Blog Archive

Monday, 12 March 2018

BARAC Interview with Rokhsana Fiaz, standing to be the first black (BAME) and Muslim female directly elected mayor



Interview with Cllr Rokhsana Fiaz who is standing to be Newham's Labour mayoral candidate.

If elected it will be a historical event as she will be the first directly elected black (BAME) Muslim woman local authority mayor. She was interviewed by National Chair of BARAC UK Zita Holbourne, filmed by BARAC Women's Officer Donna Guthrie. In the interview she sets out her main priorities and thoughts including on social housing and supporting young people, opposing cuts, privatisation and Academisation of schools, climate change, the environment, standing up to racism and what International Women's Day means to her. 



Interview with Cllr Rokhsana Fiaz

International Women's Day; Celebrating, Reflecting and Challenging


On International Women's Day BARAC UK kept the focus on intersectionality and as well as celebrating our achievements, looked at the struggles we still face. Read perspectives and thoughts here from three BARAC Women,  Donna Guthrie, Colette Williams and Zita Holbourne:

Read a feature written for the Morning Star  by National Chair of BARAC UK, here:

International Women's Day is for All Women




Zita was also interviewed by the think tank Class  and by African print fashion company Grass-Fields:


Watch Celebrating International Women's Day here


Read Interview with Grass - Fields here








Donna Guthrie, BARAC Women's Officer organised an event celebrating the stories of black women campaigners; here is her IWD 18 message:


As BARAC UK Women's Officer I would like to send International Women's Day greetings to Sisters wherever you are and hope that our fight for equality, freedom, justice and peace is successful and that our great contributions are recognised and valued.
I spent International Women's Day campaigning with strikers and students at UCL and toured the numerous picket lines to highlight the gender pay gap and bring international women's day greetings. We led a march to UUK offices and i encouraged striking women to speak from the crowd. Followed by fantastic feminist teach out.
I ended my day hosting an IWD celebration evening in my Labour party ward with speakers from the local Avenue Parents' Group anti Academisation campaign and BARAC National chair Zita Holbourne. The evening was so enjoyable and members raised £46 in the raffle and badges sold to donate to BARAC's humanitarian aid for refugees.




Colette Williams our Manchester and North West lead convenor and chair wrote a moving  and powerful article for  Jam Session magazine:

Read: Still I Struggle here








Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Call out for black (BME) artists to participate in the Roots Culture Identity touring art exhibition




The Roots Culture Identity art exhibition is hosted by the TUC Race Relations Committee and is the concept of activist, poet, artist and curator of the exhibition Zita Holbourne, who is elected to the TUC Race Relations Committee & a national executive member of Artists Union England.

This is a call out for black artists (we use black in the political sense to include black and minority ethnic people) and particularly young black artists to submit art to exhibit in the Roots Culture Identity art exhibition at Trades Union Congress HQ, Congress House, in London in April from 7th to 29th April . This kick starts our year and the aim is to get other opportunities for you during the year. We will also be exhibiting at the Bernie Grant Centre in Tottenham from May to June and the General Federation of Trade Unions have agreed to host us at their hotel near Leicester,

The theme of the TUC conference is 50 years on from the Race Relations Act 1968 looking back but also at how far we have come or not, where we are today in terms of racism and race equality in relations to employment and the labour market. You are free to interpret the theme in which ever way you wish.


You are invited to submit 3 pieces of art (which don't have to be on the theme if you don't have any yet, but to show examples of your art) as JPEGs attached to an email itogether with a couple of paras about you and your work as an artist and why you would like to participate by 10th of March sent to Zita; zitabaracuk@gmail.com.


Facebook event:    https://www.facebook.com/events/120529532106219/

Background:

The exhibition, hosted by the TUC Race Relations Committee, celebrates its seventh anniversary this year and was established to meet one of the TUC Stephen Lawrence Task Group objectives, to use the Marble Hall at the TUC to showcase the artistic talents of young black creatives. The exhibition aims to provide an opportunity for black and minority ethnic and migrant artists who are marginalised and face discrimination in the arts and culture sector as well as the disproportionate and multiple impact of austerity. 

The exhibition in full is available for hire or a smaller pop-up exhibition can be arranged for short term events. In addition to the TUC the exhibition has been hosted by a wide range of organisations and events including unions such as PCS, GMB, CWU, NEU and NASUWT as well as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and a range of events including a major conference on Climate Displacement. It will also be hosted in 2018 by GFTU, Slater and Gordon Solicitors offices  and the Bernie Grant Centre with more opportunities to be confirmed.


Venue in April

Address: The Marble Hall, TUC HQ, Congress House, Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3LS

Contact Zita Holbourne zitabaracuk@gmail.com or Wilf Sullivan wsullivan@tuc.org.uk




Report on February Calais Solidarity and Humanitarian Aid distributiion

https://www.gofundme.com/BARACHumanitarian



Dear Friends 

We went to Calais on Saturday and with your donations we were able to purchase and fill our van with urgently needed provisions for the Refugee Community Kitchen including milk, disposable cups, olive oil, sugar, sea salt and cling film, other refreshments and snacks, plus a large supply of toiletries, hundreds of emergency blankets, hats, scarves, gloves & socks, clothes and other essential rials. 



Conditions were harsh, very cold and a strong police presence. There were a handful of portable toilets in two places, with the only access to water via a portable device brought for set periods by a local Calais based homeless shelter. 




Police are still taking away any tents or blankets that people who are refugees access and waking them up in the night to confiscate the items. People are sleeping in the open air on muddy uneven ground, with trees as their only shelter.

Most of the people we met were from Ethiopia, Eritrea and Afghanistan and aged between 18 and 24.

If it were not for the Refugee Community Kitchen they would have no hot meals. The kitchen is currently supplying 2000 meals per day. Following a legal challenge by the local authority, the kitchen had to move out of it's space temporarily but is back in place now, bigger and very well organised. 




Earlier this month we highlighted the plight of thousands of people displaced by climate change, conflict, poverty and persecution who find themselves stuck in France at the annual Lush Summit in London as part of their human rights programme.

We continue to campaign for refugee and migrant rights and highlight the links between displacement, migration, refugees and climate change.

We, as always, appreciate your support and solidarity and would be grateful if you could share this update and our fundraiser with your networks.









Donate here

Best Wishes 

Zita 

Zita Holbourne
Co-founder & National Chair BARAC UK

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Solidarity with refugees: please support our humanitarian aid efforts in 2018


We are returning to France this month to take solidarity, essential supplies and food.
When we visited at the end of 2017 it was bitterly cold, people raised with us concerns about police brutality, lack of shelter and insufficient food.
As you will know one of the organisations we work with in France is the Refugee Community Kitchen, bringing them food supplies. They do brilliant work in supplying two hot meals per day to people but ongoing support is needed to provide adequate meals for people, it is especially important for people to get hot meals during the colder weather and because people are living and sleeping outside in the open air without shelter.
We would be grateful if you were to share this message with your networks and any donations you can give are gratefully received. With £1 we can purchase thermal gloves or a warm scarf or hat. The supply we took last time were well received and much needed.
Other ways you can support us this month or through the year are for your organisation to sponsor our transport and travel to go to France or you can drop off supplies for us to take at our base at PCS union HQ in Clapham Junction, London. Things that are needed are hats, scarves, gloves, small to medium mens warm clothing, catering size supplies of food (check with us first as we usually have a list of what's needed most urgently), sleeping bags and foil blankets, mobile phones and sim cards, wind up torches, size 7 and 8 sturdy walking shoes, coats and toiletries including black hair products and skin care.
Thanks for your support and solidarity. Below are more details of how you can help.
Best Wishes
Zita
Zita Holbourne
National Chair, BARAC UK



DONATION APPEAL  
SUPPORT BARAC UK HUMANITARIAN AID AND  
SOLIDARITY WORK WITH REFUGEES IN FRANCE   
"To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity." - Nelson Mandela   
 
BARAC has been coordinating regular monthly aid convoys to Calais since summer 2015 to support people who are refugees stuck in limbo in horrific conditions in Calais and in Dunkerque. In addition to the regular distribution of food, toiletries, clothes, camping equipment and other essential items including addressing cultural and religious needs, we have carried out solidarity and fact-finding visits.  
There are four key ways to help support our humanitarian aid and solidarity work with refugees in France:  
  1. Donate to the BARAC UK Humanitarian Appeal by visiting the GoFundMe page here: https://www.gofundme.com/nvbvy8qcAlternatively send a cheque made payable to ‘BARAC UK’ with the form below to: Zita Holbourne, BARAC National Chair, PCS National Vice President,  PCS HQ, 160 Falcon Road, London, SW112LN.   
  2. Drop off essential items to our distribution point at PCS HQ. Please address items (see list of items needed below) to: Zita Holbourne, PCS NEC, C/O Harvey Jacob (for Calais), PCS HQ, 160 Falcon Road, London, SW11 2LN.   
  3. Sponsor transport & travel. For details on how you can sponsor a future humanitarian visit please contact Zita Holbourne, BARAC Co Chair by email:Barac.info@gmail.com  
  4. Join the BARAC convoy by bringing a vehicle.  To coordinate efforts and include your own vehicle on a future humanitarian visit please contact Zita Holbourne, BARAC Co-Chair by email: Barac.info@gmail.com  

Items needed include:   

Clothes: Mainly men’s but also women’s and children’s.  Small and medium size boxer shorts/ underwear, gloves, scarves, hats, waterproof coats, socks  and shoes (waterproof and size 7 or 8 men’s),  hoodies, jogging bottoms, fleeces.

Camping equipment:  Warm blankets, emergency blankets, sleeping bags, tarpaulin, ground mats, tent pegs, tents, camping stoves and gas cylinders, cooking pots, utensils, torches.
Toiletries: Sanitary towels, wipes, tooth brushes, toothpaste, anti-bacterial hand gel, shower gel, shampoo (including for African hair), razors, skin cream,  coconut oil, body butters including cocoa and shea, African hair products, halal toiletries.
Food in bulk supply:  Extra virgin olive oil, basmati rice, sea salt, fresh chillies, black pepper, fresh and powdered spices, coconut milk, vinegars, mustard, tahini, harissa, sumac, honey, dried fruit and nuts, dates, golden syrup, sugar, fresh garlic and ginger, fresh vegetables and fruit, tinned fish, long life mil, filter coffee, pulses and beans.
Mobile phones and sim cards. Washing up sponges / liquid, cleaning products, catering kitchen towel and cling film, large bin bags.

DONATION FORM   

To donate please complete and return this form together with a cheque or alternatively pay directly into our account bank account.  
  • I wish to give a donation towards BARAC’s humanitarian aid and solidarity work with refugees’ in  
France;  
    £250    £100      £50         £35         £25        £10       Other £ .….….….….….  
  • I enclose a cheque for a total of        £ ..........                   Payable to BARAC UK Or  
  • I have paid the following amount          £………..           into the BARAC Bank Account: BARAC UK Bank details:  Barclays Bank    Sort Code: 20 67 90     Account No:  53317803  
 
Signature:                                                                                     Date:   
Name of Organisation (if applicable)   
Contact Name:                                                                      Position:  
Address:   
 
Tel no.:                                                                                      Email:   
Please return this donation form (and cheque) to:  
BARAC UK  
C/O Zita Holbourne, National Co-Chair BARAC UK  
PCS HQ, 160 Falcon Road, London,   
SW11 2LN  
Alternatively email to: barac.info@gmail.com  Thank you for your support   Web:www.blackactivistsrisingagainstcuts.blogspot.com   Twitter:  @baracuk       Facebook:  BARAC UK   

Monday, 11 September 2017

DONATION APPEAL SUPPORT BARAC UK HUMANITARIAN AID AND

     







DONATION APPEAL  
SUPPORT BARAC UK HUMANITARIAN AID AND  
SOLIDARITY WORK WITH REFUGEES IN FRANCE   
"To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity." - Nelson Mandela   
 
BARAC has been coordinating regular monthly aid convoys to Calais since summer 2015 to support people who are refugees stuck in limbo in horrific conditions in Calais and in Dunkerque. In addition to the regular distribution of food, toiletries, clothes, camping equipment and other essential items including addressing cultural and religious needs, we have carried out solidarity and fact-finding visits.  
There are four key ways to help support our humanitarian aid and solidarity work with refugees in France:  
  1. Donate to the BARAC UK Humanitarian Appeal by visiting the GoFundMe page here: https://www.gofundme.com/nvbvy8qc. Alternatively send a cheque made payable to ‘BARAC UK’ with the form below to: Zita Holbourne, BARAC National Chair, PCS National Vice President,  PCS HQ, 160 Falcon Road, London, SW11 2LN.   
  2. Drop off essential items to our distribution point at PCS HQ. Please address items (see list of items needed below) to: Zita Holbourne, PCS NEC, C/O Harvey Jacob (for Calais), PCS HQ, 160 Falcon Road, London, SW11 2LN.   
  3. Sponsor transport & travel. For details on how you can sponsor a future humanitarian visit please contact Zita Holbourne, BARAC Co Chair by email: Barac.info@gmail.com  
  4. Join the BARAC convoy by bringing a vehicle.  To coordinate efforts and include your own vehicle on a future humanitarian visit please contact Zita Holbourne, BARAC Co-Chair by email: Barac.info@gmail.com  

Items needed include:   

Clothes: Mainly men’s but also women’s and children’s.  Small and medium size boxer shorts/ underwear, gloves, scarves, hats, waterproof coats, socks  and shoes (waterproof and size 7 or 8 men’s),  hoodies, jogging bottoms, fleeces.

Camping equipment:  Warm blankets, emergency blankets, sleeping bags, tarpaulin, ground mats, tent pegs, tents, camping stoves and gas cylinders, cooking pots, utensils, torches.
Toiletries: Sanitary towels, wipes, tooth brushes, toothpaste, anti-bacterial hand gel, shower gel, shampoo (including for African hair), razors, skin cream,  coconut oil, body butters including cocoa and shea, African hair products, halal toiletries.
Food in bulk supply:  Extra virgin olive oil, basmati rice, sea salt, fresh chillies, black pepper, fresh and powdered spices, coconut milk, vinegars, mustard, tahini, harissa, sumac, honey, dried fruit and nuts, dates, golden syrup, sugar, fresh garlic and ginger, fresh vegetables and fruit, tinned fish, long life mil, filter coffee, pulses and beans.
Mobile phones and sim cards. Washing up sponges / liquid, cleaning products, catering kitchen towel and cling film, large bin bags.

DONATION FORM   

To donate please complete and return this form together with a cheque or alternatively pay directly into our account bank account.  
  • I wish to give a donation towards BARAC’s humanitarian aid and solidarity work with refugees’ in  
France;  
    £250    £100      £50         £35         £25        £10       Other £ .….….….….….  
  • I enclose a cheque for a total of        £ ..........                   Payable to BARAC UK Or  
  • I have paid the following amount          £………..           into the BARAC Bank Account:  BARAC UK Bank details:  Barclays Bank    Sort Code: 20 67 90     Account No:  53317803  
 
Signature:                                                                                     Date:   
Name of Organisation (if applicable)   
Contact Name:                                                                      Position:  
Address:   
 
Tel no.:                                                                                      Email:   
Please return this donation form (and cheque) to:  
BARAC UK  
C/O Zita Holbourne, National Co-Chair BARAC UK  
PCS HQ, 160 Falcon Road, London,   
SW11 2LN  
Alternatively email to: barac.info@gmail.com  Thank you for your support   Web: www.blackactivistsrisingagainstcuts.blogspot.com   Twitter:  @baracuk       Facebook:  BARAC UK   

BMELAWYERS4GRENFELL FILE URGENT APPLICATION FOR PERMISSION TO APPLY FOR JUDICIAL REVIEW OF GRENFELL FIRE INQUIRY




**** BMELAWYERS4GRENFELL FILE URGENT APPLICATION FOR PERMISSION TO APPLY FOR JUDICIAL REVIEW OF GRENFELL FIRE INQUIRY ****

London, 12th September 2017: BMELawyers4Grenfell yesterday filed an urgent application for Judicial Review of the Grenfell Fire Inquiry, after expressing grave concerns that comprehensive justice would not be achieved for the victims and survivors of the fire and their families and local residents.
Despite numerous and repeated concerns from the survivors and families of the deceased for an expansion of the Inquiry’s Terms of Reference and the diversification of its Inquiry Team, as well as the appointment of a diverse panel to assist the Inquiry to ensure that the Inquiry is fully equipped to address issues surrounding race, austerity and issues surrounding the fire and its aftermath, Prime Minister Theresa May has failed, so far, to address their concerns, acknowledge correspondence, or maintain the promise of proper public consultation on the Inquiry’s parameters.
BMELawyers4Grenfell, an organisation comprised of some of the UK’s leading BME legal specialists, community justice groups, survivors and community members, is therefore urgently seeking Judicial Review of the failure of the PM to ensure that the Panel reflects the diverse ethnicity and faiths of the survivors and in particular to
  • Request that the PM confirms whether she will appoint other members to the Inquiry panel to guarantee it has the right level of ethnic diversity and expertise in the local government, scientific, technical, social and legal contributors that led to the fire.

“The Government’s response so far to a human tragedy of such magnitude on UK soil has been inept to say the least, and has inevitably added to the trauma and distress of individuals and the wider community” said Ismet Rawat, co-founder of BMELawyers4Grenfell and President of the Association of Muslim Lawyers. She added, “The fire in the Grenfell tower block is one of the worst collective losses of life seen in UK peace time, and yet three months later, we still have survivors displaced and homeless, with countless others psychologically scarred and under-supported by local authorities. It is therefore critical that the Inquiry is established robustly. Theresa May cannot allow it to be run in the shambolic fashion of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, which she announced on 7 July 2014.”
D. Peter Herbert OBE, co-founder of BMELawyers4Grenfell, said: “It is a mandatory part of the Inquiries Act 2005 that the Prime Minister, before the start of the Inquiry, states whether or not she “proposes to appoint other members to its panel”. Three months on from the fire, the Inquiry has been launched and a mandatory part of the statutory process has been ignored. The deceased and survivors deserve better. It is urgent that a statement is made with regards to the appointment, to minimalize further disruption and to ensure the Inquiry is carried out with the utmost diligence and transparency.”
Ranjit Sond, BMELawyers4Grenfell and The Society of Asian Lawyers, added: “Theresa May launched her premiership on the promise that she would ensure justice for all regardless of ethnicity, gender or religious conviction. It is important therefore, that when she makes her decision on the additional panel members she is guided by her duty under section 149 of the Equality Act 2010.
‘This requires that she has “due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, advance quality of opportunity and foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it.” This in particular, involves a commitment to tackling prejudice and promoting understanding. Given the context and the background of a large number of the victims, we argue that this can only be achieved with the appointment of an ethnically and religiously diverse panel, who have the relevant expertise to assist the Chair and ensure public trust and confidence in the Inquiry.”

ENDS

For further information please contact:
D Peter Herbert O.B.E – Society of Black Lawyers – 07973 794 946
Ismet Rawat – Association of Muslim Lawyers – 07852 146 056
Ranjit Sond – The Society of Asian Lawyers – 07725 523 186
Zita Holbourne – Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (BARAC) – 07711 861 660

Notes to Editors

About BMELawyers4Grenfell
BMELawyers4Grenfell are an umbrella group comprising of leading British BME lawyer and community justice groups – Society of Black Lawyers, Association of Muslim Lawyers, Society of Asian Lawyers, Blaksox, Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (BARAC) UK, Operation Black Vote (OBV)– who have been working, severally and jointly, for over 30 years in the pursuit of justice in our communities. We are joined and supported by survivors, residents, the community and volunteers.
Please visit: https://www.facebook.com/BMELawyers4Grenfell for further information