We regularly take action around issues that emerge in our classes. We are currently working on the following campaigns:
Many of our participants have no recourse to public funds and this can have disastrous consequences for their children. We are working with Southwark Council and South London Citizens to alleviate the problems.
We are working with our schools to celebrate their community languages. We believe that additional languages are often seen as barrier, whereas we think they are a wonderful resource. We would like more schools to teach community language and for more children to be able to take GCSEs in their home languages.
London Living Wage
Many of our participants are working for poverty wages. We support the London Living Wage Campaign. The London living wage is currently £8.55 per/hour and millions of workers in the capital are not getting it.
Action for ESOL
ESOL has been facing cuts for years. The Action for ESOL campaign won a significant U-turn from the government back in 2011, but the danger continues and the campaign is fighting for long-term sustainable funding for ESOL. English for Action has supported every step of the way.
Anti-fascism, anti-racism and anti-Islamaphobia
We oppose inequality and discrimination of all types. Many of our communities have noticed a marked increase in racism and Islamaphobia after the Woolwich killing in April 2013. We are supporting local mosques and anti-fascist groups to oppose this oppression.
We recently published the Whose Integration report which identified several barriers to integration in the form of racism, economic inequality and lack of local spaces for integration to occur. We believe integration has more significance locally than nationally and should be a process that happens in a bottom-up as opposed to top-down way. All our groups work on ways to make their neighbourhoods friendlier, more cohesive and more equal.
Students at our Tower Hamlets class, who are also clients of the mental heath support charity, Working Well, expressed their anger at the recent headline in the Sun newspaper: "1200 killed by mental patients". The headline stigmatises people suffering from mental illness and uses sensationalism to sell newspapers and therefore make profits. It ignores the wider problems such as staff shortages and cuts to the mental health sector. The majority of crimes are not committed by people with mental health problems and most people are getting the treatment they need. Calling people who suffer from mental illness ‘mental patients’ is offensive and they actually need help instead of being blamed. Also people with mental illness are actually more likely to be the victims of violence than the ones carrying it out.
After an interesting discussion students signed a petition on change.org that calls on The Sun to correct the sensationalism in their mental health story and donate the profits from it. Here is the link to the campaign where you can add your signature: www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/thesunnewspaper