UK Black Pride: celebration and protest - RSA

UK Black Pride: celebration and protest

Comment

  • Picture of Saba Ali
    Saba Ali
    Adviser on gender equity and hate crime
  • Diversity and inclusion

Saba Ali explains why UK Black Pride is such an important part of Pride Month, promoting diversity and Black culture while addressing the multiple forms of discrimination faced by People of Colour from the LGBTQ+ community.

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I like to describe myself as a ‘desi eccentric’ with multiple labels who embraces life to the fullest. My expertise is talking about cultural abuse and intersectionality – how to build trust with marginalised communities and recognise intricate nuances. Some of my work is with the Metropolitan Police Service and I am also safety and Met liaison manager for UK Black Pride (UKBP).

UKBP is the world’s largest pride celebration of LGBTQIA+ people of African, Asian, Caribbean, Latin American and Middle Eastern descent – known collectively as People of Colour (POC). We know that Black and POC communities have been challenged by structural systemic racism, and there have been times where trust hasn’t been seen from those who are supposed to protect us. That’s why I feel my role at UKBP is so important to bridge that divide.

Pride to me is both a celebration and a protest. I cannot forget that while we can be ourselves in the UK, in some parts of the world people do not have that privilege to live freely and openly. To me, it means using my privilege to empower those whose voices aren’t heard  by using mine in raising awareness and speaking up on their behalf. I also can’t forget the way trans people are being treated here in the UK, especially being banned in sports and healthcare  being taken away.

Amplifying Black voices

It’s why celebrating UK Black Pride (UKBP) during Pride Month is so important for me and many other LGBT+ Black and People of Colour. UKBP gives us visibility and representation and highlights the unique experiences and challenges we face as individuals. It celebrates the diversity within the community and amplifies Black voices.

UKBP recognises the intersectionality within the community and emphasises that it is important to address the multiple forms of discrimination we face. Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, aka Lady Phyll, Founder and CEO of UKBP, has said: “By acknowledging the intersections of race, gender and class, we can work towards a more inclusive and equitable society. [At UKBP] We strive to create a safe, brave and empowering space, celebrating our identities and fostering a sense of belonging. Together, we are breaking down barriers, challenging stereotypes and paving the way for a brighter future.”

UKBP fosters a sense of belonging and community, which is essential for mental and emotional wellbeing. Many of us have faced some form of racism, homophobia, transphobia or misogynoir – this is an opportunity to come together and send out a strong message that these forms of discrimination will not be tolerated, and that solidarity and unity are key in our fight for equality. 

We strive to create a safe, brave and empowering space, celebrating our identities and fostering a sense of belonging. Together, we are breaking down barriers, challenging stereotypes and paving the way for a brighter future.

Founder and CEO of UKBP Phyll Opoku-Gyimah

Celebrating Black culture

UKBP is also a celebration of Black culture – an opportunity to showcase our rich heritage, traditions and the achievements of LGBT+ Black and POC. Attending this event during Pride not only enriches the broader Pride celebrations but also ensures that the experiences and contributions of Black LGBT+ individuals are recognised and valued. 

UKBP is ‘chosen family’, a phrase you’ll hear a lot among the community. We are incredibly privileged to be led by the iconic Lady Phyll, the compassion and empathy she has for her community and people is second to none. She is an inspirational role model to many and humble with it. I also need to mention Moud Goba, the Chair of UKBP – another iconic role model and leader, and national director of Micro Rainbow, an organisation that support LGBT+ asylum seekers and refugees.

Lady Phyll and Moud Goba are not only LGBT+ human rights activists but real changemakers. They inspire people globally and give hope to many – they listen and understand, they know what the community needs and they care, not just for Pride Month but every day and all year round.

If you’d like to come along to our annual celebration, join me and the rest of the UKBP team on Sunday, 11 August at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, London. It’s set to be our biggest and boldest yet.

Saba Ali is an adviser on gender equity and hate crime. She sits on the Metropolitan Police Service’s LGBT+ Independent Advisory Group, its Trans and Non-Binary Forum, Domestic Abuse Victim Voices Forum and is co-chair of the Met’s Learning and Development Community Reference Group. She is also safety and Met liaison manager for UK Black Pride. You can find more about Saba’s work on her LinkedIn and Linktree profiles.

 

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