Members of the UK Black Pride group took over Hackney Town Hall this week to celebrate the move of their annual event to the borough and to kick-off Pride month.
Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, co-founder and executive director of UK Black Pride said: “We founded UK Black Pride 15 years ago to claim spaces for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) members of the LGBT+ community. We started with 200 people, this year we expect 9 thousand.”
More than a decade after, they are still organising a free annual Black Pride event attended by thousands of people, and other activities all year round. This year’s event moves from Lambeth to Haggerston Park and takes places on July 7.
The evening started with a discussion between Opoku-Gyimah, often referred to as “Lady Phyll”, and Mayor of Hackney Philip Glanville, about the importance of having a space for BAME LGBT people and the move to Hackney.
Hackney, you were wonderful. Thank you to everyone who came to see the Phyll and Phil show with @MsLadyPhyll and @mayorofhackney. Stay tuned for some exciting announcements… See you on 7th July in Haggerston Park! pic.twitter.com/o8VK1zd3Vb
— UK BLACK PRIDE (@ukblackpride) June 3, 2019
The BAME LGBT community suffers from double discrimination. According to a report published by Stonewall, a charity that fights for LGBT+ rights, acceptance levels of homosexuality in Black and Asian communities is 40 per cent, compared to 88 per cent acceptance among white.
The same report shows that more than half of BAME LGBT people experience discrimination within their local LGBT network because of their ethnicity. In black communities, the same is experienced by three in every five LGBT people.
When asked why they chose Hackney, Lady Phyll said: “We are so energised by Hackney’s diversity, historical significance as a welcoming place for people from such a broad range of diasporas and the wonderfully enthusiastic response from local government.”
Mayor Glanville said: “We’ve been building a movement where the Council opens up spaces like this and getting behind what is been a history of radical activism in Hackney. By working with UK Black Pride we’re bringing it home”.
Hackney has been running a year-round festival called Hackney Pride 365 for local LGBT communities since 2017.