What's going on? Well, we have less than three weeks left at the Mare Street address and the Covid situation has become dire. Black people are among those at highest risk yet Hackney Council still refuse to support us into a safe and affordable space. Yet again we call on our community and yet again, you come out in support. It's hard to keep on this journey though, fighting domestic & sexual abuse, Covid-19, threats of deportation AND Hackney Council is taking it's toll. Please let's go this extra mile so that we can keep DV victims safe. Thank you.
To: Hackney Council
A SAFE SPACE FOR SISTAH SPACE
We call on Hackney Council to provide a minimum 5 year lease for a suitable premises for Sistah Space. If the Council does not have a designated Voluntary & Community Sector premises available, the Petition calls upon the Council to make another property within the Council's property portfolio available on a Voluntary & Community Sector rate to address the particular needs of the specialist services that Sistah Space provides.
Why is this important?
Sistah Space has been on the waiting list for a suitable Council premises in Hackney for 5 years. And Hackney Council is the licensor for Sistah Space's temporary premises, the licence of which ends on 17th January 2021. This Petition calls on the Council to recognise that Sistah Space is an essential, specialist service catering for Black and African heritage women, an already disadvantaged group that is entitled to additional support under the Equality Act. Therefore, they should be offered priority access to premises to allow them to continue to operate.
Pretending that Sistah Space does not face structural racism, sexism and classism, and failing to offer them additional support to overcome that is an abandonment of the Council’s responsibility to Hackney’s Black and African heritage residents.
In addition, we call on Hackney Council to provide a minimum 5 year lease for a suitable premises for Sistah Space starting 17th January 2021 with the following minimums:
- 3,000 sq ft of space
- 4 rooms with kitchenette
- Meets accessibility requirements for prams and wheelchairs which could include a lift if on more than 2 floors
- 24/7 access
- location with easy transport links
Just as others do, African and Caribbean heritage victims of DV require and deserve a specialist service which understands their particular needs. Too often it is assumed that any organisation or any diverse group under the discriminatory term 'BAME' are qualified to speak on behalf of black women. This is part of the reason why many African and Caribbean heritage women are less likely to seek support when facing DV.
In addition, the Windrush scandal, mass deportations and the memories of a hostile environment add to the abandonment often felt by black women. It is therefore essential that specialist charities like Sistah Space are allowed to support black women and be an advisory and training resource for mainstream agencies. This will not be possible if Sistah Space are not supported into a safe and affordable space where black women can see themselves reflected.
Your support and signature is very much needed and appreciated. Thank you.
How it will be delivered
We aim to email the signatures or deliver them in person if the Covid-19 danger is lessened. We also aim to stage a press conference.