What happens when a moment becomes a movement?
When the image of someone merely choosing the most human thing to do becomes crystallised in time, spreads across the world and becomes a powerful symbol for change?
The result is a host of conversations on a variety of scales and platforms across the world to seek out the answer to the same question answered in multiple ways – What can we do? How can we help? How do we drive change in a way that is sustainable? … The people at the receiving end of these questions are the brilliant team behind UTCAI – United to Change and Inspire: Richard Pascoe, Troy Davis, Patrick Hutchinson, Louise O’ Hara, Chris Otokito, Lee Russell, Jamaine Facey and Keisha Hercules. In conversation with Duro Oye of 20/20 Change, they spoke at Home Grown Club as part of the Lunch and Learn Series focusing this time on the central question ‘What do you see as the biggest challenge to true equality?’.
Did you think that action you took would lead to what transpired?
Patrick Hutchinson: It was simply an act of kindness. I often ask people – what would you have done? I scooped the man over my shoulder and carried him to the police. The main reason was to preserve life, regardless of his thought process and racism I wouldn’t watch him die, five minutes later the paramedics attended to him. Many people talk about me saving a man’s life that day but we must respect the fact that we saved a lot of young black men too from perhaps going to prison, from being the subjects of a narrative that could have possibly changed perceptions of the event that day. The narrative was changed in that moment and we changed the lives of many.
Troy Davis: We didn’t want that moment to remain static but more dynamic – into a movement. This is why change was imperative to our branding, we wanted to empower and inspire others to be the change in a way that included everyone, united everyone; this is how we became UTCAI. We captured the moment that we use as our logo, the powerful image of Patrick carrying the man to safety, as a way to use the visual impact that we now have to champion companies and organisations that align with the change we want to see and work as a collective. When you see our logo we want you to see: strength, compassion, and doing the right thing – this is what underpins the affect we have to have as a collective.
UTCAI’s work spans four dimensions which they call their ‘pillars’: Mental Health and Well Being, Education, Criminal Justice and Youth Development. Each member of the team is responsible for one of these pillars leading projects with both the passion and expertise that are aligned with them. As a collective, they seek to “make a change, be the connection between those at the bottom rung and the powers that be to make their voices heard”.
“We want to address issues that are clearly evident, so we can bridge that gap; to be around the table to encourage a better dialogue…”
What is the biggest barrier to true equality?
Richard Pascoe: The fear of the unknown. People don’t want to learn from other people and so are comfortable with only what they know. This is why we see so little engagement in a variety of ways, across generations too.
Louise O’Hara: We need to learn to speak without being scared to have uncomfortable conversations. It begins with education, for example more inclusiveness in the way History is taught. This will deal with the ‘otherness’ that is instilled from a young age, better equipping young people to have these conversations from a young age too.
Chris Otokito: Dealing with mental and social challenges. Having professional experience in this field I see the issue of ‘children raising children’ and therefore a whole host of people who become conditioned to project their insecurities. A lot of the time we are inclined to operate out of ego and wants instead of operating out of love.
Patrick Hutchinson: People don’t want to let go of power. When you have held power for so long equality will seem like oppression, so you see situations where people are scared of what people might do. We just want a fairer and equal society – we don’t want revenge.
How can organisations like 20/20 Change and Home Grown Club help?
UTCAI is a young organisation with a lot of skillsets and specific plans to bridge the gap and address issues that are evident in society. We are looking for professionals who are passionate about making change and the ‘unusual’ the norm. Since Home Grown Club is the mainstay of people who do business as unusual we are looking forward to continuing the conversation with many of your members. We would love to hear from:
- People who would be open to offer mentoring to the young people UTCAI work with
- People who have experience in the application process to receive various streams of funding available to community interest companies
- Digital developers and creators who could provide input for a new UTCAI application
- Passionate pioneers who want to support UTCAI through philanthropy
- People who would like to simply champion and support active and upcoming UTCAI projects by sharing information within their network.
These include alternative education programmes as a means to break the cycle behind young offending; anti-bystander training for both adults and young people, as well as the establishment of the UTCAI Academy and more.
For more information contact UTCAI – info@UTCAI.co.uk
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