Paul Okojie gave a thought provoking and thorough account of black people’s identity and race experience in the UK, which illuminated the social and racial setting surrounding Kath Locke’s life in Manchester, at a talk about the late Kath Locke, during this year’s International Women’s month.
An interesting point was made, that, in order to understand fascism we must understand Britain’s relationship with the homelands of the diasporas, and this reaffirmed a recent realisation I had. Whilst viewing British Empire Propaganda art, at the ‘ In Translation: Women, Migration and Britishness’ exhibition held at Manchester City Art Gallery, it became apparent, how the artists’ portrayal of dehumanised and objectified black men, women and children, had embedded so deep within the psyche of the British masses from 1926-1933, that its message continues to travel through the collective psyche and manifests itself today on a global level.
Kath Locke understood the need for inclusion of the black diaspora in her work, as a whole. I.e. anyone taken away from their land, requiring safe space and equal rights and this also resonated with me. There has been a resurgence of politically black women’s groups over the last 4 years, such as Black Feminists Manchester, striving to raise consciousness of black identity for women and equally aiming to address issues faced by the whole black community, using both a theoretical and practical approach. This resurgence is in addition to the increase of black activism in existing groups due to recent political matters such as the Trayvon Martin case, Islamophobia and the cuts, helping to maintain community cohesion.
It was evident at the talk how Kath Locke and the Abasindi Co operative played an important part in the community as her friends and colleagues present spoke fondly, sharing anecdotes of her determined character and her pursuit for equality and justice.
Recognising and celebrating the lives of local, black, female, activists form an important and essential part of our local history, future and for many of us, identity. This event, like Kath Locke, was a rare gem it seems and it was a pleasure to be a part of it.