Announcing the Harakati Project

Harakati: “Movement” — Towards a flourishing and fortified infrastructure

The Ubele Initiative is launching Harakati, a new project to explore opportunities to strengthen and expand the infrastructure that supports anti-racism movements in the UK. The name “Harakati” for this project is derived from the word “movement” in Swahili and Arabic.

Grounding this project: key definitions

Racial Injustice

How we will approach this work

As we started with Booska, we want to continue to be courageous to have uncomfortable conversations, remain explicit about institutional racism and keep centring those at the heart of anti-racist movements across the world; honouring people advocating for their lives through Black Lives Matter. Here are some of the ways we’ll be approaching this work, including the questions we’ll be looking to address and some of the dilemmas we’re facing.

  • Amplifying visibility and influence through research, advocacy and policy work that serves the broader agenda — both of the issues at the heart of the movement, as well as the needs of the movement itself.
  • Protecting and defending individual actors and the wider movement from attacks of various kinds, through providing legal support and mobilising solidarity.
  • Shoring up systems of protection, care and well-being that recognise the traumatic nature of this work, the reality of burnout and the need for both individual and collective self-care.
  • Supporting the development of leadership capabilities, as well as other skills and knowledge that enable the movement to grow its base and its own capacities for sustained action.
  • Nurturing the development of new and emerging groupings and initiatives through incubation and hosting.
  • Building out the wider resource base by addressing broader funding barriers, helping to mobilise funds and creating mechanisms to channel resources to where they are needed.
  • Addressing collective operational needs like financial literacy, digital infrastructure, physical space, communications, fiscal sponsorship, HR advice etc.

How we are organising this project and with whom

The ideas emerging from this project will be developed and tested through a participatory process of dialogue. We’ll be holding 1:1 interviews with a small group of people — those who are current or potential users of infrastructure and those with experience providing it. We know Black and minoritised people and organisations are currently “over consulted” and overstretched so we will be utilising the existing literature and resources available to capture their insights and experiences, and keeping interviews to a minimum. We’ll also be holding workshops to have collective discussions around the emerging findings.

Intended outcomes: short-term and beyond

Our outcome is to produce a resource of what we’re learning and sharing the ideas that have emerged in October 2021. We don’t see this research as casting anything in stone, rather, one step in an iterative process. We hope it will provide space and inspiration to think creatively and spaciously about what specific forms of infrastructure are needed to secure a sound footing for anti-racist movements for future generations. Therefore, the audience for this research encompasses a spectrum of anti-racism groups, movements, organisations, individual activists, funders and national agencies.

  1. Crenshaw, Kimberlé. 1989. “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics.” University of Chicago Legal Forum 1 (8): 139–67.
  2. This working definition benefitted from the insights shared by Tracey Lazard (Inclusion London), Yvonne Field (The Ubele Initiative), Farzana Khan (Healing Justice London), Cassie Robinson (The National Lottery Community Fund) and Farah Elahi (Greater London Authority) in a recent workshop, The New Infrastructure, held on 20 July 2021.

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The Ubele Initiative

We empower Black and Minoritised communities in the UK to act as catalysts for social and economic change.