Black Bloggers not limited to U.S., movement has gone international

The blogosphere has afforded me to come across a number of like minded individuals spread across the net, some of whom I can now call my friends.  One such person is Adrianne George who publishes the blog Black Women in Europe.

Adrienne describes BWIE as having been "created by an African American expatriate for other expatriates and Afro-Europeans. A place to celebrate women in the African Diaspora living in Europe."  The site was awarded a 2007 Black Weblog Award for Best International Blog (via judges and popular vote).

eu.jpgRecently, Adrianne and other black women from European Union nations (and Switzerland) gathered in Vienna for the first Black European Women's Congress .  The group made the following declaration as a result of the gathering.

Declaration of the Black European Women´s Congress
Vienna, 27 – 29th September 2007

We Black European Women from 16 EU Member States, and Switzerland, gathered in Vienna from 27 – 29th September 2007 within the framework of the European Year for Equal Opportunities for All; under the initiative of AFRA – International Center for Black Women’s Perspectives (Austria) and coorganised by Tiye International, (The Netherlands) hereby announce the creation of the Black European Womens Network (BEWNET).

We, Black European Women, insist on the recognition of the crucial role played by Black Women economically, politically, culturally and socially in the European context. We are determined to implement and mainstream Black Women´s Empowerment in Europe as a core policy issue.

Our gathering here is an indication of the necessity for the EU to dialog with Black Women’s Organisations EU-wide. The European Year for Intercultural Dialog therefore presents an opportunity to initiate and strengthen partnerships and alliances. We welcome purposeful efforts to engage with the EU in the implementation and in consequence in the securing and exercising of our Rights as full citizens of the EU and EEA.

Black European Women Congress 2007 Recommendations to the EU

1. Identity and Empowerment

• Despite the legal framework, forms of multiple discrimination, including gendered racism, continue to exist. The Black European Women Congress recommends the enforcement and implementation of Article 13 to eradicate all forms of discrimination across all member states.

2. Challenges faced by Black youths

• Educational System and Civil Services must incorporate Anti-Racism training and qualification for personnel at all levels and recruit Black professionals. In addition, we recommend to set up legal guidelines for all public and corporate educational institutions to offer anti-racist material, services and curriculum.

3. Psychological conflicts affecting black communities especially Black women and children

• The Black European Women Congress recognizes mental health as a primary issue pertaining to Black communities dealing with racism. Government must provide financial and structural means to allow the establishment of autonomous institutions that provide mental health care for Black people dealing with the effects of racism.

4. Current Barriers of Black Women to the European Labour Market

• Companies and employers are required to implement Human Resources measures and tools designed to recruit Black personnel reflecting the diversity they express in their mission statements.

5. Political Participation

• Development of programs which assure, support and include appropriate political representation and participation of Black women.

I commend Adrianne and the work she is doing along with the initial efforts of the Black European Women's Congress.

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