Lady Phyll is the co-founder and director UK Black Pride. She is also the incoming executive director of Kaleidescope Trust making her the first black woman to head a LGBTI organization in the UK.
14 years ago, when a group of us went down to Southend-on-Sea to be with each other, I could never have imagined what has become UK Black Pride. Sure, I hoped that we would build something momentous and impactful, but to see over 10,000 people gathered in Haggerston Park on Sunday, 7 July has left me overcome with emotion.
There are seldom the words to describe the energy that pulses through our community when we come together to celebrate and acknowledge each other. What I do know is that the ancestors came through for us on Sunday. They would be so proud at what we’ve all built together.
And it’s an important point to labor: what we’ve all built together. UK Black Pride is not about me and while I’m certainly appreciative of the recognition of the blood, sweat and tears that I and other queer Black women have poured into this movement, UK Black Pride really only works because of two essential ingredients: the community who attends and supports UK Black Pride, and the UK Black Pride volunteers.
What a fantastic community
On the community. We are made up of some of the most remarkable and resilient people to have ever graced this planet, past and present, and through all of us flows the energy of those who came before us and who will inhabit the grounds that we are making firm now.
UK Black Pride is a movement of the people, by the people and it is you who keep showing up and who keep reminding us all that this work matters and that it lands in lives that demand it.
As we look across the world and see an increasing threat to our lives and our humanity, we hope that UK Black Pride is a day that vitalises all of us for the work ahead. We matter. We hope that seeing people who look, love and feel like you in a space created for you to shine has left you feeling a little lighter, a little stronger and a little more hopeful.
Those who made Black Pride happen
On the UK Black Pride volunteers. There is a core team of hardworking volunteers who make UK Black Pride happen. They each have full-time jobs and work all hours God sends to pull off Europe’s largest celebration for LGBTQ people of colour. They do it without fanfare or pay, and they are the backbone of UK Black Pride.
It simply couldn’t happen if we didn’t have some very dedicated and impassioned people who believe in this work and who believe that our community deserves this celebration. From communications to entertainment, operations, governance and community engagement (and everything in-between), UK Black Pride is run by people from our communities who give their hearts and souls to pulling this off.
Their work, their time and their passion is the foundation of our celebration. So when you thank me, please also take a moment to thank them, too.
No explanation necessary
Which brings me to my final point.
So much of our lives as queer people of colour is spent explaining and defending our existence, but at UK Black Pride, no explanation is necessary. You are who you are and we love you. As UK Black Pride continues to grow and as we continue to learn how to build a movement befitting the brilliance of our collective communities, we hope that you’ll continue to show up, feedback and get involved. UK Black Pride isn’t the first movement and it won’t be the last, but we are here, right now, in service of communities who deserve nothing less than everything they’ve ever dreamed.
We hope you all feel the love UK Black Pride has for you.
Thank you all for coming to UK Black Pride 2019 and thank you, again, to the UK Black Pride team. You’ve helped make my wildest dreams come true.
This piece was first published on UK Black Pride and has been republished here with permission.