What Is When We Speak?

When We Speak is Toynbee Hall’s youth activism project, aimed at inspiring and enabling young people in East London to bring change. As part of this programme we are directly supporting young people between the ages 15 to 25 to run their own change project by providing access to expertise, help to plan, personal coaching and resources to test your idea. The youth programme is open to all and encourages building networks across cultures and experiences. Our learning resources and clinics are open to all however, the project is intended to even the playing field for people experiencing systematic oppression so our financial support is targeted towards people with lived structural inequality. To find out how we could support you head over to Develop Your Idea

For more information on how we can support you or if you would like to join please contact: emma.weaver@toynbeehall.org.uk

Our Motivation

Toynbee Hall’s youth activism project is inspired by artist and activist Grada Kilomba‘s piece ‘Who Can Speak‘ from her book ‘Plantation Memories’ (with the author’s kind authorisation):

‘When they speak, it is scientific; when we speak it is unscientific; When they speak it’s universal; when we speak it’s specific; When they speak it is objective; when we speak it’s subjective; When they speak it’s neutral; when we speak it’s personal; When they speak it’s rational; when we speak it’s emotional, When they speak it’s impartial; when we speak it’s partial; They have facts, we have opinions; They have knowledge, we have experiences.’

When We Speak Launch

When We Speak launched in October 2019, the evening was honouring East London youth’s ongoing resistance, resilience and activism. Every member of staff at Toynbee Hall felt overwhelming appreciation to everyone who made the evening spectacular.

The night consisted of amazing performances from Nawi Collective, Voices that Shake, Promi Ferdousi and Farzana Khan for which we are extremely grateful.

Past Learning Seminars (Vol’s)

Vol.1 with Goldsmiths Anti-Racist Action

Amal Binder was the first guest speaker of When We Speak, from Goldsmiths Anti-Racist Action (GARA). Amal lit up the Wellbeing Centre with her inspirational activism. Talking about experiencing racism and islamophbia from a young age, Amal told the young people in the room ‘your existence is activism’. It was fantastic to hear the victories of GARA challenging institutional racism at Goldsmiths University and its manifestations at all levels of management, student life and teaching.

Vol. 2 with Change.org

When We Speak Vol.2 was a phenomenal success thanks to Change.org who expanded our skills and knowledge on online activism. Campaigns Director Pascal Frazer-Carroll and Campaigner Rima Amin shared their professional advice on campaigns and petitions with the young activists of East London. They encouraged out the box thinking and creative thought around campaigns when thinking about current issues in the news. Unsurprisingly there was no shortage of amazing ideas and it was a privilege to see these developed. Everyone left the workshop with boosted confidence because of Rima and Pascale’s tips and were honoured to learn from such experienced activists. When We Speak looks forward to continuing our work with Change.org’s Campaign Team.

Vol. 3 with London Campaign Against State and Police Violence & Y-STOP

Before the 2019 Christmas break When We Speak had an extremely powerful workshops on stop and search laws from Y-STOP and London Campaign Against State and Police Violence. Adam Elliott Cooper provided a workshop and Q&A on how to intervene peacefully while Amal and Jesse from Y-STOP distributed awareness merchandise and explained their app that allows recordings, complaints and guidance on stop and search. Attendance for the workshop was positively overwhelming, everyone stayed engaged and captured by the knowledge being provided by the great activists. Thank you to both the organisations that made the amazing event! The banner was created at Toynbee Hall as part of a residential volunteer’s project in October 2018 in support of the United Families and Friends Campaign (UFFC) march against death in custody.