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Hackney Unites is a local non-party political, broad coalition of organisations and individuals with a commitment to social justice and equality.
The coalition believes that all the residents and tenants of Hackney deserve and are entitled to be able to play a full and equal role in the development of their borough; and to receive equal benefit from and access to any and all resources available. Local communities are encouraged and supported to get organised so that they can play a role in determining the development of their neighbourhood and address their issues of concern in a way that they think most empowers them.
Component members may be interest focussed (e.g. the elderly, the arts, youth, asylum or refugee etc.); or concerned with a specific geographical locality; but are connected by a desire to move forwards toward a more equitable society where all our communities can prosper. Hackney Unites believes we are all stake-holders in our shared future, but we can only affect positive change or play a significant role in determining our own destiny by working together in a democratic and inclusive way with input from a wide range of communities.
FORMATION OF THE ORGANIZATION
The idea for the coalition came about when a group of Hackney citizens active in their respective communities came together in early 2009 to discuss the then frightening rise in popularity and electoral success of a far right racist party. We were concerned that in elections run on proportional representation a low voter turnout in Hackney could contribute to electoral success for the far right. This led to discussions with the national campaign: HOPE not hate, and a local voter registration and engagement campaign. The response was remarkable, with the emergence of a coalition that included faith, peace, community, trade union and tenants groups.
Following the successful campaign, a number of the participants once again came together, this time to review the project. It was felt that the powerful coalition we had put together was too important to simply dismantle, and it was agreed to organize a loose but permanent structure that would make it easier to address community concerns in a practical way, a body that could enable the community to express its wishes to the Local Authority and other public, private sectors or interest groups.
At the heart of this initiative was a sense that if our communities got organised and worked together we could actually create positive change (as opposed to merely protesting against a variety of ills).
Bema (formerly BEMA - the Black & Ethnic Minority Arts Network)
Hackney and Islington CND
Hackney Planning Watch
London (trade union) Organisers Network
North East London Anti-Racist Alliance