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Making a Difference - The Art of Persuasion - tips on political engagement

by Claire Mathys of Impact Policy and Daniel May-Miller


Tips on writing a letter/email to your MP:

  • Always include your full name and address. This is so the MP can confirm you are their constituent.

  • Keep the letter polite and respectful - you want them to listen to you.

  • Don’t threaten not to vote for them at the next election if they don’t do what you ask - you want to persuade not manipulate.

  • There is no pressure to write an essay, a short letter is absolutely fine.

  • Make it as personalised as you can, and feel free to share what you are passionate about.

  • If you write a letter, you will likely get a letter posted back to you; if you email, you will get an email back.

  • All MPs are supposed to write back to their constituents; whether they do, and how long they take, will depend on your particular MP!

  • You can find out who your MP is by typing in your postcode to You can then type their name into the page here: and you will find their contact details and how they prefer to be addressed. If in doubt, address them by their full name with MP at the end e.g. Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP.

Ideas for a letter/email on racial justice:

  • Explain you are getting in touch because you care about racial justice

  • Mention any areas you want to see changed, for example, improvements to the school curriculum

  • Ask for your MPs views on this subject and what they are doing to promote racial justice

  • Ask them if they are a member of the APPG for Race Equality in Education

  • Explain that you would like this to be a priority for the new Government Ministers and ask your MP to write to the relevant Ministers to raise your concerns

  • Include your full name and address

Different ways to create change in society:

  • Via charities and NGOs:

    • Organisations such as Oxfam, Christian Aid and Tearfund are working towards global justice - they produce resources to get people thinking and talking about poverty and climate and how these issues disproportionately affect people of colour and the global south.

  • Through Faith groups:

    • Churches, Mosques, Synagogues and related networks are often active in combating a variety of injustices.

    • The Racial Justice Advocacy Forum (RJAF) is a body formed of many different church groups from across denominations, which seeks to speak to the Government on racial injustice challenges and reparations. The forum also makes recommendations and produces resources to help churches begin or continue engaging with racial injustice.

  • Direct involvement in politics:

    • Joining a political party and getting involved locally and nationally to ensure racial justice stays on the priority list - even standing for election.

  • Lobbying and campaigning:

    • Similar on some levels to direct involvement, but seeking change from the outside rather than within. Building relationships and knowing how systems and processes work make campaigns much more effective. Many organisations, charities and even faith groups campaign and raise awareness.

How you can make a difference: Some broad brush-stroke examples:

1. Signing petitions (Individual campaigners, charities, parliamentary petitions) or supporting existing campaigns in other ways (e.g. volunteering). Do your research: find out who is behind a campaign and what else they might be supporting.

2. Writing to elected officials: You can write to MPs, government ministers, local councillors, GLA members, mayors, police commissioners. Most will reply to you if you are their constituent.

3. Building relationships with decision-makers: Your MP, your local councillors (check your council website to find out which ward or borough you live in and who represents your locality)

a. Attend ‘surgeries’ (face to face meeting sessions) or make an appointment to speak to your councillor or MP

b. Write a simple letter with your thoughts and take it with you to give them

c. Ask what they think, what action is happening and if there is opportunity to be kept up to date

d. Find out if there is a BAME officer or relevant committee within your local council

4. Join a political party

a. You can vote on the leader

b. Influence the way the party writes its policies

c. Attend Conferences

d. Build relationships with local members

e. Get involved in relevant committees

f. Join working sub-groups

g. Elect BAME officers

h. Support the specific BAME representative on the officers group

5. Stand for election: In many “safe seats”, there is little chance of getting elected for the parties in the minority, but standing for one of these “other” parties still gives you a chance to tell people your priorities and raise the profile of an issue, when you are campaigning or delivering leaflets!

6. Create your own campaign: (start a petition, engage the media, write local/personal articles and content, find politicians and/or other organisations or partners to work with)

7. Do what’s in your hand: Look at the opportunities open to you e.g. introducing name-blind applications in your workplace and talk about it with your colleagues, friends or family.

Discussion Session:
  1. What needs to change politically?

  2. What about your political involvement?

  3. What have you done before?

  4. What might you do?

  5. Which idea might you give further thought to?

Some areas for further research:
  • David Lammy MP talk: TED talk climate justice can’t happen without racial justice

  • Clive Lewis MP chairs the APPG (All-Party Parliamentary Group) on Race and Community - to increase coverage in parliament of issues relating to race and ethnicity

  • Diane Abbott chairs the APPG on Race Equality in Education

  • Bell Ribeiro-Addy chairs the APPG on Black Maternal Health - black women are 4 times more likely to die in pregnancy or childbirth

REPORTS & Reviews

2021 Sewell Report (Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities: The Report) - Widely lambasted for being “the most divisive, inaccurate and politically driven race equality report ever written”

2022 Government Response to the Sewell Report - Inclusive Britain was published in March. It sets out the government’s response to recommendations made by the 2021 Sewell Report and includes a 74-point action plan.

2020 Windrush Review (Windrush Lessons Learned Review, an independent review byWendy Williams)

2019 Timpson Review: Highlighted that black Caribbean children were 1.7 times more likely to be excluded than white British counterparts.

2017 Lammy Review (An independent review into the treatment of, and outcomes for, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic individuals in the Criminal Justice System)

2017 McGregor-Smith Review and it’s 2018 update

(The McGregor-Smith review looked into issues affecting BAME groups in the workplace in the UK)

2017 Government Response to the Angiolini Review

2017 Parker Review: Found that just 8% of FTSE100 directors were from BAME groups. It gave eight recommendations, but these were directed at the private sector.

1999 Macpherson Review: set up in the immediate aftermath of the murder of Stephen Lawrence, it found the Metropolitan Police was "institutionally racist". Its recommendations ranged from increasing data availability to increasing accountability of officers. By its 10th anniversary, the Home Office said 67 of 70 recommendations had been met or partly met.

Authors: Claire Mathys of Impact Policy ( with Daniel May-Miller

1st November 2022

The White Allies Network is sponsored by the Deeper Leaders Collective.

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