To: HACKNEY MAYOR & COUNCIL, LONDON MAYOR
BLACK LIVES MATTER - Extend DV Specialists, Sistah Space's Hackney Tenancy Until March 31st 2021
27/8 REVERSE EVICTION
Still awaiting a decision about giving us a lease
Tomorrow (31st) was supposed to be the day we were meant to leave our safe space, but we have been given yet another extension until 31st August. Running a DV unit from month to month is almost impossible. We can't support DV victims adequately if we can't make plans beyond a month.
We have put an official proposal to the council asking to lease our current venue for two years, the Go Fund Me has made that possible. We are grateful to all who contributed and continue to do so.
Your continued support is important to us, we are gathering support from all sections of our community and is making a real difference.
Today we received a response from Hackney Council, about our request to lease our current location. It's a letter that really isn't too clear, but seems to be offering us an extension of 1 month until August 31st. The constant month to month existence is unfair on victims and volunteers alike. However we are hoping that we can work something out. The Go Fund Me has reached enough to pay for two years, we should soon have enough to pay the rates and even a part/time worker. That would have all been down to YOU, the community. Thank you.
Link to Go Fund Me https://www.gofundme.com/f/a-safe-space-for-african-heritage-dv-survivors
We have 4 days left before we are forced to leave our current premises. Through Go Fund Me have raised enough money to support two years at this location. We have approached the council to allow us to rent. We have not yet received a response. The delay means we are forced to shut down our services as from tomorrow, until we know what the council have decided.
Our Brotha Akala (@akalamusic) has highlighted our plight and has kindly shared to 'his story' on Instagram. We are thankful.
Hackney Council are not responding to our request to stay, so with just 6 days to go before we are forced out of our safe space, we have offered to pay the commercial rent for 1 year with funds raised from Go Fund Me until we can find another safe space
The rent will be £22,000 plus rates. We are likely looking at £45,000 + for 2 years which is our new target.
if you wish to make a donation, please see our link below.
23rd July 2020
AS OF TODAY, SISTAH SPACE ARE FORCED TO SUSPEND OUR DV SERVICES AS WE PREPARE TO BE FORCED FROM OUR CURRENT PREMISES.
7 DAYS UNTIL OUR FORCED REMOVAL, WE HAVE NOWHERE ELSE TO GO. WE THINK THAT THIS IS UNREASONABLE AND DOES NOT PUT THE SAFETY OF DV VICTIMS OR THOSE AT HIGH RISK FROM COVID, FIRST.
HACKNEY COUNCIL HAVE DENIED SISTAH SPACE PERMISSION TO REMAIN AT THEIR MARE STREET VENUE AND ARE PUSHING THEM TO RETURN TO AN UNSAFE SHOP FRONT VENUE.
HAVING PREVIOUSLY ACCEPTED THAT THE SHOP IN CLAPTON IS NOT A SAFE OPTION, THE COUNCIL NOW INSISTS THAT IN THEIR OPINION, THE VENUE IS SAFE. SINCE BEING AT THE CURRENT ADDRESS AND DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC, SISTAH SPACE HAVE SEEN A 300% INCREASE IN OUR FOOTFALL.
THE COUNCIL SAY THEY WANT £22,000 TO RENT THE FLOOR WE ARE CURRENTLY IN. WE HAVE GIVEN IN TO THEIR DEMANDS BUT STILL HAVE HAD NO RESPONSE FROM THE COUNCIL. WE ARE UNABLE TO PLAN BEYOND NEXT WEEK WHICH LEAVES DV SURVIVORS IN DANGER.
INCREDIBLY, HACKNEY HAVE PUBLISHED A BLACK LIVES MATTER, ANTI RACISM MOTION, DESPITE THEIR DISCRIMINATORY TREATMENT AGAINST SISTAH SPACE, UK'S ONLY BLACK WOMEN'S DV SERVICE OF IT'S KIND IN THE UK.
The 31st of March as it relates to black women and domestic violence, 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. We are asking to extend our stay until 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.
BLACK LIVES MATTER
How it will be delivered
By email, letter and by hand.