A song and dance about under-representation

KING_main

As I (Hormoz) was taking my seat at the beautiful Hackney Empire earlier this month, I couldn't help but think about under-representation.

I was pleased to be attending a 'lost musical' about a highly important figure in recent history, written 30 years ago by Martin Smith. It was performed only once and tragically, the writer died aged 37.

I was encouraged to attend by our fellow Advisory Panel member Jackie Driver who, in turn, had been invited by the effervescent Simon Albury, Chair of the Campaign for Broadcasting Equality. It was great to meet Simon and the group of other people he had generously invited.

The event was a concert performance of 'King: The Musical' about Martin Luther King Jr. with the backing of a choir and a large orchestra. I did not know what to expect but was struck by the fantastic effort which had gone into staging this musical and for 2 performances only!

By the end, I had cheerily clapped, almost sang along and was moved to tears by the impact of the story. The singing and acting were superb and although it was a concert performance, the film clips used in the background were most effective in telling the story.

I felt that a musical like this should have wide, popular appeal and could be enjoyed by many, given the ingredients that it has. 

The whole experience made me think about what a struggle it can be to get voices heard for people in minorities. The strong message in the musical for the drive for equality is unfortunately too topical in the current turmoil in the world. I thought that the 50th anniversary of a figure like MLK would've been much more publicised, but where was the celebration of this man? 

This leads me on to talk about an opportunity that unexpectedly came our way to work with an unrepresented group, this time in the University of Manchester. Result CIC were approached by the chairs of the BAME network at the university plus a colleague who had attended one of our programmes for disabled staff.

They wanted to bid for an internal competition for funding for projects entitled 'Investing in Success'.

We were delighted to hear that they had been granted maximum funding for Result CIC to deliver a coaching/training programme for junior BAME members of staff at the university across all job roles. This is being seen as an important pilot for the university, as junior staff have previously not had an obvious route for personal development.

We are sure that we/you will be hearing much more of the voices from this group, so watch this space!

The purpose of the programme is to give confidence and self-belief to those staff who feel unrepresented at higher levels within the organisation. Whilst working towards equality continues, even 50 years after the death of Martin Luther King, this initiative is really something to sing about.



 
 

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