The Racial Justice Network

Amplifying the voices of northern communities

The mission of The Racial Justice Network is to be the powerhouse that focuses on race equality issues affecting people of the North, to drive positive change between decision makers and communities.

They do this by amplifying the voices of northern communities, ensuring that decision makers are held to account to make social inclusion, economic inclusion, and racial equality a reality.

Our network members bring stories that we, as an organisation see as our duty to share.

Michal Chantkowski

Michal Chantkowski Has more than 12 years’ experience of managing/developing projects, as well as including advocacy and employability and supporting and empowering victims of modern slavery.

He currently manages the International Community Organisation of Sunderland (ICOS- a charity which supports migrants including Eastern Europeans and Refugees- icos.org.uk). He is also a member (and former vice-chair) of Sunderland Community Led Local Development (https://www.sunderland.gov.uk/clld ) and secretary (and former chair) of Sunderland Black and Minority Ethnic Network (https://sbmen.org.uk/).

Michal Chantkowski
Nicole Peterson

Nicole Peterson

Nicole is a multifaceted, ambitious, and driven individual that holds a dedicated passion towards transforming the culture in society with issues surrounding race and equality, Nicole describes herself as a black liberation activist that wears many hats.

Her experience of navigating through life as a Black Woman in the UK, along with finding her voice has allowed her to positively change, impact, inspire and advocate for the communities she most closely identifies with.

Windrush advocacy, campaigning for workplace equality along with the empowerment and unification of the Black community are some of the ways she tries to be the change that she desires to see in the world.

Nicole believes that effective communication, patience, understanding, empathy in addition to tailored educative resources are tools staple to her success.

Neena Punnu

I live in Leeds and have been working for Bradford Council since 2004. It’s the people, their energy and passion that makes Bradford District a great place to work.

I have over 15 years’ experience in Safeguarding Adults work, championing that people have a real voice - lifting the voices of the unheard, so that the people we serve are in the driving seat to shape and influence decision making that affects them and their lives.

In my current role I am part of the Stronger Communities Team. l manage projects, groups and campaigns that champion social justice, equality, diversity and inclusion in all its forms - as part of Bradford For Everyone integration and cohesion programme.

Neena Punnu
Dr Safina Islam

Dr Safina Islam

Dr Safina Islam is a community engagement and inclusion specialist. She is the Head of the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah RACE Centre (AIURC) and Education Trust. The AIURC is a leading specialist library and archive on race, ethnicity and migration and a part of the University of Manchester Library special collections.

With a background in biomedical science, Safina obtained a PhD from the University of Manchester, and then moved into public health/health inequalities-focused research and policy development. She was responsible for leading the first national review of race equality in health and social care as Head of Equality and Human Rights at the then Health Care Commission.

Safina is passionate about the role of grass roots organisations leading change by respecting and valuing the social capital of Black, Asian and Global Majority community groups to address inequality. Safina has over 20 years of experience in the voluntary and community sector and is the Chair of Ananna, Manchester Bangladeshi Women’s Organisation and a trustee of Big Issue North and its parent company Big Life Group.

Jonathon Prasad

Jonathon Prasad works for the Lancashire BME Network – where he established the Independent Race Equality Panel for Lancashire in 2019. 

He has a long-standing interest in progressing the race equality agenda and addressing health inequalities between communities.  Jonathon is also working on a PhD on Poverty and Inequality in BAME communities in Lancashire.

Jonathon Prasad
Jabu Phiri

Jabu Phiri

I live in Bradford; I am a Bradford for Everyone Ambassador (resident voice and influence) and I run a restaurant called Yam Spice Foods Ltd. Bradford has a lot to offer in terms of various opportunities, its diversity, and its atmosphere, it is home.

Being a Bradford Ambassador has however enabled me to explore Bradford's beauty and connect with people and organisations in a way that I wouldn't have otherwise, in fact, that it how I came to join People's Powerhouse -Racial Justice Network. In my time as an ambassador and as a People's Powerhouse Racial Justice Advocate, I have developed a growing hunger for positive transformation, I strive to make Bradford, the UK and the world a better place.

What excites me abouts People's Powerhouse is that it brings diverse people together from various parts of the North and channels the different energies into making the very change that most people desire, a change much needed.

I came to England many years ago from Malawi and I have lived in Bradford for over 15 years.  You see, when you are a person of colour in a land where many are just like you, you do not feel different, nor are you discriminated on the basis of your skin colour.  In places like the UK however, many people of colour soon realise that they are different, different to the majority. I am a black woman, I am comfortable in my natural dark skin, this is me...sadly, like many people of colour, now and then I am reminded that I am different to the majority. This difference shows up in the opportunities offered i.e.  in employment, health, finances, education and so much more.

By joining platforms such as People's Powerhouse Racial Justice Network, I get to connect with likeminded people and allies who wish to challenge inequality and create opportunities for all, regardless of race, religion, or background.

I have immense passion for equality development in all its forms, racial justice being one.  In fact, recently, I have stumbled upon two words of which I think are key in any real change " economic development".  When these words are overlooked, manipulated for self-interest, and ignored, inequality happens, and the gap thereof widens.

As a community activist/ advocate and businesswoman, I do what I do because I want to see "economic development" applied fairly across society.  These two words fuel me to create jobs for people who may otherwise not have one. I also want to empower people to have a voice, to speak, to be heard to act positively on their experiences. I want people to tune into existing programmes and positive interventions, to create new ones, to gain knowledge, to get involved to connect with other people who also crave for change.  I want us all, regardless of who we are and where we come from to be free, like Martin Luther Jr said, "No one if free until we are all free".

Our address

The People's Powerhouse

Federation House
2 Federation Street
Manchester  M4 4BF

people@peoplespowerhouse.org.uk

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