The decision to chop funding to Southall Black Sisters, which I’ve documented here a lot, is a betrayal on two fronts.
Firstly, it is a betrayal by the Conservative party. David Cameron has relentlessly been talking about taking more action on forced marriages and ‘honour’ crimes. And yet when organisations on the front-line of challenging these problems are having their funding withdrawn, by Tory Councils, then he’s strangely silent. Was it all just positioning and marketing? The Tory council says all they’re doing is ensuring that the money goes to groups that can cater for all women. But Cameron very well knows you need specialist organisations – after all he’s been promoting and touring with Karma Nirvana’s Jasvinder Sanghera. But on this issue there’s not been a peep from him. I wonder why? Say one thing and do another?
The second act of betrayal is from the group Refuge itself. Refuge is a multi-million pound organisation that does good work but it wants the money that usually went to SBS. This is despite they fact they know that SBS do more specialist work they don’t have the skills to deliver themselves.
SBS have written to Refuge asking them to back out from applying for that funding, to force Ealing Council to reconsider. But they’ve refused to do so because they want to build up their own empire and despite the fact that its a drop in the ocean for the nearly Â£10m a year they get in funding. Its disgraceful. The SBS problem has been covered across many blogs and pushed by a lot of white feminist bloggers. They have completely shattered the myth, perpetuated by many, that white feminists don’t care for brown feminists. So Refuge’s unwillingness to stand in solidarity with SBS is also a betrayal. They should be ashamed.
SBS are holding another protest in front of Ealing Council on 1st April. That is also the day the decision on whether funding gets cut will be made. I’ll be there again.
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