By Ngozi Fulani
Recognise the significance of the 31st March as it relates to black women and domestic violence. It is the day that Valerie Forde & her 23 month young baby were murdered. This is after Valerie went to the police for support and it was recorded as a 'Threat to property' Hackney have a history therefore of placing money before black lives. In Mid May, at the height of the Covid19 pandemic, Sistah Space were issued with a notice to vacate their current temporary offices by mid June 2020. The place that Hackney has asked them to return to is a small shop-front building in a desolate area where squatters live in the abandoned community hall directly behind the premises and drug use is exceptionally high. The location is commonly known as The Murder Mile. For five years Sistah Space were unable to make proper use of the Clapton building as it was semi-derelict and a health hazard, despite constant requests, Hackney Council did nothing . For this and other reasons, we believe that Hackney are in breach of their own Equality & Diversity policies. We ask the Mayor to intervene to halt the forced move of African and Caribbean specialists, Sistah Space until the COVID 19 Pandemic has been completely eradicated and a more suitable and safe venue can be found. for them, AFTER 31st March 2021 or at least until an alternative to the Clapton shopfront can be found.
Why is this important?
It is important that Sistah Space be allowed to remain in their current location until the Covid19 virus has been totally eradicated. Black and minorities groups are identified as being at the highest risk of dying from the Corona virus. Hackney is among those with the highest death rates. In addition, women who are doubly at risk through race and gender are already traumatised by abuse which has increased significantly since the lockdown. DV victims should not be forced to seek support in an area that is notoriously dangerous. We believe that Sistah Space are being discriminated against because of their race and gender. Hackney's Equality objectives were meant to Increase prosperity for all and tackle poverty and socio-economic disadvantage Tackle disadvantage and discrimination that is linked to a protected characteristic Build a cohesive and inclusive borough They have failed in that regard.