Amandine Gay’s documentary “Ouvrir la Voix” confronts a political and historical paradox: the illusion of color blindness that’s central to the French national self-image.
OUVRIR LA VOIX/Speak Up is a feature-length documentary on black female Afro-descendants in French-speaking Europe (France and Belgium).
This film project was born from my desire to occupy the public space and explain why the racial question in France is an eminently political problem. Whether born in France or not, French parents or not, Muslim, Catholic, agnostic, Jewish, atheist, lesbian, hetero, bi, pansexual, cis or transgender, what society sees about us is above all, our skin color. Since my experience as a black woman is necessarily limited and subjective, it seemed necessary to give the floor to women different from me in order to draw a political portrait of black women in Europe and France as multiple as the realities and identities it includes.
For about 80 years critical theories of white supremacy, class relations and patriarchy have emerged . These theories have been articulated by intellectuals such as Claudia Jones, Ella Baker, James Baldwin, WEB du Bois, Franz Fanon, Alice Walker, Maya Angelou, Aime Cesaire, Audre Lorde, etc. And although these tools have been available for so long, the fact that the level of daily feeling and material living conditions of black women has changed – little has changed: greater economic precariousness, more likely to be victims of physical or symbolic violence. combination of negrophobia and sexism) etc.
How do we change the paradigm for black women? How do we disseminate these ideas, reflections, tools for preserving self-esteem and guaranteeing the emancipation of the entire black community?
I therefore consider this film in the spirit of a sociological inquiry, even if the militant and artistic dimension is affirmed. In sociology, the principle of the presentation of the person conducting the inquiry is called: situating one’s subject. And that is my intention: to know where I am from. I therefore choose to use my presence in this film as a guide to the themes that will be addressed, introducing each topic by a personal anecdote. My life has led me to apply for permanent residency in Quebec, but among the interviewees, we will meet as many women entrepreneurs – who are determined to settle permanently in France – as women who have already left or are planning to leave. This is our collection of anecdotes!!
These women’s experiences highlight why us building the most comprehensive directory of organizations across Europe that support black women is vital work. If you know of organizations in France, Belgium and in other European countries, send their names and website links to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wonderful Black women in Europe. It took me researching and writing a chapter in a book about Black Feminism in Europe to realize how many microaggressions I have experienced and continue to experience.
Low-income black and Asian women are paying the highest price for austerity. By 2020 they will have lost nearly double the amount of money poor white men have. You wouldn’t know any of this from the current discourse around austerity, poverty and Brexit Britain: women of colour are consistently written out of the picture.
Women, people of colour and in particular women of colour are suffering the most. And they will continue to suffer disproportionately until 2020, according to research from the Women’s Budget Group and the Runnymede Trust. If you dig down into their findings you see lone mothers are hit the hardest – and in this group it is once again women of colour who stand to lose out the most financially. This magnifies a trend that existed before austerity gripped the UK: even before the 2008 financial crash the poverty rates among minority ethnic communities were significantly higher than for the white population.
Read the full story on The Guardian. This is why our work is so important. Help us compile the most comprehensive directory of organizations across Europe that support black women across Europe by submitting their names to email@example.com.
Labour MP Diane Abbot suggesting that Home Secretary Amber Rudd should quit over her department’s treatment of Windrush-generation immigrants. Many of the Caribbean immigrants, who came to the UK as children in the aftermath of WWII, have been pursued by the Home Office and threatened with deportation if they do not have paperwork to prove their residency. Some have lost their jobs and access to NHS services as a result of tightened immigration rules. Abbot has accused Rudd of withholding information about the number of people wrongly detained and deported.
Our work is important. Hep us compile the most comprehensive directory of organisations across Europe that support black women. Submit your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTE: Help us build the largest directory of organizations that support black women across Europe by sending the names of the groups you know to email@example.com.
No progress in curbing racial discrimination in the European labour market – in particular for women of colour
Brussels, 21 March 2018 – Despite anti-discrimination laws, ethnic and religious minorities and migrants continue to face racial discrimination when looking for a job and in the workplace, according to a new report by the European Network Against Racism (ENAR). Women of colour are disproportionately affected, as a result of the intersection of race, gender and class.
The report, released on International Day Against Racism, explores racism and discrimination in employment in 23 EU countries in the last five years. Little has changed since ENAR’s last 2012-13 report on racial discrimination in employment, which had already pointed to persistent discrimination faced by ethnic and religious minorities in the labour market. Not only is there is a lack of enforcement and awareness of existing anti-discrimination laws, but some laws and policies limit migrants’ access to the labour market.
Ethnic and religious minorities have fewer chances of getting through recruitment processes. In Belgium, research showed that job applicants with foreign sounding names have 30% less chances of being invited to a job interview compared to applicants with a similar profile but Flemish sounding names. In Hungary, one in two Roma said they had suffered discrimination when seeking employment. Discriminatory recruitment practices and structural inequalities also mean that migrants and ethnic minorities tend to have a higher unemployment rate and to be overrepresented in certain job positions or sectors, in particular agriculture, services and care.
Once in a job, ethnic minorities and migrants face additional obstacles, including racist incidents in the workplace, wage disparities, job insecurity and in the worst cases, exploitation and difficult working conditions. In Ireland, a large proportion of racist incidents reported is in the workplace (31%). In Germany, the monthly income of people of African descent was almost 25% less than the national mean monthly net income. In Italy and Greece, migrant workers face inhuman and exploitative working conditions, in particular in the agriculture sector.
Women of colour in Europe face multiple obstacles in the labour market: they are particularly vulnerable to discrimination, exploitation, sexual harassment and mistreatment, experience high rates of overqualification, as well as segregation in specific sectors, in particular domestic work. In France, women with an African background have the lowest labour market activity rate. In Cyprus, the majority of female migrant domestic workers are subjected to multiple discrimination, unequal, unfair and abusive treatment, violence and/or sexual abuse. In Belgium, 50% of discrimination complaints by women on the ground of religion (Islam) received by the equality body in 2014 concerned employment.
“It is shocking to see that so little has been done to tackle persistent and widespread racial discrimination in employment across Europe, and in particular the intersections of racism and sexism,” said ENAR Chair Amel Yacef. “Ethnic and religious minorities and migrants are an integral part of the workforce and are contributing to the European economy. But the structural and individual racism that they experience in the labour market impacts their lives, and also prevents them from fully utilising their talents. EU governments must urgently take both preventive and proactive measures to ensure equal outcomes in employment.”
For further information, contact: Georgina Siklossy, Senior Communication and Press Officer Tel: +32 (0)2 229 35 70 – Mobile: +32 (0)473 490 531 – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org – Web: www.enar-eu.org
Notes to the editor: 1. ENAR’s 2013-17 Shadow Report on racism and discrimination in employment in Europe is based on data and information from 23 EU Member States: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, United Kingdom. 2. The report and key findings are available here: www.enar-eu.org/Shadow-Reports-on-racism-in-Europe. 3. The term ‘women of colour’ refers to women of racial, ethnic and religious minority background, and does not necessarily relate to skin colour. 4. The European Network Against Racism (ENAR aisbl) stands against racism and discrimination and advocates equality and solidarity for all in Europe. We connect local and national anti-racist NGOs throughout Europe and voice the concerns of ethnic and religious minorities in European and national policy debates.
International migration from countries in sub-Saharan Africa has grown dramatically over the past decade,1 including to Europe2and the United States. Indeed, most years since 2010 have witnessed a rising inflow of sub-Saharan asylum applicants in Europe, and lawful permanent residents and refugees in the U.S.
The factors pushing people to leave sub-Saharan Africa – and the paths they take to arrive at their destinations – vary from country to country and individual to individual. In the case of Europe, the population of sub-Saharan migrants has been boosted by the influx of nearly 1 million asylum applicants (970,000) between 2010 and 2017, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of data from Eurostat, Europe’s statistical agency. Sub-Saharan Africans also moved to European Union countries, Norway and Switzerland as international students and resettled refugees, through family reunification and by other means.3
In the U.S., those fleeing conflict also make up a portion of the more than 400,000 sub-Saharan migrants who moved to the States between 2010 and 2016. According to data from U.S. Department of Homeland Securityand U.S. State Department, 110,000 individuals from sub-Saharan countries were resettled as refugees over this seven-year period. An additional 190,000 were granted lawful permanent residence by virtue of family ties; nearly 110,000 more entered the U.S. through the diversity visa program.4
Adrianne George, our Founder, and Chair, talking ever so briefly to Metro Sverige about Black History Month. She is very grateful her colleagues Sigma Dolins and Alexander Lange – Vice Chair and Chair, respectively of Democrats Abroad Sweden sent them her way.
Here is the full interview from which the article above was written:
How come the US celebrates black history month?
Good question! Black History Month in the US is a celebration of the achievements of African Americans and their importance to American History. It started as a week in 1926 as the brainchild of Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson and Rev Jesse E. Moorland. They founded a national organization to study and document “negro” life and history. They choose the 2nd week of February because, that year, it coincided with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. Makes sense seeing how President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves, the predecessors of African Americans, and Frederick Douglass was a ferocious, tireless, and globally acclaimed abolitionist and himself a former slave.
Why is it so important?
Black History Month is important because black history – African American history – is the history of the United States of America. You can’t talk, think about, study or appreciate the history of the USA without an honest look at how it was founded, how it participated in the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade which leads to extreme riches and extreme horror, or gave birth to the first American Patriot to fall at the Boston Massacre,Crispus Attucks, which lead to the American Revolution. You have to remember the brutality of rape and lynching that lead to The Blues and Gospel music.
You have to study America’s repressive segregationist laws to see how they lead to the Civil Rights movement and a woman like Rosa Parks and a leader like Malcolm X, Jazz, Bebop, Soul, Rock & Roll and Rhythm & Blues. You have to study how making amendments to the US Constitution, for example, to abolish slavery, and to end segregation in schools were civil right victories for all Americans. And even though Black History Month started as a week in 1926 the world is witnessing the Black Lives Matter movement in 2017-2018 which in itself explains why Black History Month is important.
How do they celebrate it?
Well, there is the political way:
In 1975, President Ford issued a Message on the Observance of Black History Week urging all Americans to “recognize the important contribution made to our nation’s life and culture by black citizens.” As soon as the organization organizing the week extended the celebration to a month the following year, President Ford endorsed that too. Then in 1986, Congress passed Public Law 99-244 which designated February 1986 as “National Black (Afro-American) History Month.” President Reagan issued Presidential Proclamation 5443 which proclaimed that “the foremost purpose of Black History Month is to make all Americans aware of this struggle for freedom and equal opportunity.” In January 1996, President Clinton issued Presidential Proclamation 6863 for “National African American History Month.” The proclamation emphasized the theme for that year, the achievements of black women from Sojourner Truth to Mary McLeod Bethune and Toni Morrison. In February 1996 the Senate passed Senate Resolution 229 commemorating Black History Month and the contributions of African American U.S. Senators. Since 1996, Presidents have issued annual proclamations for National African American History Month. On February 1, 2011, President Obama issued a Proclamation reflecting on the theme of “African Americans and the Civil War”. In 2017 President Trump proclaimed African American History Month calls upon us to reflect on the crucial role of education in the history of African Americans. This year the President said, ” This year’s theme, “African Americans in Times of War,” calls our attention to the heroic contributions of African Americans during our Nation’s military conflicts, from the Revolutionary War to present-day operations”.
And the community way:
This varies by city and State but in my experience includes museum and art exhibitions, concerts and dance performances, school projects across disciplines from social studies to history and art, on all levels from elementary to University. There are business expos and Buy Black fairs and a celebration of food and everything that makes African Americans unique from hairstyles to wardrobe choices. It’s a time to look in the mirror and like what you see, which isn’t always easy for African Americans to do when you’re worried that you could become a poster child for Black Lives Matter if you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Are there any controversies around the celebration? If so, what are they?
I can’t think of any but then again there was pushback from some constituencies in the US about creating a national holiday to remember the life and death of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I’m waiting for the release of the new $20 bill with the face of a slave, Underground Railroad conductor, Union Army spy, Abolitionist and defacto feminist, Harriet Tubman. The $20 bill would retire Andrew Jackson. Bold, no doubt, and I can proudly say an Obama Administration initiative. Let’s not forget that America is a country whose Presidents owned slaves. Andrew Jackson was one of those. He was also no friend of 1st Nationals in the Southeast of the US. Having Harriet Tubman on a paper bill in US currency would be a first for an African American and the first for a woman in 100 years.
Any specific reason Sweden doesn’t celebrate it?
In Europe, Black History Month is celebrated in the UK. And for good reason. The British colonized many African and Caribbean countries and even though slavery wasn’t legal in the UK her business community profited greatly from the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Certainly, other countries in Europe could recognize a month to celebrate the contribution of blacks in their societies based on their colonial pasts. In 2011 there was a demonstration by Afro-Swedes in Stockholm for Sweden to recognize its role in the slave trade too (https://afroeurope.blogspot.se/2011/05/black-people-in-sweden-demonstrated-for.html). Afrophobic hate crime rose in Sweden between 2008 and 2012 as reported in The Local, in parallel or because of a vibrant and important black community in Sweden. This community has produced high achieving cabinet ministers, artists, athletes, etc.
But then again I have been to Black History Month celebrations in Stockholm in the past. One was arranged by the US Embassy’s Cultural Department and featured my beloved Alma matter Howard University’s Gospel Choir. Another event organized by a US Fulbright student from Boston University doing research in Sweden. She arranged an evening with former child prodigy James Bradley, Jr who is a professional drummer in Stockholm.
Memory and Performance in African-Atlantic Futures
31 Aug – 2 Sept 2018
University of Leeds, United Kingdom
Three-day International Conference
At a time when new dynamics are emerging around the issues of justice (transitional, reparative, etc.), mourning and commemoration in Africa and its diaspora, the conference “Memory and Performance in African-Atlantic Futures” seeks to consider the current historical conjuncture and the extent to which it reveals new questions about memory in the historical, temporal and social contexts of slavery and imperialism. For example, how do the growing calls for reparations and the urge to restructure or challenge the politics of commemoration within imperialist societies point to the emergence of new “conceptual-ideological problem-spaces” (Scott, Conscripts of Modernity) in how African-Atlantic postcolonial communities engage with historical memory? How will an analysis of these dynamics, of the gaps they point to, and of the urgencies they highlight, foster new understandings of the stakes that the particular memories of slavery and imperialism bear within the spaces marked by this history, including the imperialist societies themselves?
In tackling these questions, we wish to consider the valences of performance in the contemporary moment and the extent to which they are cross-fertilising and mediating the most urgent issues in Africa-Atlantic memory. We wish to reflect on how spaces and modes of performance – including, but not limited to, theatre, dance, literary texts, music, visual art and sports – are being used to energise both the particular and the entangled concerns of aesthetics, politics and epistemology within the memories linked to African-Atlantic colonialism and slavery. Are contemporary performances of memory, particularly those that point to African and Afro-diasporic alternatives to Euro-Western modes and models, reflecting historico-political and cognitive shifts in how the relationship between African-Atlantic pasts, presents and futures is conceived?
The three-day international conference “Memory and Performance in African-Atlantic Futures” seeks to approach these issues from a vigorously cross-/inter-disciplinary perspective. We invite scholars, artists, curators and other professionals within fields as varied as literature, theatre and the performing arts, visual art, history, law, anthropology, cultural studies, to engage in a conversation around the dynamics of memory within the historical framework of African-Atlantic slavery and colonialism and the political, aesthetic and epistemological specificities that they engage in the current moment. We hope to underscore how these dynamics, too often overlooked in the critical and theoretical sites of memory studies, are currently shaping, reshaping and (re)mediating the global flows of memory.
We propose two main axes of investigation:
Shapes and forms of memory
How do we think the forms and effects of the enfleshed, material memories of slavery, colonialism and their afterlives and the ways in which these are enlisted in the spaces of performance, be they physical (theatre, dance, ritual, oral performance, etc.) or textual (the different performative manifestations of the written word)?
This question necessarily involves a consideration of how African diaspora time-senses fashion modes of performance of memory and how oral and ritual performance forms impact, shape, record and encode memory in the context of colonial violence. Can African and diasporic forms of embodied memory become tools that combat imperialism? How can the performance of post-slavery/ post-Empire memory shed new light on Western theories of memory that emerge from Holocaust studies or on Western theories of haunting, trauma and mourning?
Epistemologies of memory
What challenges do African diasporic modes of memory bring to Euro-Western epistemologies of justice, History, and the human? How does postcolonial memory call into question the social deployment of memory within the nation and across nations? At a time when the movement for reparations for slavery in the African diaspora is achieving unprecedented momentum, we invite contributions that question settled understandings of the triad of time, history and justice and those that address postcolonial engagements with memory through “corrective” performance practices of justice, “truth-telling” and witnessing. Additionally, in considering institutional marginalization, suppression, and exclusion of postcolonial memories, we seek contributions about practices that challenge the order of remembrance in official commemorations, museums, schools, archives and discourses.
Papers may address, but are not limited to, the following topics:
institutions of memory
memory and the law
memory and reparations
memory and colonial enlightenment
memory and ‘the human’
new ‘problem-spaces’ of memory
memory and futures
Black Speculative Arts Movement and futures
ritual performance and futures
decolonising the museum
decolonising the curriculum
citation as a politics of memory
Each presentation should last no longer than 20 minutes in order to save time for questions and to ensure a smooth program.
Abstracts in English of no more than 300 words should be sent to by Friday, 2 March 2018. Please send abstracts in PDF or Word format, accompanied by the title of the paper and a short biography.
We also welcome proposals for complete panels, which should consist of 3 presenters. Panel proposals should not exceed 500 words and should be accompanied by short biographies of each of the presenters.
The organising committee will communicate acceptance decisions no later than 9 March 2018.
Dr. Jason Allen-Paisant (University of Leeds)
Prof. Maxim Silverman (University of Leeds)
Confirmed Keynote Speakers
Dr. Louise Bernard (Museum of the Obama Presidential Center)
Prof. Lubaina Himid (University of Central Lancashire)
Prof. Tavia Nyong’o (Yale University)
Prof. Adam Sitze (Amherst College)
Dr. Chokri Ben Chikha (Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Ghent)
The American will become the first person who identifies as biracial to join the upper echelons of the U.K.’s royal family when she marries Harry in May.
But some black women said coverage of the Los Angeles native’s roots by some media outlets is indicative of the underlying racism that they experience daily.
“I feel like racism in the U.K. is pretty insidious,”
said Paula Akpan, a co-founder of Black Girl Festival which celebrates black British women.
Read the full story. Quiet and overt racism against black women in Europe is a problem which is why our work is so important. Help us build the most comprehensive directory of organizations in the UK and across Europe that support black women. Submit the names to email@example.com today.
The Black Women in Europe™ Social Media Group held its 2017 Annual General Meeting yesterday. Board members in Copenhagen, Denmark, Gothenburg, Stockholm, Sweden and New York, USA met via Skype and telephone.
Of the 8 members of the Board, one was in Stockholm protesting the slavery of African immigrants in Libya and another was being interviewed by German state television and were unable to attend.
Of the 10 agenda items discussed this change to our Statutes is of direct interest to society:
7) RULES FOR MEMBERSHIP AND EXCLUSION
All persons who completely accept and support the statutes of our association are welcome to become members of the Black Women in Europe™ Social Media Group.
Scholarships can only be awarded to Members who are black women living in Europe. For these purposes, a black woman is defined as having direct African descent.
Membership fees and donations will be used to cover the costs of executing and maintaining the three pillars of the organization.
Voting results: 8 Aye Board members unable to attend the full meeting were offered a Proxy to submit their vote. 3 votes were submitted by Proxy.