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Games Played on Poor at London 2012 Olympics

By       Message Linn Washington     Permalink
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opednews.com Headlined to H2 7/27/12

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Officials said 27 percent of the work force that built the athlete's housing lived in the host boroughs but foreign workers imported for construction jobs at Olympic sites were counted as "local residents' if they found housing in those host boroughs.

The majority of the Olympic facilities including the main stadium and the athlete's housing are located in the host borough of Newham.

"Newham is an area where minority ethnic people make up the majority of the population and in [Great Britain] over one million young people are unemployed with one in two young black people unemployed," Zita Holbourne said.

  "Newham was one of three boroughs where the deepest cuts were made to the budget as part of the [conservative government's] austerity program. Yet it is one of the poorest boroughs," Holbourne said, explaining that austerity budget cuts mean severe slashes in services, jobs and facilities.

The pre-Olympics opening edition of The Voice, Britain's most influential black newspaper, carried the lead headline: "Broken Promise -- The Olympic Diversity dream has failed to deliver."

In another example of diversity disappointment, London Olympics officials denied The Voice credentials to cover the coveted track-&-field competitions inside the stadium.

A petition drive initiated by Holbourne plus wide-ranging pressure from across Britain forced London Olympics officials into a reversal where they provided The Voice coverage credentials for those competitions filled with non-white athletes.

Business development specialist Devon Thomas, director of Lambeth Enterprise and a respected community leader in the Brixton section of south London, said he isn't "disillusioned" about failed Olympic diversity pledges because he had "no illusions" about Olympic inclusion.

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"Black people received nothing contract wise. The big boys on the inside sliced up the contracts," Thomas said.

"I brought together an international consortium including firms from America. We had capacity to perform construction but we were still left out. The European boys cleaned up," Thomas said.

"Exclusion is institutional. We get a tiny flake of a crumb."

Simon Woolley is another London leader who considers exclusion as one of the "greatest tragedies" in this Olympics that British officials secured based on pledges to utilize Olympics related economic expenditures to close remaining inequality gaps.

"It dawned on us early that organizers' where not beholden to opportunities for the "left out.' I went to a main Olympics sponsor and asked for [diversity] involvement and I was run out of that major bank. The exclusion is truly shocking," Operation Black Vote head Woolley said. OVB is one of Britain's most prominent civil rights/human rights activist organizations.

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As London officials focused on finalizing Olympic preparations during the past three months, including mobilizing more military assets (from soldiers to super-sonic jet fighters) for security than Britain maintains in Afghanistan, activists in that city hosted separate programs featuring two American Olympic legends: Tommy Smith and John Carlos.

During the 1968 Olympics, Smith and Carlos performed the iconic Black Power salute protest against racist deprivations when receiving their medals for taking first and third respectively in the 200-meter dash.

"Massive crowds came out to see Tommy Smith and John Carlos. They were well received," Omowale Rupert said.

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Linn Washington is a weekly columnist for the Philadelphia Tribune and This Can't Be Happening. Washington writes frequently on inequities in the criminal justice system, ills in society and failings of the news media. He teaches multi-media urban (more...)
 

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