October 1st marks the start of Black History Month, and a time of year when Black history, voices, stories and talent is showcased and celebrated across the UK with a spotlight on Black British people, Black British communities and their contributions to Britain.
Black history is British history. Black feminism and resistance is British feminism and resistance: Solace stands in solidarity with the legacy of Black feminists and those whose shoulders feminist liberation and the Black Lives Matter movement has been built.
Solace will participate in Black History month, as we do every year, like organisations and institutions across the country, we are creating space for internal discussions for celebrating the month and for amplifying the work of Black feminists and organisations in our sector working on ending Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG).
We are proud to work alongside these organisations and feminists in our day to day work.
This year, Black History Month is being marked behind the backdrop of a Covid- 19 pandemic disproportionately claiming the lives of and impacting Black people and communities and Black women in particular, a looming unemployment crisis, also impacting Black women the hardest, the stepping up of the Hostile Environment, the reinvigoration of the global Black Lives Matter movement for racial justice and the US election in November, leading to openly racist rhetoric and the stoking of racism, division and racial tension in the United States of America by a president known for his misogyny, racism and hate.
Here in the UK, racism continues to be denied daily, racism continues to be debated in our mainstream media and a casualty of manufactured and disingenuous ‘culture wars’ seeking to distract and derail attention from the huge amounts of work that must be done to tackle racism in all its forms to create genuine and lasting racial justice, women’s rights and gender justice.
Solace stands in solidarity with Black women, feminists and our colleagues in our organisation and the sector, today and every day. We recognise and honour the legacy of Black feminists, organisations and Black queer women in particular, upon whose shoulders so much of the burden and work to liberate Black women and all women has fallen, historically and to current day, through the formation of the Black Lives Matter movement by Black queer women.
Solace acknowledges the exhaustion and anguish that is being felt by Black women in our own organisation and the wider sector. We acknowledge that as an organisation and a sector we must do much more to root out racism and racist structures harming Black women.
We pledge to do this work, to reflect and encourage uncomfortable truths to be heard and acted upon and to do this work in an open, transparent and honest way.
In solidarity and sisterhood.