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Widen Windrush Discussion & National Lobby round up

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Wed, 19 June 2019 19:00 – 21:00

Hosted and chaired by Janet Daby MP (Labour, Lewisham East) join this discussion and round up from the days National Lobby calling for the Windrush Scheme to be widened to include descendants and family members of teh Windrush Generation who arrived after 1988.

Speakers: Janet Daby MP, Patrick Vernon OBE, Grace Brown (Garden Court Chambers), Movement for Justice and Windrush Descendants/family members who have been refused by the Windrush Scheme.

In June 2018 the campaign to #WidenWindrush was launched in parliament by Movement for Justice and Janet Daby MP with the support of David Lammy MP, Eleanor Smith MP and Baroness Hamwee. One year on and over 597 people have been refused by the Windrush Taskforce with no right of appeal. Many of those refused are direct descendants and family members of the Windrush Generation from across the Commonwealth. They are currently excluded by the scheme because they arrived in the UK after 1988 as adults to join their families.

The fact that descendants and family members of the Windrush Generation are still being refused, detained and deported is a national scandal. There can be no justice for the Windrush generation while their sons, daughters, grandchildren, nephews and nieces are being deported.

This meeting is a chance to have your voice heard by MP’s and to hear about the legal and political campaign to widen the Windrush Scheme. We are especially calling on all those who have been refused by the scheme to step forward, come to the meeting, lobby your MP during the day, tell your story and show exactly why MP’s need to be taking action on this issue.

The Windrush Scandal cannot be resolved without including the descendants and family members who came later – come to the meeting, join the campaign!

Date And Time

Wed, 19 June 2019

19:00 – 21:00

Palace of Westminster

Committee Room 9 

London 

SW1A 0AA

We must honour the legacy of Windrush Day

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No health or care worker should feel alien in this country, says Dame Donna Kinnair in her latest blog to mark Windrush Day.

Today is Windrush Day. Although only the third official celebration, 22 June has been an important date for the British-Caribbean community. On this day in 1948, almost 500 Caribbean ‘invitees’ landed in Tilbury Docks. 

Among that generation were my family, many of whom were nurses in the fledgling National Health Service. Last year, I reflected on the systemic and widespread racism some of my family and their colleagues faced

They dedicated so much to the NHS; it’s one of the reasons I wanted to become a nurse. I will think of them today, their contribution, and the opportunities their journey across the Atlantic afforded me. 

Windrush Day is a celebration but it’s also a moment of pause. The latest report from Public Health England (PHE) shows how historical racism could be why people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds have been affected disproportionately. The spectre of the racism my family faced when they first arrived in the UK has cast a long shadow.  

Our own archives show the story of black nurses in the UK didn’t start with Windrush. In fact, I’m sure the RCN will chronicle the achievements of nursing staff who trained overseas for another 73 years and more. 

But shouldn’t we recognise the outstanding achievement of international health and care workers now? One in 10 registered nurses in the UK came from overseas and each one, and every health and care worker, has played a special role in the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

There’s an easy way for the Home Office to show their thanks this Windrush Day. It doesn’t involve clapping, or medals. 

The best way to honour the legacy of Windrush Day is to ensure no nurse, or health and care worker, who trained overseas, and helped in this pandemic, feels alien in this country. 

Granting automatic, indefinite leave to remain to international health and care workers who helped tackle this virus should be instinctive. The services and support that they provide, though brought to the fore through this pandemic, have always been essential. They are, and always will be, key workers.

The National Theatre announces final titles to be streamed for free this Summer

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A scene from Amadeus, centre Lucian Msamati as Antonio Salieri

The National Theatre today announces a further five productions that will be streamed as a part of the National Theatre at Home series. Established in April to bring culture and entertainment to audiences around the world during this unprecedented period, National Theatre at Home has so far seen 10 productions streamed via the NT’s YouTube channel, with over 12 million views to date. These will be the final titles to be shared for free via YouTube in this period. However, future digital activity to connect with audiences in the UK and beyond is planned, with further details to be announced soon.

The productions will be broadcast each Thursday at 7pm BST for free and will then be available on demand for seven days. Titles added to the programme today include A Midsummer Night’s Dream from the Bridge Theatre, alongside Small Island, Les Blancs, The Deep Blue Sea and Amadeus from the National Theatre.

Leah Harvey and CJ Beckford in Small Island

The 2019 epic theatre adaptation of Andrea Levy’s Orange Prize-winning novel Small Island will be streamed on 18 June. Directed by National Theatre Director Rufus Norris and adapted by Helen Edmundson (Coram Boy, War and Peace), Small Island embarks on a journey from Jamaica to Britain, through the Second World War to 1948 – the year the HMT Empire Windrush docked at Tilbury. The play traces the tangled history of Jamaica and the UK through three intricately connected stories. Hortense (Leah Harvey Emilia, Julius Cesar) yearns for a new life away from rural Jamaica, Gilbert (Gershwyn Eustace Jr Pinocchio, Home) dreams of becoming a lawyer, and Queenie (Aisling Loftus War and Peace, Noises Off) longs to escape her Lincolnshire roots. This timely and moving story played on the Olivier stage featuring a company of 40 actors. The production coincides with Windrush Day on the 22 June.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream from the Bridge Theatre

On 25 June the National Theatre will stream A Midsummer Night’s Dream captured live from the Bridge Theatre in 2019. Shakespeare’s most famous romantic comedy, sees Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones), Oliver Chris (One Man, Two Guvnors), David Moorst (Allelujah!) and Hammed Animashaun (Barber Shop Chronicles) lead the cast as Titania, Oberon, Puck and Bottom. This production re-unites the team from the 2018 smash hit Julius Caesar including Tony and Olivier award winning director Nicholas Hytner (The History Boys, One Man, Two Guvnors).

The 2016 archive recording of Lorraine Hansberry’s (A Raisin in the Sun) drama Les Blancs, will be streamed on 2 July. Directed by Yaël Farber (The Crucible (Old Vic), Mies Julie, Nirbhaya), this powerful play confronts the hope and tragedy of revolution when a family and a post-colonial African nation fall apart under the pressure to determine their own identity. The cast includes Danny Sapani (Medea, Black Panther, Killing Eve), Siân Phillips (People, Clash of the Titans) and Tunji Kasim (Network, Antony & Cleopatra).

Adetomiwa Edun in The Deep Blue Sea.

Carrie Cracknell’s critically-acclaimed production The Deep Blue Sea, will be streamed on 9 July. This devastating masterpiece by Terence Rattigan, sees Helen McCrory (Medea, Peaky Blinders) playing one of the greatest female roles in contemporary drama. Filmed live from the Lyttelton Theatre in 2016, The Deep Blue Sea tells the story of a woman’s tempestuous affair with a former RAF pilot and the breakdown of her marriage to a High Court judge.

The 2016 National Theatre production of Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus, will be streamed on 16 July. This iconic drama, which first appeared on the National Theatre stage in 1979 and was later turned into an Oscar winning film, follows rowdy young musical prodigy Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart played by Adam Gillen (Fresh Meat, Benidorm). Awestruck by Mozart’s genius, Court Composer Antonio Salieri, played by Lucian Msamati (His Dark Materials, Master Harold and The Boys), has the power to promote his talent or destroy it. Seized by obsessive jealousy he begins a war with Mozart, with music and, ultimately, with God. Michael Longhurst‘s acclaimed production features live orchestral accompaniment by Southbank Sinfonia.

Small Island, The Deep Blue Sea and Amadeus will also be available on YouTube with Audio-Description.

Each title will also feature additional content alongside the production available on the NT’s YouTube channel for audiences to engage further with the work. For Small Island and Les Blancs NT Dramaturg Ola Animashawun will be curating content that explores these plays in the context of the current global conversation around race and their potential to provide meaningful and timely contributions to that discourse.

Lisa Burger, Executive Director and Joint Chief Executive said – During what has been such an isolating time for many people right across the world it has been wonderful to be able to share these productions with both new and existing audiences, and to have the opportunity to showcase the exceptional creative talent working in our industry. The support we, and our partner organisations have received, not only in terms of donations, but through messages of thanks has been so encouraging. We’re delighted to be able to bring these final titles to audiences around the world for free and we look forward to announcing the next stage of our NT at Home programming in due course.”

The final National Theatre at Home Quiz will be available from 7pm on Monday 29 June with Ben Power, Adam Godley, Ben Miles, Simon Russell Beale, Tamsin Greig, Julie Walters, Adrian Lester and Meera Syal posing the questions on topics including the Lehman Brothers, entertainment, and general knowledge. The Quiz is available via the NT’s YouTube channel and Facebook page.

Productions shown as part of National Theatre at Home are available to watch for free but should viewers wish to make a donation to support the National Theatre, we have launched a public appeal on our home page: nationaltheatre.org.uk.

For more information on NATIONAL THEATRE AT HOME go to https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/at-home

Windrush 2020 Message from Cllr Joseph Ejiofor, Leader of Haringey Council

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HMT Empire Windrush arrived at the Port of Tilbury on 21 June 1948 and its passengers disembarked a day later. The ship carried 492 Caribbean migrants, many of them veterans of the Second World War. The ship and its passengers have a symbolic status as the start of the Windrush Generation. The Windrush Generation denotes the people who emigrated from the Caribbean to Britain between the arrival of the HMT Empire Windrush on 22 June 1948 and the Immigration Act 1971, including the passengers on the first ship.

Haringey has a proud history of welcoming migrants from all over the world to live and work here. The collection at Bruce Castle Museum and Haringey Archive reflects a long association with diversity – a heritage reinforced with the arrival of the HMT Empire Windrush in 1948. The Windrush Generation have contributed to all aspects of life in Haringey and are integral to community life in the borough helping to create a welcoming, nurturing environment for people from all over the world.

The Windrush Generation, and their descendants have made a large contribution to not only Haringey but Britain’s cultural, social and economic life.


Windrush 2020

For Windrush Day 2020 we are presenting a collection of films, images and exhibitions highlighting the stories, memories and significant contribution the Windrush Generation and their descendants have made, and continue to make, to our borough and British life beyond. 

Watch our community films, read the stories – all made and told in Haringey – and get involved by creating your own oral histories, photographs and memories to be added to our archive.

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Tilbury Bridge Walkway of Memories – A Tribute to the Windrush Generation

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British Artist Everton Wright (EVEWRIGHT) to create Tilbury Bridge Walkway of Memories a unique outdoor site specific Art Installation at Tilbury Cruise Terminal Essex.

Evewright Arts Foundation have to announced that artist EVEWRIGHT will create Tilbury Bridge Walkway of Memories a unique outdoor site-specific Art Installation at Tilbury Cruise Terminal Essex between September – October 2020.

This outdoor art and sound installation will be launched in Art Autumn and as part of Black History Month as we emerge out of isolation to bring this important work to you. This has been a time to reflect on the impact of Covid -19 and how, through this artwork, we respond to commemorate and memorialise the lives of the Windrush Generation and their legacy.

The bridge will be a memory walk of images and documents installed on 552 panes of glass representing the lives of Windrush pioneers and descendants. The installation features a soundscape of new and existing audio stories that visitors can download on to their devices using QR codes. The Tilbury Bridge installation will be used as a back drop to a series of live performances from selected artistic practitioners curated by Artist EVEWRIGHT. The theme of ‘Transition for renewal’ will be explored through experimental drawing, sound, movement, and words.

Caribbean elders were once the key workers that kept the National Health Service, public transport and the factories working, a role which many of their descendants now fill. This period has sadly seen a significant loss of Caribbean elders and black key workers who have been disproportionately affected by the Covid-19 virus.

YOUR STORIES

Families of the Windrush generation will be invited to submit an image of their parents / grandparents or elders taken between the 1950’s-1970’s of key moments such as passport, wedding or photographs in their work uniforms. The hi-resolution image should be sent with 50 words including the person’s name and career. They will form part of the artist’s installation on the bridge so that their lives can be commemorated. The call out will be launched online on Windrush Day June 22nd. For advanced information on how you can submit your images please send an email to hello@evewrightstudio.com

EVEWRIGHT developed the original Caribbean Takeaway Takeover to create Tilbury Bridge Walkway of Memories a new installation brought to Tilbury Port an iconic location which has an historic significance to the black community. This artwork is a unique statement memorialising the lives of those that carried their British passports proudly with hope and expectation as they passed through the original walkway where SS Empire Windrush passengers, in 1948 arrived. They were the first post war wave of British colonial citizens to disembark from the passenger ship at Tilbury Cruise Terminal and this location is symbolic of the many that followed that journey to the UK..

Speaking with us; EAF Creative Artistic Director EVEWRIGHT ( Everton Wright ) said: “It is a delight to continue the development of our Caribbean Takeaway Takeover series. Over the past 3 years we have put a spotlight on the lives of our Windrush elders and will continue to collect and tell their stories and those of their descendants particularly in this unusual period of the Covid-19 Pandemic which brings its own challenges. My dear mother Clarice Agatha Reid a Windrush elder who took part in the installation with her stories, passed away in April. It a timely reminder that It’s more important than ever that we preserve our elders’ stories, before they are gone, to commemorate their legacy and their contribution to British Society. Love You Mum.”

Communities Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said  “We are a better country for the central role British Caribbean communities have played in post-war Britain. British Caribbean communities have made Britain a better, more prosperous country in so many ways.  They have made an incredible contribution to their country.”

Paul Dale, Asset and Site Director at The Port of Tilbury said: “Forth Ports is privileged to be part of the Windrush history through its connection with the arrival of The SS Empire Windrush at The Port of Tilbury on the 22nd June 1948. The EVEWRIGHT exhibition will be displayed on the passenger footbridge down to the Tilbury Ferry, and will be of keen interest to those wishing to understand more about this part of our local history.” AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookShare to TwitterShare to PinterestShare to LinkedIn

WINDRUSH DAY: The Invaluable & Lasting Contribution of the Windrush Generation to the NHS

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Bringing the first group of more than half a million migrants who would go on to not only settle in the UK but make a significant and lasting contribution to its infrastructure, economy, and culture. Come and acknowledge the invaluable contribution made by that generation to the NHS and reflect on the current status of Equality and Inclusion in the Civil Service.

The details are as follows:

Programme

12.30 – Welcome  – Justin Placide, Civil Service Race Forum network co-chair.

12.35 – Sarah Harrison, Department for Business and Energy DG and Race Champion – reflections on diversity and inclusion.

12.40 – Video comprising tributes to the Windrush generation NHS worker from Richard Heaton, Permanent Secretary at Ministry of Justice, Civil Service Race Champion, and a cross section of Windrush generation descendants and their colleagues that work in the civil service.

12.45 – Dr Myrtle Emmanuel PHD, University of Greenwich – presentation on ‘The history and experiences of  the Windrush NHS workers and their intergenerational impact.

13.00 – Allyson Williams MBE – reflections on her experience of working as a nurse in the NHS.

13.05 – Norma Hibbert – reflections of on her experience of working as nurse in the NHS and the impact of the Windrush scandal on her immigration status.

13.10 – Q&A

This event has been organised by the Civil Service Race Forum in corporation with the University of Greenwich and BAME networks from BEIS, DIT, the Home Office, DfT, FCO, MOD, MoJ and DfE

Over thirty years ago, Len Garrison, co-founder of Black Cultural Archives, asked the question “Where are our Heroes, Martyrs and Monuments?”

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Since 1981 Black Cultural Archives (BCA) has embarked on the journey to collect and preserve materials which redress the historical balance and representation of people of African and Caribbean descent in Britain.

Our archive collection is now one of the most comprehensive collections that document the history and cultural heritage of Black Britain.

Originating as a community archive amassed over many years, the archive has been transformed into a professional archive that meets international quality standards and houses over 50 sq metrics of archival materials across two sites. With the support of Heritage Lottery Fund, archivists and trained volunteers continue to catalogue, contextualise and expand the archive collection. Our unique archive collection differs from conventional, traditional archives as it remains rooted in the community that created it.

Visit Us to view the collections in person.

Celebrating Windrush Day 2020 In Wales

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Today marks the 72nd anniversary of the arrival in the UK of the Empire Windrush and her 492 passengers. This is an important cultural landmark in our history because it represents a turning point in how the United Kingdom viewed the Commonwealth and a recognition that Commonwealth citizens could provide a valuable contribution to our society.

We are living in unprecedented times and are all aware of the disproportionate impact that Covid 19 is having on Black & Ethnic Minority (BAME) communities across the UK.  We are also all aware that a large proportion of those working on the frontline are from BAME backgrounds.

In April 2020, the First Minister launched an urgent investigation to understand the reasons for the higher risk from Covid-19 to BAME communities, and established the BAME Covid-19 Advisory Group.

The Advisory Group also included two subgroups – the first focused on a Covid 19 Workforce Risk Assessment Tool which was launched on 26th May and has been implemented starting with the NHS and social care sector.

The second subgroup, looked at the socio-economic factors which might have led to members of BAME communities disproportionately contracting and dying from Covid-19.

Their report launches today and reveals a number of key socio-economic and environmental risk factors.

Due to the impact of Covid 19 it is not possible to gather in person with the Windrush Elders as I have done in the past. Nevertheless, I am pleased that this morning the First Minister and I could mark this important day through an online event, part-funded by the Welsh Government, in partnership with Windrush Cymru Elders and organised by Race Council Cymru and their partners. I am also delighted that, as part of today’s celebrations, Welsh Government is able to fund refreshments that will be delivered to Windrush Elders, in their homes today.

The Windrush landing followed the passing of the British Nationality Act 1948, at a time when Britain was struggling to recover from the devastation of the Second World War. It was recognised then that Britain needed the assets and strengths of Commonwealth citizens to help rebuild our society. The British Nationality Act made a clear invitation for individuals to come to Britain to make a new home.

Despite this, we know that many of the Windrush generation arrived in Britain to hostility and disappointment at how they were received. The Welsh Government is privileged to have so many Commonwealth citizens, as part of our community, and we want you to know how much we value, respect and celebrate the contributions of Windrush and Commonwealth migrants to Wales.   

In particular, we recognise the enormous contribution the Windrush Generation has made to our health services in Wales. The NHS, like so much of post-war Britain, was built by migrants and could not have survived in its current form without them. There were recruitment campaigns for nurses in Malaysia, Mauritius and elsewhere in the British Empire, as well as the Caribbean, and we recognise wholeheartedly this wide history as an important part of Welsh history.

We pay tribute to all members of the Commonwealth and Windrush migrants who have lost their lives during this pandemic.  I send my heartfelt condolences to all families that have lost loved ones.

This contribution makes the Windrush scandal all the more distressing. A great injustice was done to Commonwealth citizens who were made to feel like they were not British. We are continuing to urge the UK Government to do more to ensure Commonwealth citizens have proper documentation and receive compensation where it is due. I have written to the Home Secretary again to urge them to implement the findings of Wendy Williams’ Windrush Lessons Learned report, which was published at the end of March 2020. This report highlights the deep cultural change needed within the Home Office to ensure bureaucratic processes and complex systems do not prevent the Home Office from recognising the individual who need support. We expect to see more work done with the Windrush generation in Wales to ensure public authorities can rebuild relationships with Commonwealth citizens as quickly as possible.

We have contacted the Home Office on numerous occasions in relation to Wales’s specific Windrush Taskforce applications and compensation cases but we are yet to receive a satisfactory response.  We continue to encourage stakeholders to update us if the system is not working as intended.

We have entered a new and important era in relation to race relations, the tragic death of George Floyd in America, and subsequent international response, has highlighted the harsh reality that racism and discrimination are still very much a part of everyday life for so many. The Windrush generation has been experiencing this for many years and we must end this treatment.

At the start of March this year I discussed, with the Wales Race Forum, the development of a Race Equality Action Plan, which will set us on an ambitious journey to advance race equality in Wales.

I am determined to drive change in Wales, and I have asked my officials to set up urgent meetings to progress the development of a Race Equality Action Plan. This will involve robust consultation with BAME communities across Wales. These voices need to be heard so that the plan is owned by everyone and will bring real change.

Today we pay tribute to the contributions made to Wales by the Windrush generation, as well as the other migrant communities who came before and after. We thank them for their efforts and sacrifices over the generations.

As a nation we must continue to promote and safeguard our principles of understanding, inclusivity and equality for all.

The Deputy Minister and Chief Whip supports the work of the First Minister.

Biography

Jane spent part of her childhood in Uganda and Kenya, and was educated at the University of Kent, the London School of Economics and Bristol University. She has lived and worked in Wales since 1972.

Jane was an elected member of the former South Glamorgan County Council for 12 years and was first elected to the Assembly in 1999. Between 1999 and 2005 she served as Minister for Health and Social Services in the Welsh Government. From 2005 to 2007, she was Minister for Assembly Business and Chief Whip. In the first Cabinet of the Third Assembly she was appointed Minister for Budget and Assembly Business.

In the coalition Cabinet, announced on 19 July 2007, she became Minister for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills. In December 2009 she was appointed Minister for Business and Budget, subsequently Minister for Finance until 2016 when she was appointed Leader of the House and Chief Whip at the start of the Fifth Assembly.

On 13 December 2018 Jane was appointed Deputy Minister

Boris Johnson celebrates members of Windrush generation & says ‘they contributed greatly to rebuilding post-war Britain’

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The Prime Minister , Boris Johnson has paid tribute to the members of the Windrush generation, celebrating their contribution to “greatly rebuilding post-war Britain”

The Prime Minister’ s comments come on the 72nd anniversary of the ship HMT Empire Windrush carrying migrants to help fill jobs docking in Essex – but the author of a damning report into the Windrush scandal has warned there is a grave risk it could happen again.

The PM wrote on twitter: “72 years ago today the Windrush generation began to arrive in the UK.

“They contributed greatly to rebuilding post-war Britain.

“Today we celebrate members of the Windrush generation and their descendants, and their fantastic contribution to Britain.”

A spokesman for No10 added: “The PM is absolutely committed to righting the wrongs against the Windrush generation.

“They contributed greatly to rebuilding post war Britain. Today we celebrate them and their descendants and their fantastic contribution to Britain.”

A review by Wendy Williams accused the Home Office under Theresa May of failures which led to UK residents being deported – known as the Windrush scandal.

But Ms Williams said the Home Office faced a stark choice on implementing her recommendations.

If it did not, she said there was “a very grave risk of something similar happening again”.

She said: “Given the experiences that the Windrush generation have had, given the care and attention that was taken over the review and that went into the recommendations that I made, I think now is the opportunity for the Home Office to make good on its stated commitment to learn the lessons from Windrush.

“I think everyone is looking to them to demonstrate that they have done that.”

In honour of Windrush Day, the PM is meeting with Bishop Derek Webley, co-chair of the Windrush Working group and other representatives of the British Carribean community.

The working group – also co-chaired by Home Secretary Priti Patel – will bring together community leaders and stakeholders to address the challenges the Windrush generation and their descendants have to grapple with.

Joy Warmington – When no one’s looking

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Photo by David Ramos

I have been silent. Not because I haven’t been affected by all that has happened, but because I have been worried about what I can contribute that would be of use.

Joy Warmington is CEO of brap, a charity transforming the way people think and do equality. In her role, Joy supports organisations, communities, and cities with meaningful approaches to learning, change, research, and engagement.

This situation has been eloquently discussed and debated for many years and I find myself reading and rereading the work of previous scholars and activists who have absolutely been able to put their finger on what is happening and why. I was walking the other day with a friend (social distancing, of course) and as we walked down a very affluent road, looking at the windows and plants and wondering how many bedrooms the house had, it occurred to us both simultaneously that if we had been anywhere else – two black women strolling down a street looking in at houses – our presence could have been so misinterpreted. I’m glad that I don’t live in America.

But I am worried that the UK believes that it is so much better.

I worry that the sharp edges of racism that many of us experience all the time become momentarily illuminated by flashpoints of horror and an outpouring of concern. What worries me more is that we know from past experience that this concern will pass. That we will quickly forget what we have seen – the many reports that we have read and the statistics we have pored over. In wanting to be proactive by way of response, I have seen the system discussing distribution of funds to communities, talk of ‘ring fencing funds’ so that they get to where they need to go, of mapping exercises, of undertaking positive action, of allyship, of reading that now famous book by Reni Eddo-Lodge, Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race – and whilst this all sounds seductive, I find myself wondering, ‘to what end? ‘

The ends it seems to me are critically important.

If we measure success by the percentage of resources distributed to BME communities, or the numbers of individuals from these communities seated around the table, we will be missing the bigger point. The type of change that is required isn’t instantaneous. It isn’t about a quick transfer of resources or the inclusion of ‘different’ types of people. It is about creating the kind of society where lives are not impacted on by racism. It is about being focussed on what we can do that is going to bring about sustainable change – and more importantly what we do outside of the limelight, when we are least expected to.

Rhammel O’Dwyer-Afflick – Black Lives Matter, Always.

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Devastated by the crippling pain of racist injustice. It was difficult to coin these words because it feels personal. It hurts knowing that despite decades of protesting and speaking out we still have to face issues of systematic racism and white supremacy.

Rhammel currently leads on communications, marketing and media at the charity the British Youth Council. For the past 5 years, Rhammel has also been involved in the planning and execution of one of London’s largest one-day events and world’s largest LGBT+ Festival at Pride in London as Director of Communications.

It’s hard to look at what is happening within the United States without pausing to reflect on the synergies with life in the UK. The context and history might be different in places but the trends that mark out the systematic nature of our experiences are almost exactly the same.

Some would argue the differences in this country are significant because its effects are often subtle or insignificant. But my response to that would be ‘Subtle and insignificant to who?’ Anything that results in demonstrable hardship that includes poor mental health and trauma, or the needless death of black people should never be considered anything but a disgrace. We know this is happening in the UK not just because of the many reports into almost every area of British life, but because of the testimony of Black people across the UK who can attest to their experiences.

Within UK LGBT+ communities, black people still have to face unjust treatment in most mainstream LGBT+ spaces. Black LGBT+ people will still have their voices ignored, or spoken over. Black trans people continue to confront more than most – socially, economically and through legislation which fails to protect them.

It’s with this in mind, that allies must remember to utilise the horror they feel for the injustice we’ve seen across the Atlantic, to support in whatever way they can and to address much needed change within our own communities. The outrage felt now must be used to cement long-lasting change, and for that to work our actions can’t just be preformative and they can’t just last for a week.

In light of this, Pride in London will write to the US Ambassador to the UK, Robert Wood Johnson, and to the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office to express our dismay. However, we’ve also decided to donate $2,000 to the Black Lives Matter Foundation and we’ll be encouraging all of our partners to support the Black Lives Matter by making donations to non-for-profits working to support the campaign. And lastly, we will commit to continuing in our efforts to listen to, advocate for and platform Black LGBT+ people throughout what we do because Black Lives Matter, Always. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to Facebook41Share to TwitterShare to PinterestShare to LinkedIn

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