As we approach the end of a year defined by grassroots action, we are proud to present to you the Huck List: a round-up of the 20 activist groups and individuals building a better future in 2020. Across the UK, these people have been at the forefront of the battle for social justice, marching in the streets, rallying their communities and stepping in to help those in need when the government has failed to. They have provided hope in a year plagued by darkness.
Whatever the fight, these are the people that have been demanding change, innovating, inspiring, and fighting for the world we all deserve to live in.
Flock Together, a birdwatching group made up entirely of people of colour, understands this as well as anyone. Founded by Nadeem Perera and Ollie Olanipekun at the beginning of summer, they’ve been working to challenge archaic perceptions of who nature is for, and who can access it.
Since their first meet-up in June, things have snowballed into a bird-watching frontier, with plans to open chapters across Europe and North America. “We want to make it normal for everyone to see us in parks, woodlands and outdoor spaces.”
Building on the Black Lives Matter movement of previous years, which grew in reaction to other horrendous killings of Black citizens across the world, the UK saw weeks of demonstrations with hundreds of thousands pouring out onto the streets.
In London alone, a whole raft of groups – including All Black Lives, Tribe Named Athari and Black Lives Matter UK – jumped into action, organising weeks of sustained resistance, shining a light on the despicable record of our own police forces and their treatment of Black people in this country.
Sex workers across the world have been devastated by coronavirus. Virtually overnight, they’ve seen their incomes decimated, many losing entire client bases. A pivot to online work isn’t always an option for sex workers without private space, or a phone or laptop.
For sex worker-led organisation SWARM (Sex Worker Advocacy and Resistance Movement), it has raised new challenges in adapting as individuals and supporting their community where the government has failed to. To combat these urgent threats, earlier this year SWARM announced their Hardship Fund – an initiative to supporting UK sex workers most impacted by the pandemic.
25-year-old Melz Owusu is the founder of Free Black University – a radical learning hub that aims to decolonise education, centring Black students and their experiences. Since launching a Go Fund Me page in June, Owusu has raised an impressive £140,000 for the project. On plans for 2021, they say: “I will be focussing on capacity building for the Free Black University to ensure we as an organisation are funded and equipped to deliver all of the life-transforming education we intend to.”