Bye 2020. You were intense.

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.

Tips on how to find balance using Zoom and generally –

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

Local LGBTQ+ organisation Gaywise has a range of online and telephone support including a newly launched befriending service

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

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!



Let kindness reign this Black History Month


Who knew come October we would still be in a state of partial lockdown? It has been a hard few months, and for many people it’s taken it’s toll. I think it’s important to try to exercise kindness and more patience at this time.

One day we will look back and see 2020 for what it was – a year of massive change/reflection/rectification/illumination/horror. Feel free to add your own description!

There are many discussions about the need for a black history month. Surely black history is all year round? The acknowledgement that black history is entwined with the history of the UK is growing, spurred on by the popularity of researchers such as David Olusoga, and even TV’s Alison Hammond raising awareness in her own inimitable style. So Black History Month, an important means to address the erasure and distortion of black history, is serving it’s purpose. Yet it’s success means it may eventually become redundant. But we are not there yet, so lets continue to support those smaller often underfunded grassroots organisations doing great work.

Talk at Cambridge African Caribbean Society. Our last IRL event.


GAYWISE is a local LGBTQ+ charity. They run a chat. You can join here

Also Haringey Council is working closely with a number of voluntary and community sector partners to help deliver emergency food provision to those in need in the borough. Contact 020 8489 4431.


Throughout 2020 we’ve been working on the project, and have had to get more tech savvy, conducting oral history interviews via Zoom. We’ve made visits (safely) to collect fantastic materials for our archive, which is currently being catalogued by Martha. A big welcome to our new team members Umut Kav who will be digitising the materials and Leyla Reynolds who has also joined us as the new Exhibitions Coordinator. Let me know if you’re interested in working with her on our Exhibition planned for February 2021.

In recognition of Black History Month Haringey Vanguard is running an online LGBTQ+ Oral History training course.

The date is October 31st at 11am. 
Please follow this link to book a place. Spaces are limited so please only book if you can attend.

There will be some reading ahead of the day and Clare suggests printing out a page so that you can work on a hard copy. This is a great course and introduction for anyone interested in researching and collecting oral histories, particularly from BAME LGBTQ+ communities.  

Big thanks to all our volunteers and a big welcome to our newbies. Your work is much appreciated!

Have the best week possible.


Lockdown can’t dampen our Pride!

I hope everyone is bearing up as we enter another month of lockdown. It has been a tough time for many, with mental, financial and spiritual consequences.  Please keep safe if you are having to go out as a key worker or have caring duties,  do not feel anyway about telling people to maintain the 2M social distance. Some people are acting as if this is all over and it is NOT!


Firstly thanks to our volunteers who are transcribing the oral histories, and to everyone sharing tips on resources and advice. We’ve had some new people who have found out about the work of Haringey Vanguard, which is great. Our new Cataloguer Martha Clewlow has completed the initial stage of cataloguing the existing archives at Bruce Castle Museum, and we’ve had meetings with the Bruce Castle team to discuss the exhibition which will now be in 2021.

Femi at HHP Sept 2018
Activist Femi Otijou


Currently the HV project is  concentrating on doing interviews via Zoom, and we’ve worked out the best way to capture people’s stories, using either audio and/or video depending on their preference. Interviewees have the option to see a copy of their interview, and the audio and video can be posted onto the website once that’s gets moving.

We can also interview people who live outside London, either having moved out of Haringey or currently staying with family during this time, so it widens the pool of people we can reach.

While the LMA is closed you can continue to search their catalogue and browse the Digital Documents and Research Guides. You can also visit Collage – The London Picture Archive to enjoy our photograph, print and map collections. If you’d like to watch a selection of our films, please visit our YouTube channel

UK Black Pride 2019HV and volunteers Pride pic July 2019



As we’ve been unable to have our monthly meetings, I thought a virtual meeting/catch up session would be nice. We can organise it for one Sunday in June.

With most Pride events in real life cancelled, there are many LGBTQ+  events happening online, so take advantage. These courses and sessions are from all over the world – and the good thing is no need to travel!–events/lgbt-events/?lang=en&page=1

There are dozens to choose from yoga, meditation to quiz nights. Some of particular interest.


Work related ………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Job Hunting

Pride at Work


SAVE THE DATE- September 10th 2020

Please save the date to hear Savi Hensmen talk about her life experiences as an activist and person of faith. Savi has been a ken supporter of the project from day one, and has invaluable experience of the period the project covers.

As there’s so much going on online, we are happy to share anything we’ve not heard about of relevance to the LGBTQ+ community particularly BAME, so please feel free to email us at Also if you do tweet, please tag us in, to raise awareness.

Below is a list of UK based LGBTQ+ resources that cover well being, health and socialising. Thanks to Martha for help compiling this list. – resources from London Friend now they are not doing face to face – they have webinars and community groups – COVID-19 resources specifically for transgender, non-binary, and gender expansive individuals – this is a really sweet initiative, a text-messaging service that sends a dose of daily positivity to trans and non-binary people – live music every night that frequently host queer djs – weekly queer online house party – queer dance party for womxn, trans and non-binary hosted every other saturday – faith organization that advocates for LGBTQ+ inclusion, is currently compiling a list of LGBTQ-inclusive places of worship that live streams services online.


Haringey Council have a team called Connected Communities
Connected Communities line on 020 8489 4431. The line is open Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 4.30pm.
Local online support/news can also be found via –
Going from strength to strength is the North London Community Consortium, who you may have seen recently on the ITV news. They serve hot food daily to vulnerable and self isolating people. You can self refer.


I hope you find something useful here that supports you in the coming weeks.  Looking forward to re-connecting at our Pride Zoom meeting. Dates tbc soon.

Stay well.


Connecting in tough times.

I hope everyone is staying well and safe as we go into week 5 of the lockdown.
While the London Metropolitan Archives are closed Haringey Vanguard has been focussing on forward planning for the project, specifically developing our website and thinking of ideas for our end of project exhibition, which will take place at Bruce Castle Museum.
HV Pt1
Haringey Vanguard Exhibition at Bruce Castle Feb 2019.
If you’ve got any ideas of themes, activities for the exhibition, please let me know. We want to make the most of this historic space in an engaging and thought provoking way.
We’ve had a couple of new volunteers who signed up for transcribing which is good news., so we are nearly finished the interviews we have so far.
We will trying out online video conferencing app Zoom to see if that’s a way we can carry out interviews. If that works, then as we don’t know how long we will be in lockdown, we can continue our interviews remotely.

So many hours in the day….

In such a difficult time, it’s great that so many institutions are putting their content online for free to help people pass the time.  These are a few picks you may not have seen.

While the LMA is closed you can continue to search our catalogue and browse our Digital Documents and Research Guides. You can also visit Collage – The London Picture Archive to enjoy our photograph, print and map collections. If you’d like to watch a selection of our films, please visit our YouTube channel

@LGBTIQoutside project have a virtual Cafe Queero on Twitter.
Also Internet Archive’s Open library project have a range of classic LGBTQ+ titles to listen to or read online.  They are on twitter @internetarchive
Check their link here but you have to sign up.
These films – although not specifically LGBTQ+ – are a mix of shorts, docs and interviews which provide a fascinating insight into black lives in the UK dating back to the early 29th century, and is a lovely collection of archive footage and films which have been collated.

Do join LMA’s  LGBTQ+ History Club’s first foray into the digital arena…

Queer history is full to the brim with untold narratives of small acts of defiance. An Elizabethan woman stitches a beard from her pubic hair to marry the woman she loves. A Punjabi-speaking Muslim girl tries to make her parents understand who she is by translating the untranslatable. A drag queen fighting in World War II must literally lip sync for her life.

How do you go about adapting these for the stage?

Join Sam Arbor and Clodagh Chapman – together comprising two thirds of LGBT-led theatre company Bedlam Chorus – as they reflect on the making of buttterfly, “a brilliant show full of heart – it’s history that is far from dull and has been smacked through a queer kaleidoscope of charm, dark humour and vibrancy”. The Guardian

If things are tough – reach out!

Even if you consider yourself quite resilient, the fact that the lockdown is continuing for an unknown period of time, can get to you, and things do change over time. If you need help these links may help.
Well being
UK Black Pride has been cancelled for this year. This article talks about that and lists  for the BAME LGBTQ+ community.
For those who are based in Haringey there are some links that might help.
Haringey Council news –
They have a team called Connected Communities –
Connected Communities line on 020 8489 4431. The line is open Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 4.30pm.
Wise Thoughts – A local LGBTQ+ are offering telephone support.
Local online support/news can also be found via –
There are also local whats app groups.
There’s a great local group who serve hot food daily to vulnerable and self isolating people. They are the North London Community Consortium. You may have seen them recently on the ITV news.
A Time to Reflect
A lot of people in the LGBTQ+ community have likened this current pandemic to the HIV and AIDS crisis in the 80’s. If you want to read out more about this article is a good start –
This is all a bit overwhelming at the moment so please stay safe and check on any elderly neighbours.

Every month is LGBTQ+ Month

LGBTQ+ Month is a reflective time for many, but especially for heritage projects like Haringey Vanguard, where communal remembrance and conversation are vital in the preservation of our histories.


On Wednesday 12 February, Haringey Vanguard travelled to the University of Cambridge. We were invited by the Cambridge University African Caribbean Society to appear on a panel exploring the history of LGBTQ+ people in Black communities around the world. Kwaku Gyasi (CUACS’ LGBTQ Officer) facilitated the discussion between Topher Campbell, co-founder of the Black LGBTQ+ archive rukus!, and myself on topics of Black queer history including but not limited to: access, erasure, and preservation.

The rukus! Black Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Cultural Archive is housed in London Metropolitan Archives.

On Tuesday 18 February, we hosted Haringey Vanguard presents Key Moments in 1980’s BAME LGBTQ+ History at the University of Sussex.

sussex During the talk, Veronica outlined pivotal moments in BAME LGBTQ+ history, including grassroots political action in Haringey, changes in local government funding, and trade union formation.

To end the month, Savi Hensman and Veronica McKenzie led a walking tour around the Haringey borough from Seven Sisters to Wood Green outlining the contributions of BAME LGBTQ+ activists in Haringey from the 1970s to 1990s. Starting at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre, formerly the Black Gay and Lesbian Centre, the visual markers of recent history were visceral during the walk, with conversation brewing in the group about whether the material conditions of homophobia and transphobia have changed much in 40 years.


Haringey Vanguard remains a crucial and critical heritage project; without knowing where you’ve been, it’s hard to know where you are going. Alongside these outreach activities, we also had the opportunity to collect another four oral histories to add to the archive, looking at both activism in Haringey specifically and its relation to other organising efforts in London as a whole. This LGBTQ+ month inspired intergenerational dialogue, reinforcing this history into public memory.

Follow our Twitter @hgeyVanguard to stay updated with Haringey Vanguard and our outreach opportunities. We are also on the lookout for volunteer transcribers, so if you would like to be involved in the project, please email us at:


A queer year ends at the LMA conference

It’s been a busy and productive year for the Haringey Vanguard project. We’d like to thank everyone who has worked with us through volunteering, or inviting us to speak.

In 2020 we’ll continue to collect these vital Oral Histories and look forward to sharing our work with the community.

The 17th LMA LGBTQ+ History & Archive conference was a great success. Our Intern Kamara Dyer Simms reflects on what was such a stimulating day.

PROVOKE: The 17th Annual LGBTQ+ History and Archives Conference

How can we redress the invisibility, erasure and oftentimes appropriation of BAME LGBTQ+ history and culture?

2019_12_07_LGBT Conference_037

On Saturday 7 December 2019, London Metropolitan Archives hosted the ‘Provoke: The 17th LGBTQ+ History and Archives Conference’ with a distinct focus on the history and culture of BAME LGBTQ+ communities. The conference consisted of a plethora of talks, workshops, round tables, and exhibitions – which included the Haringey Vanguard pop-up exhibition, as well as the Rainbow Pilgrims pop-up exhibition featuring the stories and portraits of LGBTQI+ migrant and traveller communities in Britain.

The need for intergenerational dialogue in archiving LGBTQ+ stories

2019_12_07_LGBT Conference_006

Commencing with opening remarks by Deborah Hedgecock about archiving BAME LGBTQ+ history, and Veronica McKenzie about the objectives of the Haringey Vanguard Project, the conference succeeded in bringing to the forefront the imminent need to preserve and ensure these histories are not forgotten or misrepresented. Funded by the National Heritage Lottery Fund, the Haringey Vanguard project works in conjunction with the London Metropolitan Archives and Bruce Castle Museum to record the contributions made to politics and culture by Haringey BAME LGBTQ+ activists from the 1970s to 1990s through oral history interviews.

The overarching sentiment of the event was the importance of remembrance. In his ‘Decolonising Queer History’ talk, guest speaker Campbell X spoke to the importance of enriching the archive with BAME contributions, moving past cis-normative and heteronormative interpretations of BAME LGBTQ+ history. Furthermore, the panel with Sue Lemos, Olivette Cole Wilson and Femi Otitojo entitled ‘An Intergenerational Dialogue: Uncovering the History of the Black LGBTQ+ Movement in Britain’, showcased the need for intergenerational dialogue in engaging with LGBTQ+ histories and the understanding that the Black LGBTQ+ Movement in Britain is ongoing social justice work.

Representation, sanctuary spaces, and intersectional perspectives

2019_12_07_LGBT Conference_018

Several sessions throughout the day were concerned with BAME LGBTQ+ community sanctuary spaces and their visual representations, including a focus on LGBTQ+ representation in arts and media in ‘The Set Up: Representations of Race and Gender’ with Ope Lori, and the importance of nightlife in ‘We Own the Night’ with Hakeem Kazeem and ‘Documenting Community: A QTIBPoC (Queer, Trans, Intersex Black and People of Colour) Archive Project’ with Hayley Reid. ‘A World Within Music: 30 years of sounds, space and community’ with DJ Ritu spoke to the archival properties of music in the club scene. The penultimate session was the screening of the award-winning film ‘There’s Always A Black Issue, Dear’ directed Claire Lawrie, with an accompanying Q&A panel.

Some talks spoke to the connection between community-orientated justice and legislative challenges to the LGBTQ+ community. ‘Tracing Community Change; Churches and Same-Sex Love’ with Savi Hensman and ‘A legal and social perspective of the treatment of the LGBTQ+ community over the last 30 years: a young perspective on LGBTQ+ history’ with Sophie Whiffen referred this connection from the perspectives of the Church and young people respectively.

Delegates were introduced to the existing and ongoing work by various community organisations: BlackOut UK in Dr Rob Berkeley and Marc Thompson’s talk ‘Crunched into Others’ Fantasies and Eaten Alive?’, The Romani Cultural and Arts Company in Isaac Blake’s talk ‘LGBTQ+, Gypsy, Roma & Traveller Communities’, and METRO Charity in Sakthi Suriyaprakasam’s discussion on ‘Queer Transformations: From the Greenwich Lesbian and Gay Centre to METRO Charity (1993–2003)’. Many more LGBTQ+ organisations were represented in the eleven stalls leading into the main conference space.

Community-building and BAME LGBTQ+ interior life

2019_12_07_LGBT Conference_026.JPG

The camaraderie built throughout the conference through the emotional intervention into BAME LGBTQ+ interior life was inspired by many of the personal experiences shared by the facilitators of sessions including: ‘Let’s Talk about Faith: LGBTQ+ people of faith on life’ with Shaan Knan and Olivette Cole Wilson, ‘Exploring African LGBTQ+ Lives’ with Axmed Maxamed, Véronique Belinga and Tabisa Raziya, and the grounding ‘Breaking the Silence; Tell me who you are?’ workshop with Dennis Carney. With the conference culminating in the restorative ‘Hide Me Under the Blood’ chronological spoken word performance by Keith Jarrett, narrative became an integral part to understanding BAME LGBTQ+ culture and community archival processes.

This year’s conference brought the experiences of BAME LGBTQ+ communities to the forefront, with a few speakers presenting their work for the first time. Delegates were moved by the inclusivity of the programming, with one attendee expressing that “there was a great selection of speakers and contributors”, and another stating that they found the conference “very thought provoking and entertaining” – an overall success.

What a summer of protest it was!

It seems like the summer of 2019 was marked by the number of people taking their message to the streets -whether that be climate change, the People’s vote or the Million Women Rising.  There is power in protest, and there were many discussions around the rise of mega Pride events taking place in London, Brighton and Manchester, with questions about whether they had left their protesting roots behind, and embraced commercialisation and exclusion. The great news is that the rise of Prides in places such as Folkestone, Swansea and Margate, shows how important it is to have LGBTQ+ representation across the UK, and to push for change at a local level.

Thanks to all our volunteers! They have been incredible, and their contribution means we were able to attend events such as London Pride, Black Pride and Folkestone and Brighton prides, and reach hundreds of people interested in LGBTQ+ history and BAME LGBTQ+ History.

We hope to see you in the coming months although we recognise that it’s the start of term for many, and that you will be pushed for time!


Haringey Vanguard are looking for a paid intern.  Info here

It’s a great opportunity to work at the LMA on such a unique project.


We have planned a few exciting events.

September 29th 2019 1.30pm.

We’re looking to increase our group of volunteers, so if you’ve been thinking about it come down to our next meeting. We’ll also have an eat and transcribe session for those volunteers working on interviews, who can carry out transcribing over food.

1.30pm at Bruce Castle Museum.

October 27th 2019 . We’ll be having a conversation with Olivette Cole Wilson and learning about her history of Black Lesbian Activism. She was a key member of the 80’s Black lesbian groups and a founder member of the Stonewall charity.

1.30pm at Bruce Castle Museum

Our LGBTQ+ Archives & History Conference takes place December 7th. The line up is taking shape, and there will be an exciting mix of talks, activities and screenings – all Informative, Provoking and Entertaining.

If you’d like to get involved in  the conference planning, or any of our other activities, please email me on

Have a great week!


Knowledge is power!

Haringey Vanguard LGBTQ+

Our BME LGBTQ mapping

History Volunteer Group meeting.

Thanks for signing up to volunteer for Haringey Vanguard!

We are happy to have a number of new people express interest in the project. We meet once a month, and the meetings are a mixture of informal sessions where you can find out more about the project- the hows and whys of collecting BAME LGBTQ+ Oral Histories and workshops where we focus on a specific subject i.e Sound Recording.

In our mapping exercise (above) our volunteers came up with lots of ideas for interesting workshops. Also if you fancy being a guest blogger feel free to email me at

Some of our volunteers are in the middle of transcribing, which can be lonely work. This Sunday we’ll have a section for those of you transcribing interviews to catch up with each other, and share tips.

We will have refreshments.  The next meeting is

August 25th 2019 1.30pm – 3.30pm

Bruce Castle Museum

Lordship Lane, Tottenham, London N17 8NU



27th October – For Black History Month Bruce Castle Museum will mount an exhibition which will include the contributions of local LGBTQ+ people.

We know this year there has been lots of celebration of the Stonewall Uprising in the US which kickstarted the Gay Rights movement 50 years ago. BAME people were at the forefront of that struggle, and this BHM is a great opportunity to look at and reflect on the history of BAME LGBTQ+ community in the UK over the last 50 years.

We plan to book some wonderful speakers who will reflect on their experiences of gay life in 60s, 70s and 80s UK so look out for more information and book your place early.



The 17th annual LGBTQ+ History and Archives Conference

7 December 2019.

PROVOKE ‘stimulate or give rise to’

How can we redress the invisibility, erasure and oftentimes appropriation of BAME LGBTQ+ History and culture?

The London Metropolitan Archives seek new perspectives, and dynamic responses in exploring BAME LGBTQ+ history.

7th December 2019 is the next LGBTQ+ History and Archives Conference at the London Metropolitan Archive. BAME LGBTQ+ History will be at the heart of the day.

We’re excited by the range of presentations submitted and speakers who want to get involved. We aim to reflect the wide diversity of histories with the BAME LGBTQ+ communities, so please still think about submitting an idea for the conference. We also have space for stalls – so take the opportunity to promote your organisation’s work.

You can see last year’s brochure here LMA_Edgy_prog_2018.

Have a great week!



Volunteering with Love at Pride

This month we thank Haringey Vanguard volunteer Susan Miller for her blog. She thoroughly enjoyed helping out at the London Metropolitan Archives stall at this year’s Pride London.

Susan giving out sweets

We were proud of Pride this year – thrilled by our rainbow family who marched through London. According to the Indy 1.5million revellers and activists poured into the city.

And we were proud of our city which opened its streets, and shops and parks, and overflowed with Rainbow happiness.

As HV volunteers, most of our actual Pride 2019 was spent in Soho Square at the London Metropolitan Archives’ stand, promoting HV and two other LMA projects, including the National HIV Story Trust project, which is collecting the stories of those affected by HIV  in the 80s.

We could hear the whistles and the roar of the crowds in the distance, but surrounded by other cheery stallholders and watching regular visitors to the Square it didn’t feel like we were too far away from the action.

As the morning passed into afternoon more people flocked into the Square and we saw an array of flags and rainbow-coloured people in all their glory. The visitors to our stall were all in a great mood – next door the Bishopsgate Institute’s stall was packed with badges and memorabilia to give away – and happy to chat.

I grabbed a ‘Glad to be Gay’ badge from their stall… having meant yet again to dress up I’d come plain. Memo to self, next year it’s Rainbow from head to toes!

Our stall guests and passers-by more than made up for it. We met people from all over the UK and the world, drawn to one of the world’s biggest Pride events. Our giveaway of packets of condoms – don’t ask – were extremely popular and so were our bags and LMA book markers promoting our upcoming LGBTQ+ History & Archive conference In December. Veronica’s assortment of lurid-coloured sweets also attracted interest and not just from me.

Our memorabilia posters proved popular, with younger people remarking on the ticket prices advertised from events in the ‘80s – sometimes just a pound or so as the entry fee – and the older visitors fondly remember the exciting names of bands, poets and activists performing.

We even got to meet the man (below) whose photo was used as part of the National HIV Story Trust project, he came over to have a look at his younger self and we grabbed the chance to photograph him. It was very moving.

So was chatting to the man who’d lost a lot of his friends to HIV in the epidemic, tears in his eyes and mine. We exchanged a big hug. Another hug from a countryman of mine, all the way from the humid, beautiful city of Durban. Both of us long-time Londoners but with memories to share.

And we signed up new BAME people with memories of Haringey in the 80’s to be interviewed for the HV project and also new people who wanted to volunteer their skills to assisting Hv and the National HIV Story Trust project. Many people were fascinated by the range and depth of materials held at the London Metropolitan Archives, so we know that place will be buzzing even more than usual, with dozens of people keen to visit it.

Pride is a huge party. One of the biggest in the world.

But loads of people want to give back – to the people who went before and paved the way, and to those still battling. And so, they flocked to the many good projects at stalls dotted all over the Square and elsewhere in town.

Projects like HV give people a chance to meet older activists, contribute – our volunteer posters based on original memorabilia  were superb – and even learn new skills. It’s a blast to chat so many people. Inspirational and fun.

And there’s a seriousness too. This was the second year the lesbian and bisexual women asylum seekers group (, the Rainbow Sisters, marched at Pride – being allocated 25 wristbands this year. At Black Pride the next day they appeared on the Wellbeing and Wellness stage to talk about their struggles.

Their message: “We need your support as allies. Asylum seeking and immigration are LGBT+ issues.”

Held in Haggerston Park in Hackney for the first time, moving north after a hugely successful 2018 in Vauxhall Pleasure Garden, this year’s Black Pride was the biggest yet. Over 10,000 revellers packed in for an amazing day.

Black Pride co-founder and creative director Phyll Opoku-Gyimah (Lady Phyll) said it left her ‘overcome with emotion’ as she remembered the very beginnings of the event 14 years ago in Southend-On-Sea. (

HV and volunteers Pride pic July 2019Back at the HV stall which was shared with the Opening Doors charity, Veronica hailed the day a success too. Lady Phyll popped by and more than twenty new people had signed up to be interviewed for HV and we’d chatted “to dozens more!”

Being proud – and aware – has never seemed so important. And neither has being involved… In the words of that 80’s hit by King ‘That’s what my heart yearns for now – love and pride’. Don’t we all!

Susan Miller loves chatting and writing – in that order. A very experienced content editor, she’s convinced of one thing. People will never cease to amaze you with their amazing life stories. As a HV volunteer, she’s enjoying learning more about the UK’s LGBT+ politics in the ‘80s and the workings of the LMA.  

Thanks to our Pride volunteers Susan, Becky, Savi, Elaine, Zarieu, Philip, Aldina, ShoSho, Sue, Veronique and Aimee.



Upcoming events- 

Haringey Vanguard Volunteer Interest Group meeting. Please come along to find out more about the project, our workshops and interviews. We will be running our popular Sound Recording and Oral History Interviews workshops again so do sign up.

August 25th 2019 1.30pm – 3.30pm

Bruce Castle Museum

Lordship Ln, Tottenham, London N17 8NU

Refreshments will be provided.

Our volunteer Rachel is also the Opening Doors Community Engagement worker for the BAME LGBTQ+ 50+ Group. Their next event with filmmaker Claire Lawrie is a screening of Beyond. It’s an amazing film, and Rachel has invited us all along. It’s free and link is here.

This will be Rachel’s last event before she moves on to pastures new, so please support, and from all of us at HV- THANK YOU!

Over the summer we will get the bulk of the interviews completed, so if you are interested please email with dates of availability to

Also please check us out on social media.

Enjoy the sun!








Radical Compassion for Pride Month

Akiha HV poster 1

I’m pleased to welcome Savi Hensmen as our guest contributor for this blog following the successful ‘Campaigning then and now’ workshops she recently ran with our volunteers.

‘In the 1980s in Haringey, where the Black Lesbian and Gay Centre project was based at first, sexuality was hotly debated. Then as now, LGBT equality in education was urgently needed but especially controversial.

At a recent Haringey Vanguard workshop, I described some of local activism for equality by communities, along with trade unionists and members of the Labour Party. Then as now, it was important to build alliances, listening to people and looking for ways to connect with and persuade them. We looked at some materials from Positive Images – focusing on schools – and Haringey Black Action, working on broader unity in black communities. Images and shirt amounts of text worked together, both to reach others and help to affirm LGBTQ+ people in our own identities.

Today, social media makes it far easier than before to bring words and pictures together to try to change people’s hearts and the wider world. But, in a discussion, it was pointed out that this could also cause problems, since messages could be posted quickly and people react harshly.

Workshop participants prepared artworks aiming to be relevant to building greater mutual support today, which might allow people to tackle injustice in society and encourage us to care for one another and act with love.

It was suggested that, instead of a ‘call-out culture’ within our communities which can lead to an online ‘pile-on’ of condemnation, there could be a ‘call-in culture’ of speaking out without tearing down, and being supportive. Up-to-date means of communication, creativity and imagination can be used to help to build a better world.’

Using images produced by our volunteers Zarieu and Akiha (her work is above), we agreed to use the terms ‘RADICAL COMPASSION‘ and ‘LOVING EACH OTHER IS A RADICAL ACT‘ as inspirations for our Pride well-being campaign.

Please follow us at @hgveyVanguard on Twitter, and share on Facebook, to help spread a positive message of support to all BAME LGTQ+ people for Pride and beyond. The campaign aims to encourage all of us to reach out to each other, check in on each other and to not assume everyone is having a ‘fabulous’ Pride. Many in the BAME LGBTQ+ will not be able to, nor have the freedom to celebrate Pride.
We will have stalls at London Pride in Soho Square July 6th and UK Black Pride jointly with Opening Doors on July 7th. Thank you to all those who will be volunteering, and to everyone else enjoy Pride and please stop by and say hello!
Take care