By OBV Director, Simon Woolley
It seems a long time ago now. Fourteen years to be exact when Lee Jasper, Rita Patel, Ashok Viswanathan, Kumar Murshid, Derek Hinds, Andrew Puddephat, Diane Abbott MP, Keith Vaz MP and myself launched OBV in the Jubilee Rooms at Westminster.
People like Lee-OBV’s first chair- and Diane Abbott MP were unfazed by the bank of TV, press cameras and packed Jubilee room. Jasper, the firebrand, ignited the room with his rhetoric that was a mixture of pulpit, street activist, and political operator.
Diane gave a measured speech that hallmarked her status as the most powerful Black women in the UK. I, on the other hand distinctly remember shaking in my boots.
I read from a printed script to ensure I didn’t freeze in the spot light. But like all the others involved I was immensely proud that we had launched a project that demanded change with the agents of that change coming from our own communities. 14 years on Westminster and many other institutions look and feel like very different places. The legislative language of racial justice is firmly embedded into British society.
For a very short while then we can celebrate being part of something pretty special, and then get back to work. There is still much to be done in so many areas, and at so many levels.
But right now to the thousands of individuals and groups that have been involved and supported OBV thank you. Thank you so much. And happy birthday OBV.
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