At our core Operation Black Vote exists to ensure we have greater racial justice and equality throughout the UK.

We work specifically, but not exclusively within the democratic and civic framework to deliver our objectives.

We seek to inspire BME communities to engage with our public institutions in order to address the persistent race inequalities we face in areas such as: education, health and employment.

Our work spans a number of areas including voter registration, lobbying politicians, mentoring schemes and political leadership programmes.

Our work began in July 1996 (16th) at the House of Commons, as a collaboration between two organisations: Charter88 which campaigns for democratic reform; and the 1990 Trust a national generic policy research and networking organisation.

After 19 years of campaigning our voice is now heard at the highest level of Government both nationally and locally, but perhaps of greater importance is the fact that we are often viewed as a beacon of hope and support for our own communities.

What we do

Operation Black Vote’s work covers four main areas:

Political education: This aims to raise awareness and understanding of democratic and civic society through citizenship projects.

  • Political participation: This aims to improve engagement with civic society through local and national voter registration and other civic participation campaigns.
  • Political representation: This aims to increase political representation of Black and minority ethnic communities, through encouraging engagement;  undertaking ground-breaking mentoring schemes; lobbying  political parties and civic institutions on the benefits of representative bodies.
  • Promotion of equality and human rights: increasing the awareness of a progressive equality and human rights agenda.

Increasingly, our news and blog website has become an important media tool to inform, challenge and campaign.

24hr global communication means that we have to be media savvy – using the latest communication tools such as Facebook, Twitter, and our own blog and videos.

OBV however, never forgets that the most effective campaigning is through personal interactions. That means traveling around the UK, visiting schools and colleges, holding big and small meetings that mobilises individuals and communities to be part of the change process.

Baroness Uddin pep talks the participants at the launch of the 2010 Parliamentary Shadowing Scheme.
Baroness Uddin pep talks the participants at the launch of the 2010 Parliamentary Shadowing Scheme.

Schemes, programmes and campaigns

Operation Black Vote initiatives show that if you encourage, nurture and support the abundance of untapped talent within our communities, society as a whole benefits.  Not just from a wider range of skills and perspectives but also from greater cohesion of cultures and communities.

Our empowerment initiatives engages decision makers at the highest level.

Our political partnerships have led to the parties, for instance, agreeing to adopt, in various forms, OBV’s programme of recruitment, retention and promotion of (Black and minority ethnic) BME talent within its membership.

BME influence within politics and the civic institutions have seen a significant increase as a result of OBV activities.

OBV events inform, inspire, encourage and empower individuals to make the leap from bystander to participant:

To register, to vote, to sign-up for political party membership and
to stand for elected office.

To consider becoming an MP, councillor, magistrate, board
member or school governor.

Wherever important decisions that steer or influence society are being made we encourage our communities to be part of it.