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A letter from our CEO, Timi Okuwa

BY BEO | 23/05/2024

As we mark the second anniversary of the Black Equity Organisation (BEO), we reflect on the poignant and powerful phrase “I can’t breathe.” These words, uttered by George Floyd in his final moments, ignited a global protest and movement which spurred us into action.

BEO was established in the aftermath of his tragic death, driven by a collective determination to combat systemic racism, be an advocate for the rights and equity of Black communities, and leverage the law to deliver policy changes that deliver a better lived experience for our people.

Over the past two years, our journey has been filled with significant challenges and achievements as we continue to establish BEO for the long term. As Reverend Al Sharpton said at an event in 2023 – “We don’t need sprinters in the movement, we need marathon runners. BEO are marathon runners.”

We will continue to convene discussions, each one unveiling the deep-seated trauma and resilience within our communities. Many stories of struggle and triumph remain untold, yet they underscore the silent strength that permeates through out our work. Our mission to end systemic racism is far from easy. It requires us to confront and dismantle the structures that perpetuate injustice and inequity. We are committed to reducing the trauma, unfairness, injustice, apathy and humiliation that racism inflicts. This mission demands immense strength, compelling us to rise repeatedly, even when faced with ignorance and intentional indifference.

Behind the scenes at BEO, there is a dedicated team of individuals including our trustees who continue to pour their hearts and souls into this cause. Their commitment often comes at a personal cost and the unwavering dedication to being part of the change we envision in the UK is immensely inspiring. I am profoundly grateful to my colleagues for their relentless passion and perseverance; their work embodies the spirit of BEO and fuels our collective hope for a better future.

I am equally thankful to our community, whose belief and support for our mission strengthens our resolve and amplifies our impact. In spite of the challenges Black communities face, we continue to seek and secure Black joy. This joy is evident in how we choose to show up every day—in business, at work, healthcare, love, and community. Our resilience and determination not only drives the mission of BEO but also illuminates the path forward, inspiring others to join us in this crucial work.

As we continue our journey, we remain humble yet hopeful, reflective yet resolute. Together, we will keep pushing forward, inspired by our ancestors and as I was reminded at the Black Britain Mandate event in Scotland last week, by Ace Vision, we are all ancestors driven by the vision of a world where equity and justice prevail.

Thank you for being part of this journey with us. As always, I encourage you to get involved in the work of BEO and participate in events, our surveys and partnership activities. It’s your engagement that feeds into the work we do to play our part in enhancing lives of Black people in the UK.