Journey to Justice


“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.

MLKday_speakersThe 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.  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

Further links

An article from Eithne Nightingale with a series of links including her site and new film on migration

An article from Dr Michael McMillan on Caribbean migration

A poem from MC Naga – ‘Rise Up’

A review of the night by Joe Marshall of Exposure Youth Media

An article by Majd Bouchto, a student of journalism at Goldsmiths

Listen to a short interview about JtoJ and our MLK Day event on Colourful Radio:

And an article about our MLK event from the East London News