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Introducing our new BOPF Trustee!

Tara Mistry is our newest BOPF Trustee and she has been a great activist around anti-racism and equality issues since she was a young teenager growing up in Leicester. Now in her 60s, and after 38 years of living in Bristol, she has a real history and knowledge of what the major struggles have been over many decades. She wrote a letter to The Guardian, which has been published, in response to an earlier one in the newspaper on the theme of widening the remit of Black History Month. We reproduce it here and believe it makes a very important point for consideration:

The Guardian, Black History Month

Widen the remit of Black History Month

It is important that anti-racism campaigns are inclusive of all people of colour, writes Tara Mistry

Letters

Peter Rowlands’ letter (Black History Month needs a wider focus, 18 October) is welcome, especially for many of us from Asian backgrounds who since the 1980s were united around the political definition of “black”, supporting people like Diane Abbott, Bernie Grant and other black candidates standing to be MPs. This was particularly the case in the work of the Black Sections in the Labour party, who worked in solidarity across black, Asian and minority ethnic groups, and saw “black” as a term of unity rather than division. But now in 2020, and with many of us having been involved in the anti–racism and equality movements for decades, we do accept that a broader definition may be warranted.

It’s really important that the Black Lives Matter movement, and Black History Month, which has been supported widely by many “people of colour”, does not ignore the wider colonial exploitation by Britain. The victims’ descendants make up a very large part of the population of this country. Many have made huge contributions and sacrifices in challenging racism for all of us, including leading on heroic industrial struggles, such as the Grunwick and Imperial Typewriter strikes to improve working conditions and challenge racist practices in Britain. Let’s not waste the opportunity to address this gap.

Tara Mistry
Bristol