When so many organisations are asking for money and seeking to make change on your behalf, we recognise that long term change only happens when you, the giver, also become an active participant in that change. But what does change look like? What could significant change look like here in our nations with our own child trafficking issues?
Two years ago I was in a gathering in London and one of the speakers was a guy called Cyrille Regis. His name will not translate cross Atlantic in the way that David Beckham’s might and you would have to be older than 30, or a real soccer fan, to know who Cyrille Regis is. Whilst I certainly fall into the over 30′s category, my lack of soccer knowledge meant I hadn’t a clue.
Well, Cyrille used to play for England! But more than this, he was one of the first two black players to be invited into the England national squad at a time when racism was still alive and well amongst the general UK population.
Listening to Cyrille, he spoke about what his career was like 30 years ago. He went from playing in a lower league club with hundreds of people chanting racist abuse, to being thrust into the spotlight with the England Squad and thousands chanting racist abuse and, as Cyrille said, “throwing bananas onto the pitch”. Cyrille was sharing this story because he wanted to celebrate our capacity as people to partner with change.
In his own lifetime, he has seen the issue of racism change considerably in the UK. The general public consciousness changed from a minority voice to the majority finding racism unacceptable on the streets, in the workplace, in education, on the soccer terraces and in law. Not only has legislation been implemented to curtail those who wish to continue to be racist, that legislation is implemented and perpetrators are brought to justice.
All of this changed in just 30 years, that tide we sometimes talk about… had turned.
So is it impossible to think that through public awareness, strongly held public opinion and action, legislation and law enforcement, that we could see our nations become a safe place for children, free from exploitation and from sexual abuse?
We need you as an advocate and an activist, seeing bad laws changed, good laws implemented, communities safeguarded and minds transformed.