and the huge variety of performers all had such terrific energy and infectious enthusiasm.
What a way to start! Thank you for an inspiring evening – an incredible expression of support and goodwill for an enterprise that surely touches a lot of hearts and minds. Leyla Hussein’s mission to right one of the most insidious and unbelievably widespread assaults on women is so courageous. Oh, and the food and drink was so delicious and ample….
It was a wonderful night, it uplifted me and I really needed it.
A special night…Splendid….FANTASTIC!!….Cracking!
I was very impressed by the large attendance and the support JtoJ has rallied for a really valuable project. I was thrilled to have been involved.
The evening is impressed upon our minds. It was a wonderful spread that fed the senses.
The atmosphere was wonderful, the audience ecstatic and the events electric.
Superb speeches…All so well executed…Seriously impressive, would love to see how your projects progress.
Everything was on point, loved the show it was fantastic, loved the way the show started with A Change Is Gonna Come.
Brilliant show, would love to get involved with you guys.
Couldn’t stop thinking about the show all the way home.
More than worth the £10.00 you guys charged!
You’ve come a hell of a long way in a year!
Volunteers said they enjoyed a sense of belonging to the JtoJ community, guests emailed to say the show led to discussions on the way home about social change and the lack of diversity in their neighbourhood or friendship groups and why on earth there are 50 million refugees in 2014.
The journey has begun……
Brother Outsider: The story of Bayard Rustin
‘THE PROOF THAT ONE TRULY BELIEVES IS IN ACTION.’ BAYARD RUSTIN
On June 14th, we held our first public event, a screening of Brother Outsider at The RADA Studios. Brother Outsider tells the story of Bayard Rustin who was African American, Communist, gay, pacifist and a phenomenal organiser of the US civil rights movement. He was an anglophile and visited the UK over 20 times, helping to organise the Aldermaston Marches and campaign for our race relations laws. We were joined at the screening by the film’s co-director, Bennett Singer who left a message for Journey to Justice.
The turnout, discussion and feedback was excellent.
‘Journey to Justice is an inspiring project – and the Bayard Rustin film was a fitting first public event to launch your important efforts to build support for the movement for social justice in the UK and globally.
The film showed powerfully that understanding and learning from the past is a much more sustainable way to build and create social change. Rustin learned from his grandmother the ways of peaceful protest, he learned from Gandhi about how to conduct an effective civil disobedience campaign. He knew it was his human right to be gay and insisted on being open about his sexual orientation, long before this was socially acceptable, and paid personal and political costs for doing so. He advised others, including Martin Luther King, based on his own learning and built a clear vision based on his strategic thought, his experience, clarity and integrity. He showed the way through walking the talk in every way, including pointing out where others were wrong.
So much of our current experience of showing support for social issues is through ‘clicktivist’ campaigns – misguiding people that change can be delivered by signing up to an online petition. Such campaigns can only be a part of the important work of organising, learning, collectivising social action.
Congratulations on this initiative, and best of luck for the launch next week. So sorry I won’t be able to be there, but look forward to participating in future.’ (Cindy Berman)
“Journey to Justice’s showing of Brother Outsider about the awe-inspiring Bayard Rustin was a totally uplifting and extremely thought-provoking event. Bayard’s life embodied Journey to Justice’s values of challenging injustice through non-violent action; compassion for all people; tolerance and inclusion; the importance of music to inspire and promote solidarity as well as a constant debate about how to actually achieve a more just society. The chance to meet and discuss this award-winning film with Bennett Singer, its joint director, made the screening a very memorable occasion. I loved the film and learned so much.” Pat Boyer
‘Journey to Justice has already affected me because I’ve learned about Bayard Rustin.’ Aziz Rahman
Articles about Bayard Rustin by Eric Lee of Labour Start:
Support our crowd funding campaign to raise £20,000 for the travelling exhibition
THANKS VERY MUCH TO EVERYONE WHO DONATED TO OUR CROWD FUNDING CAMPAIGN.
We raised £10,277.50 and are delighted with and grateful for, each penny and pound.
Now we can commission our exhibition design and film.
You can still see the 4 minute movie we made:
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Journey to Justice – the launch
Saturday 21 June 7.30pm – 10.00 pm
Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Sq, London WC1R 4RL
A night of music, dance, poetry and film celebrating those working for social justice.
The main speaker will be Leyla Hussein, co-founder of Daughters of Eve and campaigner against gender based violence.
Compered by Pauline Pearce, Hackney Heroine, performances include the David Idowu Choir (formed in memory of David, who was a 15 year old victim of knife crime); Tayo Aluko (Call Mr Robeson); Streetz Ahead dance; UCLU Jazz Society; Zena Edwards, poet and singer; Jo Clarke singing Nina Simone and Wayne Marshall singing classic civil rights anthems.
June 21st is the 50th anniversary of the murder of civil rights workers Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman in Mississippi and this launch is dedicated in part to their memory.
We will conclude with a tribute to the late great Pete Seeger, a king of social protest music.
Doors open at 7pm Light refreshments will be served in the interval.
Tickets £10 www.eventbrite.com
Blogger Jaz McKenzie kindly wrote this poem for our launch week: