Blog Archive

Monday, 20 July 2020

Press Announcement: Zita Holbourne, Chair of BARAC UK to give the Slavery Remembrance Dorothy Kuya Memorial Lecture 2020

Zita Holbourne, Chair of BARAC to give the  Dorothy Kuya Memorial Lecture as part of the International Slavery Museum; Slavery Memorial Weekend of online events. 

BARAC UK is delighted that our National Chair; Zita Holbourne has been asked to give a lecture for Slavery Memorial Day 2020 . The lecture has previously been delivered by Diane Nash, Selma Voting Rights Campaign, Ndaba Mandela, son of Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King III, son of civil rights leader Martin Luther King. 

Zita Holbourne said:

"It is an honour and privilege to be asked to deliver this important lecture to mark Slavery Remembrance Day and in memory of the phenomenal campaigner for race equality and justice, Dorothy Kuya. At this time where there is a growing black lives matter movement globally, after over a decade of austerity impacting adversely and disproportionately on black communities  and in the midst of the coronavirus crisis which is also impacting disproportionately it is crucial that the legacies of enslavement and colonialism which contribute to systemic racism today are addressed as a matter of urgency. The themes for this year's UNESCO Slavery Remembrance Day are healing and remembrance. We remember the plight of our ancestors and the brutality they faced but we live with racism every day - for healing to happen there must be reparations and there must be race equality in our lifetime."

"Striving for Race Equality, Justice and Freedom. Zita Holbourne is a lifelong community and human rights campaigner and activist, as well as an artist, curator, poet and writer. She avidly campaigns for equality, freedom, justice and human rights and will delve into these topics as part of her keynote speech, discussing reparations for past atrocities, healing our collective trauma and equal rights for the future generations. From Windrush to the disproportionate impacts of Covid-19, systemic discrimination and State brutality to everyday racism and micro aggressions, we are living with the legacies of enslavement and colonialism. Zita will explore this difficult but much needed narrative."  International Slavery Museum

"Zita Holbourne is a tireless national campaigner fighting for equality, freedom and racial justice. A lifelong trade union and community activist she has lead the campaign against racism and austerity for over ten years as co-founder and National Chair of Black Activist Rising Against Cuts ( BARAC UK).
Zita is a beacon of resistance amongst the black community both in the UK and internationally. 
It has been inspiring to work alongside her in BARAC UK and I am so pleased that she has received this recognition. 
Her grassroots work in fighting for the rights of others and to demand social justice are to be commended. It is a fitting achievement that Zita is to give the International Slavery Museum Slavery Remembrance Lecture 2020."

Donna Guthrie BARAC UK Women's Officer

"Zita Holbourne is a long standing campaigner, trade unionist and internationalist who has inspired me and many others over many years. She is a firm believer in the principle of self-organisation and the empowerment of oppressed people.

It's been a privilege to have worked alongside her within our trade union (PCS) as well as BARAC UK. I have always admired her tenacity, particularly in difficult situations.

I am so pleased that Zita has been invited to give the Dorothy Kuya Slavery Remembrance Memorial Lecture this year. Noting the eminence of previous recipients of this honour it is well deserved recognition of her efforts."

Hector Wesley
BARAC UK Officer at Large

The lecture will be available online via the International Slavery Museum website and social media platforms. There will be two lectures on the weekend of 21st to 23rd of August by Race Equality, Human Rights Campaigner, author and artist Zita Holbourne and by Professor Stephen Small of the University of California together with a libations ceremony and other events.

More information can be accessed here

For press enquiries contact: or 

Zita Holbourne is an award winning human rights campaigner, community and trade union activist, a poet, writer, visual artist, curator and vocalist. She  campaigns for equality, freedom, justice and rights through activism and arts. She is the co-founder and National Chair of BARAC UK,  the National Vice President of the PCS Union and the Joint National Chair of Artists' Union England, part of the UNESCO Coalition of Artists for the General History of Africa, author of the book Striving for Equality Freedom and Justice. She is the winner of the National Diversity Awards Positive Role Model for Race and the Legacy Awards Life Time Achievement Award for Equality Champion. 

Saturday, 27 June 2020

Watch BARAC Ten Year Anniversary event and full version of the film Is Britain Racist about Windrush and related injustice

Thank you to everyone who came to our virtual ten years anniversary event.

We held zoom event where we looked back at the past ten years and current racism and injustice including the murder of George Floyd,  Black Lives Matter movement, disproportionate impact of coronavirus on black communities.

We also launched a new film by documentary film maker, Jean-Marc Aka-Kadjo - is Britain Racist. Jean Marc spent over two years documenting the campaigning against the hostile environment, injustice faced by the Windrush Generation and their descendants in order to make the film.

Speakers at the event included Jean- Marc together with Chair of BARAC UK who chaired the event, Zita Holbourne,  Donna Guthrie, National Women's Officer  and Hector Wesley, Global Justice officer for BARAC UK.

Click play to watch - there are two 13 minute segments of the film in this video.

Watch the full film here

You can also access the film  on our Black Activists Rising Against Cuts Facebook Group - it is pinned to the top as an announcment.

BARAC UK on facebook

Thank you for being part of our journey


Artwork by Zita Holbourne copyright June 2020

Sunday, 14 June 2020

BARAC UK Ten Year anniversary zoom event and launch of the film Is Britain Racist, 21st of June

BARAC UK turns ten years old next week. We cannot believe that ten years has passed either. We started as a campaign against the forthcoming disproportionate impact of austerity on black workers, service users and communities in June 2010 and never anticipated that we would still be here ten years later. Hand in Hand with austerity came deepening racism and injustice which has continued to this very day. In the ten years since we were formed we have campaigned against institutional racism, every day racism, racism and injustice at work, in the labour market,  in education, in wider society, in the arts and culture sector, in policing and public institutions, we have co-founded several other groups including Movement Against Xenophobia,  Elbow Out Ebola,  BME Lawyers 4 Grenfell, BAME Lawyers for Justice and we have campaigned against deaths at the hands of the state and human rights abuses globally.  We have campaigned for refugee and migrant rights and for seven years coordinated regular humanitarian aid  and solidarity work, fundraising and raising thousands of pounds and conducting regular aid missions to people who are displaced in France. . Our work has been recognised nationally and internationally and we have worked with our sisters and brothers for global justice.  We have organised numerous marches, protests, lobbies of parliament,  direct actions. Our campaigns have included Windrush Day of Action, MLK50 Equality In Our Lifetime, I am an Immigrant Campaign, Dear White People film campaign, ending with our national chair co-hosting  a Leicester Square premier film screening, we have been joined in the UK and supported by the Reverend Jesse Jackson and Reverend Al Sharpton, we forced the British Olympics Association to do a U-turn and much more. During the past few years we have had a big focus on  Windrush justice and campaigning against the 'hostile environment' more widely.

BARAC UK was co-founded by Zita Holbourne and Lee Jasper who were the co-chairs until Lee stepped down and Zita took up the role of National Chair. 

We want to thank all of the people that kept us going and supported and stood with us,  especially the activists who led the local BARAC structures in different cities, a big shout out goes to Colette Williams and Maurice Shaw   - Manchester BARAC co-chairs,  Maxie Hayles - Birmingham BARAC Chair, Pauline North, Bristol BARAC Chair, Graham Campbell, Scotland BARAC Chair and all the other convenors, activists and members of BARAC.

We thank all those partner orgs and individuals  we have  worked with, those who affiliated with us and worked with us including trade unions with a special thank you to the Public and Commercial Services Union who have supported our journey from the very start and continue to do so.

We thank everyone who has supported our campaigns over the years, attended events and demos, answered our call for action to challenge racism, injustice and cuts and to support our humanitarian aid work.  We see you and appreciate you. 

Sunday 21st June is the 10 year anniversary of BARAC UK & the eve of National Windrush Day . We will be holding a zoom event from 3 to 4.30pm launching the full length documentary Is Britain Racist made by film maker Jean-Marc Aka-Kadjo over a 2 year period charting the Windrush Scandal and BARAC and others campaigning opposing it, on the eve of Windrush Day we want to highlight the ongoing injustice and will be showing segments of the film plus holding a discussion on Windrush, Coronavirus impacts on black communities and Black Lives Matter with co founder and National Chair of BARAC UK , Zita Holbourne  plus National Women's Officer Donna Guthrie and International Officer Hector Wesley with q&a & discussion.  

Jean - Marc Aka-Kadjo says:

This documentary will take you on a journey that shows the hopes, dreams and aspirations of those who came to Britain during the Windrush era from various countries within the Commonwealth. The film is candid and exposes and reveals truth. Individual interviews, news feeds and archive footage have been utilised to show how the lives of individuals from the Windrush era, and the lives of their loved ones, have been affected by the recent changes in British law…and what is being done to help them. 

Zita Holbourne, Chair of BARAC UK says:

We have fought for justice, equality, rights and freedom for many years, way before BARAC UK was formed and will continue to do so. The deepening racism  and injustice our communities face globally demonstrate that our organisation and many others like it are still needed  and will be needed for some time. The impacts of coronavirus on black communities are huge - with black people over 4 times more likely to die, this has a direct link to discrimination and poverty and globally people, predominantly young have take to the streets over the past fortnight crying out that black lives matter, because George Floyd was murdered by police in the USA but also because many more have died because of racism in the USA, in the UK and around the world, because institutional racism and every day racism destroys lives, because we are still far from having race equality. We have supported and campaigned for decolonisation of our towns and cities and universities and curriculums for many years and we are glad that there is now a serious discussion about the glorification of historic statues  of people who enslaved and murdered our ancestors and who endorsed and allowed racism to thrive and who were complicit in enslavement and colonialism.  In 2017 we published our 2025 vision for race equality and it is interesting to see that some institutions and businesses now are only just starting to consider their own part in allowing institutional racism to continue in their own organisations - for those organisations to say black lives matter is all very well but actions speak louder than words.

 You are invited to a Zoom meeting.
When: Jun 21, 2020 15:00 London

Register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. from

Please see attached flyer.

There is also a facebook link below to share on social media.

A selection of photos from recent years follows: