Acorn Birmingham organiser Sam Lowe introduces herself and why social justice is important to her
Tell us about yourself.
I have lived in Smethwick and Oldbury most of my life and my family have lived in Sandwell for many generations. I became a community organiser for Acorn in January, but previously I have done lots of different jobs! Kitchens, casino, pubs, shops, but most recently I was a carer,the work was great and I liked helping people. I was working for a local authority, and it was then I became a union member for the first time, but I have always been interested in, and tried to be active in, my own and other people’s rights in and out of the workplace. In my free time I like music, am studying part-time and sometimes put on live music nights
Why did you decide to work for Acorn?
I wanted to work for ACORN because I learnt about the success of community organising in America. I thought it was a great way to get people together to make changes and improve the quality of life for themselves and neighbors. Life is just getting harder for people; jobs and housing are getting worse, money is tighter, and services are being cut all the time. Acorn is led by its members and I think that is really important for getting the sort of change people need.
What challenges do people in your area face?
People definitely feel more skint, I think that it makes life harder for people, it has a bad impact on their health, people struggle to find a job that they know they will have for a long time or will be enough hours, it makes planning for the future and day-to-day living harder. Help and support for people is being taken away. This is true in Smethwick, too many people have insecure jobs and this is having a big knockon effect.
What organising lessons have you learnt?
So far, I would say that I have learned that most people share common problems that stem from low-wages and high prices, we are all in the same boat. As an organiser I talk to people about what we can do to counter this and how people in their area feel the same. Having time to talk and to discuss is important because I can unpick the problems and find where people are having the same problems.
What are your hopes for the future?
I want society to feel fairer; people to paid properly for their work and have some money left over at the end of the month. There are lots of ways people aren’t getting a fair deal. All of these are reasons for people to take action to change this and I hope more and more people see that taking action together can make a big difference to their lives.