Ask Charlotte 2 — Initiative for Initiatives
Charlotte Littlewood is the Founding Director of Become The Voice CIC. A grass roots youth centred community interest company that she has built in response to the need to tackle hate, extremism and radicalisation within communities and online.
Scott Douglas Jacobsen: To be involved in activist work to humanitarian efforts, it takes an intrinsic level of motivation. Indeed, the focus and perseverance need to be high as well. Finance cannot be the motivating factor. It will have to be ethics. What drives you?
Charlotte Littlewood: So, from a very young age, I was interested in human rights, and what we can do to protect humanity from gross violations of human rights. At school, I was a Holocaust memorial ambassador. I did a law degree with the aim of working in human rights. Whilst doing the law degree, the war in Syria broke out. There was very much a sense of the next human rights issue being around a clash of civilization between East and West, and cultures and religion, rather than states and state power.
I started reading and learning Arabic. I started reading the Quran as well. I come from an atheist background but then I took a big interest in faith and religion in university. I took an interest in Christianity and Islam. I was then equipped for a job in cohesion and integration work — working with faiths and minority groups. Eventually, It led me to start my own community interest company in that. That has always been my drive. It is to tackle human rights abuses and stand for minority rights abuses but from a standpoint of bringing us all together and cohesion.
I don’t work on human rights from the perspective that we should put minorities above everyone else. No matter what they’re believing in or action they’re involved in. It is involving everyone on the same level, bringing everyone together, and making sure no one’s rights are violated. For instance, I would not work with a minority group that believed homosexuals should be thrown off the cliff and stoned to death simply because they are a minority group — as we have seen in a shift with some leftwing thinking.
We are pro-individual liberty and the right to choose sexuality. If you take a key tenet like that, it is about bringing everyone aboard with that way of thinking and protecting those people’s human rights rather than standing with a minority over everyone. That is my belief system. That is what I felt is very important and needed to be done to protect the world from future genocides and huge atrocities against any kind of group. It is bringing us together on the central message of cohesion and belonging togetherness.
Jacobsen: How do you overcome the inevitable setbacks in the process of founding and growing an organization — noting, of course, BTV was started in January 2018?
Littlewood: It is important, to note. We are very, very young. We are only just developing our funding strategy. We had some bits while in Palestine. But we need a more sustainable model. We are working with Think Try Do, which gives free support to Exeter alumna students to build their businesses and social enterprises. They are helping with being more product focused and meeting with schools around the products, getting an idea of what people’s needs and wants are, getting a wishlist in essence, and then matching that with funds to help pay for the work to be done if the school needs it.
We are working with that model for our products. What is needed? Will the funds cover the need? With regard to Palestine, which is a big project that we would like to return to again, we have funding meetings from October 20th to October 24th with thinktanks, philanthropists, and trusts, they will hear our report from the Palestine Project (just finished) and our proposals moving forward.
That is really exciting. But at the moment, it is about building out core objectives and core products, matching what needs and products with have with appropriate funds, and using what we can including free tools — Think Try Do has been useful and then using what other free human resources we can. So, one of my directors is good online. She built the website and doing that for free. It is under the knowledge of paid roles when we get some funding.
My other director coming back to Palestine once we have a project; he will help with the bids and funding. it is about passionate people willing to invest their time, they are also able to put being a director on their CV, which is good. It is getting whatever free support that you can get. I set myself a goal. It is about being realistic. If I haven’t be funded by January or haven’t got the Palestine project funded by a philanthropist or a trust, then I will shift a lot more of the responsibility of the CIC to the directors.
One has a part-time job. One is a masters student; financially, both are comfortable and can do it in their spare time. For me, it is full-time. However, I am optimistic. The meetings for October are promising, I am hoping to talk with you again after that time, to see how it has gone. It can give some insight into whether what we have done is successful. If it successful, it means that we will have our first successful money-raising after 7 months. A lot of CRCs and charities do not see the first bit of significant money for a year.
Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Charlotte.
(Updated September 28, 2016)
Scott Douglas Jacobsen founded In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He authored/co-authored some e-books, free or low-cost. If you want to contact Scott: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.com, Scott.Jacobsen@TrustedClothes.Com, Scott@ConatusNews.Com, email@example.com, Scott@Karmik.Ca.
He is a Moral Courage Webmaster and Outreach Specialist (Fall, 2016) at the UCI Interdisciplinary Center for the Scientific Study of Ethics and Morality (Ethics Center), Interview Columnist for Conatus News, Writer and Executive Administrator for Trusted Clothes, Interview Columnist for Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN), Councillor for the Athabasca University Student Union, Member of the Learning Analytics Research Group, writer for The Voice Magazine, Your Political Party of BC, ProBC, Marijuana Party of Canada, Fresh Start Recovery Centre, Harvest House Ministries, and Little Footprints Big Steps International Development Organization, Editor and Proofreader for Alfred Yi Zhang Photography, Community Journalist/Blogger for Gordon Neighbourhood House, Member-at-Large, Member of the Outreach Committee, the Finance & Fundraising Committee, and the Special Projects & Political Advocacy Committee, and Writer for Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Member of the Lifespan Cognition Psychology Lab and IMAGe Psychology Lab, Collaborator with Dr. Farhad Dastur in creation of the CriticalThinkingWiki, Board Member, and Foundation Volunteer Committee Member for the Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation, and Independent Landscaper.
He was a Francisco Ayala Scholar at the UCI Ethics Center, Member of the Psychometric Society Graduate Student Committee, Special Advisor and Writer for ECOSOC at NWMUN, Writer for TransplantFirstAcademy and ProActive Path, Member of AT-CURA Psychology Lab, Contributor for a student policy review, Vice President of Outreach for the Almas Jiwani Foundation, worked with Manahel Thabet on numerous initiatives, Student Member of the Ad–Hoc Executive Compensation Review Committee for the Athabasca University Student Union, Volunteer and Writer for British Columbia Psychological Association, Community Member of the KPU Choir (even performed with them alongside the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra), Delegate at Harvard World MUN, NWMUN, UBC MUN, and Long Beach Intercollegiate MUN, and Writer and Member of the Communications Committee for The PIPE UP Network.
He published in American Enterprise Institute, Annaborgia, Conatus News, Earth Skin & Eden, Fresh Start Recovery Centre, Gordon Neighbourhood House, Huffington Post, In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, Jolly Dragons, Kwantlen Polytechnic University Psychology Department, La Petite Mort, Learning Analytics Research Group, Lifespan Cognition Psychology Lab, Lost in Samara, Marijuana Party of Canada, MomMandy, Noesis: The Journal of the Mega Society, Piece of Mind, Production Mode, Synapse, TeenFinancial, The Peak, The Ubyssey, The Voice Magazine, Transformative Dialogues, Treasure Box Kids, Trusted Clothes.
Image Credit: Charlotte Littlewood.