As we approach the end of 2020, it’s a good time to reflect on the tumultuous events that have shaped our individual lives and the world. From Black Lives Matter and the shenanigans surrounding the US elections, to CoVid it’s been a testing year. We share our heartfelt condolences for those who have lost loved ones and send good luck for those currently jobhunting.
Haringey Vanguard had to quickly adapt to the new landscape, and when the London Metropolitan Archives closed which affected the project timetable, we were lucky that our funders the National Heritage Lottery Fund were understanding. The project was extended until February 2021 so that we can complete what we set out to do.
Working remotely meant we couldn’t connect in person with our colleagues at LMA, our volunteers or partners, and soon enough Zoom dominated our days.
During this difficult transition we were even more grateful to everyone who helped transcribe interviews, took part in training and supported us on social media on top of managing the personal impact of Covid. We’re also grateful to the organisers who quickly produced events, talks and screenings online, inviting Haringey Vanguard to take part.
One of the highlights was the Launch of LGBT+ History Month by Schools OUT UK who focus on the celebration and recognition of LGBT+ people and culture, past and present; and aims to increase the visibility of diverse LGBT+ histories. Hosted by museum expert Dan Vo the theme for 2021 – Body, Mind and Spirit – explored how individuals such as Maya Angelou embody the concept. HV Volunteer and freelance historian and writer Kamara Dyer Simms presented a reading and activist Olivette Cole Wilson also participated.
The session can be viewed here –
We’ve been working hard on a couple of events for next year. Not ‘working from home’, but ‘at home working’ as Laila El-Metoui- a wonderful trainer we recently worked with – so aptly put it, perfectly capturing the different reality. We welcomed Umut who is busy digitising thousands of images for the archive, giving new life to the unique posters, flyers and materials evidencing the powerful past contributions made to LGBTQ+ history in Haringey and the UK.
We’re well aware that not everyone has the luxury of working or living in a safe environment. Haringey council has a list of organisations offering support https://bit.ly/3mwBkNG
Local LGBTQ+ organisation Gaywise has a range of online and telephone support including a newly launched befriending service https://wisethoughts.org/
Leyla is in the final stages of planning our final exhibition which will take place in February 2021, with the launch of the BME LGBTQ+ archive at Bruce Castle. This will be the culmination of the two year project, and we’re hoping we can have some socially distanced events along with the online programme. If you’ve offered to volunteer or want to please contact Leyla at firstname.lastname@example.org
So although 2020 has been a busted flush, and everyone wants next year to be here already, it’s worth thinking about what 2021 actually meant. What did we learn? Hopefully overall there’s a better understanding about race and LGBTQ+ issues fostering a new level of respect. There’s certainly more people of colour on TV ads! But we know it’s not enough to pay lip service, so we still need to hold those conversations and to push for change.
This is where the work of the project can be useful in highlighting past achievements and successes so we don’t keep re-inventing the wheel.
This Audre Lorde quote sums things up
‘Our future survival is predicated upon our ability to relate within equality’
So as we leave this year behind, I hope you have the best holiday season and look forward to meeting once again in person. To our volunteers we say a big thank you for helping us to preserve and share BME LGBTQ+ history.
See you in 2021!