Royal race row forces Sistah Space to close temporarily

Sistah Space founder Ngozi Fulani
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Sistah Space, the UK charity at the centre of a royal racism row, says it has suspended its work of supporting Black domestic abuse survivors. The charity has faced a torrent of toxic racist hate, forcing it to shut temporarily, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP). Founder Ngozi Fulani said in a statement that the charity had been “forced to temporarily cease” many of its operations to protect clients and staff. Fulani added:

We are overwhelmed by the amount of support and encouragement and look forward to fully reinstating our services as soon as safely possible.

Susan Hussey, a godmother to prince William, repeatedly asked Fulani where she was “really” from at a Buckingham Palace reception on 29 November. Fulani, who is British, has been targeted by what she called “horrific” racist insults online since revealing the exchange.

Hussey resigned from her role as a palace courtier after the row. However, as the Canary’s Joe Glenton reported at the time:

That she has stepped down is something. However, racism will continue to run through the heart of the British establishment – it is, after all, built on colonialism and exploitation.

Institutional racism

The reaction on social media was, understandably, one of sorrow and rage. Actress and public speaker Kelechi Okafor said:

Read on...

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Okafor also pointed out that business as usual for Britain is to deny racism at any cost:

Journalist Lorraine King shared concern that without Sistah Space, people may well be in danger:

Sistah Space is a non-profit that fills a gap in the domestic abuse sector by specifically providing services for African-heritage women and girls. Comedian Ava Vidal pushed back against racists claiming Sistah Space’s work is too specific:

As Sistah Space explained on its own site:

Black skin complexions vary across an extremely wide spectrum and because of that, not all Black people’s skin will bruise the same as their white counterparts.

The organisation says that:

Risk assessment questions should reflect the cultural environment of black women to better understand the danger they are facing.

And, importantly, it states that:

Distrust of police officers and government agencies within the Black community due to historic institutional racism that must be recognised and addressed.

Sistah Space’s work is vital for its service users. The fact that the organisation has to close due to racist harassment is a disgrace. Even more so, it’s coming near to Christmas – a period where domestic abuse charities record spikes in domestic abuse reports.

Solidarity and support needed

Black Lives Matter UK expressed their solidarity with Sistah Space:

As did Sisters Uncut:

Hackney Cop Watch also urged everyone to support Sistah Space:

You can find out more about Sistah Space’s work here and donate to their work here.

It speaks to what a racist cesspit this country is that, after being the one to suffer racist abuse, Fulani is forced to temporarily close her charity to protect its staff and service users. Once again, Black women in Britain are being failed by an institutionally racist and anti-Black society.

Featured image via YouTube screenshot/Good Morning Britain

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse

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  • Show Comments
    1. Needs to be further analysed for presence of wholesale ‘intention to be racist’. As with ‘anti-Semitism’ accusations of racism can and are freely and easily bandied about in the face of ignoring nuances embedded in reactions that oppose each other on both sides of a divide of opinion where aspects of racism (which includes the racism of anti-Semitism) is unquestionably accepted as factually present. We’ve seen this horribly with accusations of anti-Semitic racism personally and erroneously levelled against the former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn MP.

      1. If anti-Black and anti-Asian racism was treated with the same vigour and micro-forensics as those who poured through everything Corbn said and did benefit from, very few of our Black and Asians citizens would be complaining about racism in the UK.

        But it’s not, is it? And frankly, from what I’ve seen, those groups individuals tend to let more slide than they ever complain about.

        I rather doubt the members and staff of Sistah Space are shrinking violets panicking over a few harmless tweets.

        These are folk on the front-lines; they hear horror stories EVERY DAY.

        Personally, I don’t think they are likely to be exaggerating the extent of this. They are unlikely to be the kind of people who back off from helping who they help, unless they genuinely feel scared to their safety.

        This isn’t neolib Blairite scum pretending, in order to sink an actual socialist in charge of the LABOUR party.

        (And it sure as hell isn’t going to make every newspapers headlies day after day).

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