Five Tools to Empower You: Race and Your Legal Rights

Article header Five Tools to Empower you: race and your legal rights. Orange background, abstract shapes outlined in green and yellow. Illustration of a person holding up a sign.

Race may be a social construct, as Nikhwat Marawat explains in one of his previous posts, but the effects of it are very real. In the below piece Nikhwat arms you with the tools you need to combat racism, whether that’s support with mental health, learning your legal rights, finding a community that understands you or simply being a better ally.

1. What can I do about it?

The effects of racism can manifest itself in your life in a multitude of ways. If you as an ally wish to strengthen your anti racist understanding I would recommend reading:

I would also suggest exploring this beginners list of anti-racism resources. Compiled by the Survivors’ Network, this will help to strengthen your learning journey.

If you as a person of the diaspora have been affected by racism in any way there are many actions you can take.

2. If you or anyone you know is in immediate danger from racism make a record of the issue. Please also report this to the police as soon as possible, the more details you have on hand the better.

However, if you are uncomfortable contacting the police there are a number of organisations you can record the incident for you instead. These include The Monitoring Group and Black and Asian Lawyers for Justice

If you are concerned about contacting the police because they have been racist, there are organisations that can support you. These include, The 4Front Project, Inquest and StopWatch.

This tool will help you to find your local police station as each case has to be reported on a region by region basis. There is understandably a difficult relationship between some members of communities of colour and the police. But in any point of emergency contact the police and keep a record of everything for your own peace of mind.

3. Know your rights; racism under the law is a crime and there are four main acts governing this:

If you are experiencing racism from the police regarding stop and searches you can contact 4Front Project to learn your rights, as well as, groups like Ystop

This link to the Citizens
Advice Bureau  explains in greater detail the steps you should take to deal with specific issues around racism. Whether, in your personal life or within the workplace.

Spark & Co. also have a directory of legal resources which can provide support and advice. This includes organisations that offer legal aid.

4. Racism can have an impact on your long term mental health. Find specialised services/support groups that cater to your needs.

Spark & Co lists here a series of intersectional mental health support organisations tailored to your faith, race, sexuality, gender and disability.

There is a variety of support here,  ranging from  The Chinese Mental Health Association, Therapy for Black Men, Sarbat LGBT Sikhs.

5. Racism can impact not just your mental health but your wider livelihood.

Be sure to explore Spark & Co’s dedicated directory of community organisations who can support you in a multitude of ways. Whether it is financial, legal or spiritual. They will have something for you.

Be sure to explore Community and Content as it lists organisations and content platforms that you can engage with. Organisations that support the full intersection of your identity. Everyone’s material needs and reality are different and it is important to be heard and seen. It may feel difficult to know this but you are far from alone.

There is a community who cares for you.

This post was written by one of our Community Ambassadors, mental health advocate, Nikhwat Marawat.

Find out more about Nikhwat here.