By Sara Chitseko:
In response to the coronavirus crisis, our team has had to reduce our face to face contact with members. Our community support offer, which includes our daily drop-in service and weekly group workshops have had to stop temporarily. Despite this, as Key Workers, our team continues to deliver crucial support services to our members, including providing 1:1 emotional support to the young people who need it most and continuing to help young people who have been arrested, through our appropriate adults service in the police station. We are reviewing and adapting our offer of support during this time and will continue to place the needs of young people at the forefront of our decision making, whilst doing all we can to protect public health.
Although for many it may seem that society as we know it has ground to a halt, the young people we support continue to face serious challenges, including persecution by the police. We believe that the introduction of the Coronavirus Act and specifically the increase in police powers will have a disproportionate impact on our members and others from Black communities that are already subject to racist policing and unjust criminalisation (more on this in our NewsBite). Many of the young people we support do not have a strong social safety net and the "stay at home" messaging is far more difficult to abide by if your housing situation is precarious, or if 'home' is not a place where you feel safe.
4FRONT is uncompromising in our mission to empower young people to fight for justice, peace and freedom and we will continue to do so throughout this public health crisis and beyond. As ever, the safety of our members is of paramount importance and we are committed to ensuring their rights are upheld in this uncertain time. As the current situation unfolds, we will continue to keep you, our supporters, updated and informed on our actions.