This week our Social Impact Briefing covers the first black youth engagement summit, protests across Lebanon, the oil spill in Mauritius and more.
| FIRST BLACK YOUTH ENGAGEMENT SUMMIT
On Wednesday, the 12th of August, the first Black Youth Engagement Summit will be launched as part of International Youth Day 2020. The summit aims to highlight black voices, activists and issues.
The virtual event will specifically showcase the exceptional work of many young black activists in Leeds and across the country, as they fight against racial inequality. Young activists aged between 15-24 will feature at the event, aiming to both raise awareness of their activist work and encourage other young black people to open up about the problems they face.
The summit is hosted by Leeds charity Angel of Youths, in partnership with Black Lives Matter (BLM) Leeds, Youth Strike 4 Climate and the FindYours Project. The event is split into three main sections: Unite, Heal and Educate.
The ‘Unite’ section will feature a panel with young leaders and speakers, as well as opportunities for young people watching to engage in conversation through a Q&A.
‘Heal’ is a creative segment, with videos, poems and music. Lastly, the ‘Educate’ section will conclude the day with a group of speakers specifically chosen for their involvement in driving youth engagement and fighting for racial justice.
“This summit exists to give young Black youths a voice and a platform to talk about the key problems they face and why they feel the lack of engagement with services is detrimental to their voice and influence in the UK.”Marvina Newton, founder of Angel of Youths and Black Lives Matter Leeds
More information about the event here.
| PROTESTS AND GLOBAL RESPONSE IN THE WAKE OF BEIRUT BLAST
The past week has seen continuous anti-government protests in response to Tuesday’s explosion in the port of Beirut, adding to the economic and political crisis in Lebanon that has impeded the country for the past year.
The explosion, which killed at least 200 and injured approximately 6,000, also left around 300,000 people homeless in a year where even before the Covid-19 crisis, 25% of the country was unemployed and nearly a third of the population were living below the poverty line. In response to the most recent protests demonstrating anger at what many view as political incompetence and corruption, Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab said he would ask for an early election as a way out of the crisis.
Given the precarious position Lebanon currently finds itself, the UN has called for “all hands on deck” in providing humanitarian support for the country. At a virtual donors conference held yesterday, UN deputy chief Amina Mohammed said:
“This blast will have deep social and economic impacts. Not least because it came when Lebanon was already dealing with economic hardship and the coronavirus outbreak. The faster we act, the better we can reduce human suffering, in Lebanon and beyond.”
The virtual conference pledged to provide nearly $300 million from a number of UN member states, while also calling for structural reforms to be made in the country. Additionally, there are a large number of organisations that urgently require financial assistance to help them support the local populations, including the Lebanese Red Cross. They can be found here.
| MAURITIUS DECLARES ENVIRONMENTAL EMERGENCY
A shipwreck, just off the coast of Mauritius, continues to spill upwards of 4,000 tonnes of oil and diesel into the sea. The Mauritian government has declared a state of an environmental emergency, with thousands of species now at risk.
Satellite images paint a stark image: the black viscous liquid slowly spreading across Mauritius’ turquoise coastline. The spill could have devastating consequences, not just for the thousands of ocean species now at risk but also for the island state’s economy that depends heavily on the surrounding waters.
Mauritians’ are becoming increasingly concerned that their government has not done enough to stem the impact of the disaster, leading the opposition to demand the immediate resignation of the environment and fisheries ministers. Thousands of volunteers have gone to the beaches to try and scoop the oil out of the water themselves, highlighting how frustrated they are at the government’s inaction.
| SPOTLIGHT ON… INTERNATIONAL YOUTH DAY
This Wednesday is the 21st United Nations International Youth Day. The day is an opportunity to celebrate the meaningful, universal and equitable engagement of young people as they campaign for a better world at the local, national and global level. This year’s theme of Youth Engagement for Global Action is a timely opportunity to celebrate the youth-led climate protests of 2019 that took place across the world, amongst countless other examples of young people fighting for their futures.