Mission Statement of the European Network of People of African Descent:
Background of the Network Development:
The aim of the first Network meeting was to build a network of organizations for people of African Descent in Europe, and to create a Demand Catalogue prior to the European Elections in May 2014. More than 15 advocacy groups from Europe drafted the demand catalogue prior to the elections of the European Parliament in May 2014.
Following the positive outcomes of the first Network Meeting for People of African Descent & Black Europeans, a second Network Meeting was held in Berlin in November 2014. The first and the second meeting took place 130 years after the “Berlin Conference”, which has played a major role in the partition of the African continent among the colonial powers of the West. These meetings were held to enable us to step out of the isolation of each of our national contexts, generate awareness amongst each other for our shared realities of Black people in Europe, bring together grassroots and advocacy groups of Black People from around Europe and find strategic approaches against anti-Black racism that marry these two together. The 2nd Meeting strategically developed the Network by dividing it into four stakeholder Working Groups focused on specific tasks and each with a designated team leader. The name the European Network of People of African Descent (ENPAD) was also established.
Anti-Black racism & political (em)powerment
- To start a Pan-European Black Movement for the implementation of the respect and recognition of the dignity, equality and human rights of People of African Descent in Europe
- To work towards the full implementation in Europe of the objectives of the UN International Decade for People of African Descent 2015-2024 and its three themes; recognition, justice and development
- To empower Black People at every level of society, including culturally, and spiritually
- To support Black People in Europe to self-determine their political and socio-economic position in society
- To raise civic awareness of anti-Black racism, in all forms in education, housing, health and the criminal justice systems in Europe
- To enable Black people to organize in self-defined spaces throughout Europe
- To create platforms that make visible and/or showcase Black people’s current social, and historical narratives across Europe
- To build a recognisable global identity for ENPAD on popular social media, in grassroots literature and academic publications.
Externally – to promote:
- Advocacy and political action for and by People of African Descent
- The implementation of the international frameworks (Durban Declaration, ICERD)
- Implementing awareness on intersectionality, meaning that a person is exposed to multiple forms of discrimination, in the ENPAD working sphere
- Creating an ENPAD educational forum, training and workshops for people of African descent
- transferring and archiving knowledge internally
Relevance of Communities in ENPAD’s work
Everything we do through ENPAD is with and for Black communities on the ground: our members are members of Black communities in Europe. Where there is access to space for Black led activities, initiatives and events are increasingly scarce and Black communities are routinely presented with a range of barriers to prevent our access to space. In many European countries Black people are so marginalized that they are denied their own spaces. Spaces that are owned and controlled by Black communities across Europe are vital to the development and empowerment of all Black people, in particular the most vulnerable e.g. our children and elders. Spaces must be built by Black communities for the use of Black communities in order to avoid becoming engaged with structures/institutions that reproduce racism and maintain white privileged systems of hierarchy.
Knowledge of identity is crucial to the positive self-development of every individual – knowledge is power. Education is the primary source of knowledge transfer used in the schools, colleges and universities that Black children, youth and adults attend. Europe wide there has been a deliberate attempt to distort and silence its Black history. ENPAD recognises that the Black presence in Europe dates back millennia and advocates for its inclusion in the curricula of learning institutions across Europe. The network aims to become a vehicle to implement Europe wide recognition of Black narratives and the socio-economic perspectives at every level of society. Therefore the Network aims include, the development of training and workshops that inform on and facilitate the creation of strategies to dismantle structural and/or institutional anti-Black racism. We will achieve this by advocating for the recognition of Black people as agents of change, the representation of the diversity of Black realities and by enabling the voices of Black communities to be heard in Black spaces.
ENPAD rejects tokenistic practices and structures, that maintain discrimination, inequity and racial injustice. ENPAD rejects all forms of discrimination, inequity and racial injustice, we advocate for the elimination of all such processes, practice and structures.
As we are all here for the same purpose: to try to improve the life of People of African Descent in Europe and globally, we would wish for every participant of this network to ensure that all meetings, conferences and events are conducted in a confidential and respectful manner, so as to create a safe space, free from discrimination, harassment and victimisation on the basis of:
- age and/or appearance
- continental, national and/or linguistic identity
- sexual identity and/or lifestyle
- physical and/or mental ability
- faith, religion and/or belief
- pregnancy and/or maternity status
- social and/or educational status
ENPAD will build networks within the network, so as to ensure that marginalized members’ voices are strengthened and facilitated, to develop strategies that can be put into place to achieve systemic change across the network.