Monday, March 28, 2011

Hackney Women’s Forum have launched a project to help women survivors of violence tell their stories.

We are looking for inspirational stories that may involve terror but also involve themes of strength and survival.

From women who have escaped domestic violence, to women that have escaped trafficking or stalking. Stories from survivors of rape and incest to those affected by sexual violence or female genital mutilation. There are many forms of violence against women and we want to help women tell their life stories.   
So if you are a woman willing to share your story – or you know a woman that may want to, then please get in touch.  

Through interviews, poetry, women’s essays, memoirs and other written forms, we want to tell women’s stories of survival. 

Through publishing a book and establishing a web-site we want to get those stories out there to serve as inspiration to other women. We also hope this project will help affect policy in Hackney and ensure that the necessary resources for women affected by domestic violence and other forms of violence against women are made available.


We are also looking for illustrators, photographers, designers, editors and other creatives to volunteer their time to this project so if you are interested then please get in touch.

If you can help us with this project or would like more information then please email: or call: 07956 546110   

Friday, March 25, 2011

Photography book launch – Monday 28th March

Photographer Tara Darby (Jack Wills, Aubin & Wills, Dazed & Confused) is hosting a launch night at the Golden Heart, 110 Commercial Street, E1 6LZ this coming Monday to celebrate the release of her new book We Are Only Humans – a project which documents Hackney for an eight year period from 2001 – 2009.

The night is free and open to all, and there will be a reading from Heidi Jones who wrote the forward for the book.

The series offers a fascinating insight into Hackney, East London and the people that live there – a beautiful document for the future.

The event takes place on Monday 28th March and starts at 7pm.

Book here if you would like to attend:

A great short film showing there IS an alternative to the cuts...

Hackney film-maker Oonagh Cousins has made a short film exploring the alternatives to austerity.

A positive, inspiring and informative film it is aimed at building support for the alternatives and tomorrow’s national demo.

It has just launched on the Guardian site and is also supported by the Coalition of Resistance, TUC, Robin Hood Tax, UK Uncut etc....

Oonagh collected some of the voices for the piece from other local Hackney residents.

Hackney Unites are delighted to support the film which can be viewed here:

Thursday, March 24, 2011


“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”
Abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass
Our trade unions have a long and distinguished history of using peaceful protest to voice dissent from the excesses of authority, gain rights and change laws. Many of the rights and freedoms we enjoy today were won because people were prepared to protest – from women’s right to vote, to the right to be protected from discrimination and workers’ right to be part of a trade union.  Trade union leaders are planning and mobilising a national anti-cuts protest on 26 March 2011, which is planned to be the largest since the anti-Iraq war demonstration. We urge Hackney residents to attend the march and show solidarity.
Given the rise in police powers in recent years regarding public protests and the increasing encroachment on civil liberties, protestors should be aware of the rights and restrictions of protesting.


1.    The right to freedom of expression.
2.    The right to assemble and protest on the public highway without permission from the police, council or other authorities (different rules apply to the area around parliament square).
3.    Trespass on private land is not a criminal offence unless the trespasser is deterring, disrupting or obstructing someone else carrying out a lawful activity. If so, the trespasser may be guilty of “aggravated trespass”.
4.    Unless you are arrested, or driving and involved in a road traffic accident there is no obligation to give your name and address to an officer on the street unless:
a)    You are reasonably suspected of acting in an “anti-social” manner (protesting peacefully should not be considered “anti-social”)
b)    The police want to issue a summons or Fixed Penalty Notice to you.
5.    Police can stop and search a protestor without suspicion that you have committed an offence or that you are carrying illegal items only if there is a notice in force under s.60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act. Otherwise, the police need to reasonably suspect you of being in possession of illegal items or items for use in illegal acts. 
6.    Officers should inform you (if asked) under what power they are stopping and searching you, the reason for their suspicion, their name and provide a stop and search receipt if you request one within a year of the stop. Always ask why you are being searched – there is no such this as a “routine stop”.
7.    Intrusive surveillance and the retention of photographs of you by the police whilst you are at a demonstration could be a breach of your right to privacy.
8.    Peaceful protestors have the right to photograph police officers providing they are not obstructing the officer.
9.    “Kettling” (which the police refer to as containment), is a police tactic which may deprive you of your liberty. If kettling is used it must be:

a)    Resorted to by the police in good faith;
b)    Be proportionate to the situation in hand; and
c)    Be in place for no longer than necessary.
Also, a recent report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary said about kettling that there should be:
i)    ‘No surprises’ (i.e demonstrators should be made aware if the police are going to kettle a crowd and for how long it will last);
ii)    A release plan to ensure vulnerable people (including children, people with disabilities and pregnant women) are released as soon as possible;
iii)    Easy access to information about the duration of the detention; and
iv)    Clear signposting to basic facilities like toilets and water.

10.    You have the right to make a formal complaint against any officer who acts unlawfully but you must do so within 1 year of the incident.

Shamik Dutta is an experienced civil rights lawyer at Fisher Meredith LLP. He specialises in taking action against the state on behalf of the victims of police and Home Office misconduct. He can be contacted on 0207 091 2785.
He is also Chair of North and East London Anti-Racist Alliance.

Monday, March 21, 2011

WHO RUNS LONDON? event on 31 March

Dear Friends
With the extraordinary financial climate the country is in, now more than ever, people might be asking themselves: WHO RUNS my city? How do I influence and shape the debates taking place? How can I communicate effectively with those that make decisions on my behalf?
WHO RUNS LONDON event on 31 March will answer these very questions.
In what is set to be one of the most important dates in the 2011 calendar, the WHO RUNS event organised by Operation Black Vote will give the Black and Minority Ethnic communities of London the chance to listen, contribute and engage in a debate with those decision makers that affect all of our day-to-day lives, and find out how they can get more involved in the important decisions being taken in their local areas.
Speakers and Q+A session will include leaders from across the political spectrum, as well as high profile civic leaders from national charities, the BME third sector and the media. Special guest to be announced.
 Details: Central London location.
 Places are limited.
 Please register here for a place:
 Venue details will be confirmed when registered.
 31 March

To find out more contact: 0208 983 5474

Friday, March 18, 2011

TUC 60 seconds ad contest - vote for us

Teena Lashmore from Hackney Unites has made this video for the TUC 60 seconds ad contest. Now we need your votes! Please visit: 
and look for the video by fuzzyme007

Friday, March 11, 2011

Free film tickets for In the Land of the Free

Hackney Unites have just received a block of free tickets for tommorows screening of In the Land of the Free at the Rio cinema in Hackney, 2.30pm.

To secure a ticket people just need to email There will be a guest list on the day at the box office.

Info on facebook page

More information about the film:
The film has just been nominated for Best Documentary by The London Evening Standard British Film Awards. 

You can watch the trailer here:

For more information about Robert King and his book “From the Bottom of the Heap”

For more information about the international campaign to free the Angola 3:

Friday, March 4, 2011

BARAC anti -cuts meeting @ Bernie Grant Centre (report)

Building on the success of the recent Hackney Unites meeting with BARAC - we report on a BARAC anti-cuts meeting in our neighbouring borough of Haringey. 
by Teena Lashmore

It was an incredible night at the Bernie Grant Centre in Tottenham Green, London on Sunday 28 February 2011.  Over two hundred people attending the Round Table discussion, exploring the impact of the Governments’ cuts to the public sector and local communities.

In the space of three weeks a small group of community leaders were able to draw upon their own resources not only to organise a platform to introduce Black Activist Rising Against the Cuts (BARAC) to the people north of the river Thames, but to provide a forum to local residence to ask questions and increase their understanding about consequences to public services – should the cuts go unchallenged.  

On the top table was Althea Grant a local solicitor, Gary McFarlane from the National Union of Journalism, Rev Errol Hines a local entrepreneur and small business developer, Zita Holbourne Co Chair of BARAC, Lee Jasper fellow co Chair of BARAC, local Labour MP David Lammy, Educationist Jenny Sutton from Conel College and Arpita Dutt an eminent Employment Solicitor.  They were supported with Find Your Voice DJ Douglas Williams who not only chaired the evening, but was a key player in organising the event.

The audience was just as impressive with teachers, staff from the civil services, mothers, fathers, students, small business owners, community activist, local Council worker and the elderly.  Sharon Grant, the wife of the late community activist Bernie Grant, the man whose political campaigns resulted in the commemorative Bernie Grant Centre, was also in attendance.

The evening began with the inspirational short film which captured the essence of an earlier campaign where local community activists along with Mr Lammy successfully prevented the gambling chain Paddy Power from erecting yet another gambling shop in the deprived area of Tottenham’s West Green Road. 

This was followed by Ms Holbourne who detailed the foundations of BARAC and the need for communities to join her and BARAC on 26 March in London for the TUC demonstration against the cuts.  Mr Jasper provided a brief historical narrative to explain why these cuts are ideologically driven and the need for communities to place their differences to one side and come together to mount a successful campaign against them.  His radical call to over throw the Government because they have mismanaged the global financial crises and have chosen to address the deficit by attacking the working classes, the elderly and those most vulnerable in our communities clearly ignited an already agitated audience.

Mr Lammy was welcomed with mixed feelings, with many finding it incomprehensible that a Labour MP would participate in the process of implementing the Tory led coalition cuts programme onto his community.  It became clear he had underestimated the level of anger local people have with Labour leaders delivering the Cuts agenda and his early involvement in the campaign against Paddy Power did little to redeem his political standing among this community.  Mr Jasper was soon to his side reminding the audience of the need to work together and only then did the Round Table return to the agenda.

Ms Sutton detailed some of the consequences of the loss of the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) on local young people, adding that over eighty percent of students in Conel College qualified for the full EMA.  Such statistics confirm the level of poverty of local families and the need to financially support young people into education. 

Rev Hines was unapologetic in his objective - to encourage local residents to start their own business to service their own communities and beyond.  This was well received forcing the Chair to agree to explore whether the Bernie Grant Centre could be made available to the local community on a monthly basis - to develop local talent into business and personal development.

The formal speeches concluded with Hackney Unites’ Ms Dutt detailing the success of using the Equality Duty to challenge local governments.  She paraphrased the successful journey of a local resident who used the Equality Duty (where there is a need for local authorities to undertake an Equality Impact Assessment before imposing fundamental changes that would change the fabric of a community), to challenge the development for another shopping centre that would wipe out small independent businesses; many which were owned or run by members from minority and ethnic communities.   The floor was opened to the audience and from their questions it became clear that many of the objectives for the evening were met. 

What is becoming increasing clear is that as the weeks leading up to the national TUC demonstration against the cuts on 26 March 2011 in London, the people are coming together and defining their own Big Society. Community groups are actively developing their campaigns against the cuts and strategies are evolving on a weekly basis. 

Mr Cameron has been unable to explain clearly what he meant when he talked about Big Society and this effectively created a void in communities.  In light of the peoples’ anger about the cuts, the global community’s poor financial management of the banking systems and the successes of ordinary people coming together to rid their governments’ of poor political leaders in the Middle East, The Tory’s call for a Big Society may have in fact unleashed an unstoppable movement in England - where Big Society will not rest until they too remove from their government poor political leaders. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The OffMarket collective - invite to their new open space

The OffMarket collective, take disused buildings and turn them into open resources.

They recently moved  to Lower Clapton Road and want to invite supporters of Hackney Unites to ‘come and check out the place, meet us and have a cuppa :)’

‘OffMarket is an open squatted space, a small shopfront on 111 Lower
Clapton Rd E5 0NP. It is not-for-profit and run by volunteers who all live
in or around Hackney. The aim of the space is to be an open resource for people living in the
area and activists, as well as promoting and defending squatting.

We're open Sundays 12-6pm, Mondays 12-6pm, Tuesdays 12-8pm if you want to browse our InfoLibrary with books and zines, and our FreeZone where you can bring what you don't need any more and take what you need!

We are keen on having regular activities/skill-sharing sessions. At the
moment, there is (subject to changes!) French conversations (Sun
6-7.30pm), Gardening (Mon 12onward), Bike fixing (tue 2-6), Juggling (Wed 6-8pm), Clowning (Wed 8-10.30pm), Legal drop-in for anti-cuts and students arrestees (Thu 6-7pm), Practical squatting evenings (1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month 7pm)...Special events like movie screenings, infonights, reading groups etc. also happen on a more irregular basis.

All our events are free/on donation and everyone is welcome (there is a
small step at the front and unfortunately the toilets are not wheelchair

You are very welcome to contact us or to come to our open weekly meeting
on Mondays 7pm if you have any comment or proposal about how to use the

111 Lower Clapton Road, E5 0NP
077 0627 9299