Since 2001, The Black experience has privately organised safe and secure open space at Wey Manor Island KT15 3JP, over the twenty years we have brought together British black, African, Caribbean and European disentrance and sharing their untold stories of black experience and growing up in the UK.
‘The Black Experience was created out of the everyday lived experiences and challenges faced by black men who have sex with men, who suffered racism and rejection from London’s UK ‘mainstream’ gay services.
In the 80s and 90s. During this period finding spaces where we could come together, be ourselves and learn from each other was hampered by prejudiced ideas, attitudes and thoughts about our taste in music, food, dress styles and lifestyle choices’.
‘In the 80s, birthday parties and celebrations gatherings with our brothers and sisters were mostly organised in abandoned (and residential) properties. Every time a police siren would go past it would create an air of panic and fear amongst party-goers, who would wait but flee the party in case the police sirens would stop by and arrest and detain those who had fled their home country, seeking a safe life in the UK’.
‘In the early 90s, as a group of black brothers we attended a Gay Pride celebration in Kennington Park, South London – a stone’s throw from Brixton. On arrival we were me with hostility from the ‘mainstream’ lesbian and gay attendees and organisers and then forced to leave by the police. It was said at the time we did not look a typical gay’.
‘To hear “black” music and meet like-minded people of colour, gay clubs would only make this available on specific nights – usually on a weekday, and never on a Saturday. Back in the days, club promoters referred to black music nights as “Black Night”, so those of “non-colour” would use the terminology Black Night”, to seek out black men’.
‘At a Gay Pride celebration in Victoria Park, East London, A black brother volunteering as an official at pride was leaving the park, when he was set upon and viciously beaten by a group of white men, The circumstances was reported to the police, despite the perpetrators never been caught, I recall his experience as a victim of crime, he was never seen as a victim but was treated as if he was a suspect in a crime’.
The Black Experience:
Would like to develop our project by celebrating our visibility in safe spaces. These spaces will also include exploring the UK and travelling abroad together. We acknowledge privacy and the right to be an individual and be respected.
‘I personally was outed and ostracize at work by my black work colleagues because I stood up to bullying and collectives bullying in the work place’.
We mobiles gay/bi and / or Trans men who identify from African descent in the Uk to work together to address shared challenges create a platforms for our voices, build networks to support, enhance our aspirations, and enable us to play a more active role in the communities if which we are part of.
We operate transparently and share equitably. We are accountable for our actions and expect others to follow suit
We understand that
Toxic environmental Stress, can lead to lifelong problems in learning and development
Trauma and the experiences has a real impact on our lives.
Justice and Solidarity takes work
No one id free until everyone is free.
….Not all the same our Journeys has brought us together ….
We invest in learning from the past. We evaluate, document, and archive our work as legacy to our future and share our learning as a contribution to broader movements for justice
…Our glass is always half full
We practice- creating a radical change via, inclusive, joy-filled spaces in which we can be our best selves
Learning from each other ….
….Working collaboratively and Care whist having open air Fun
Following the pandemic and the experience of black men and Young boys increasingly exposed to isolation from families and LGBTQ network, bereavement within our community, living with sexual violence and reporting are some of the social and environmental issues that places an increase had to an increase of Mental Health / Harm preventing accessing services.
The Black Experience identified Black Men and Young boys experiences of the needs Health and wellbeing programmes tailored to specific and individual unmet needs and would ideally like to expend the through the project to include Well-being programme and include specific specialist delivered programmes in the following
• Managing and coping with change
• Healthy Relationships / Consent
• Separation and Loss
• Managing and coping with anxiety
• Maintaining healthy relationships
• Staying active
• Staying Safe
• Education and learning
• Dating Online
How this would be achieved
• Confidant Building through open peon group discuss
• Working together through meeting new people ie putting tents up
• Learning basis ie Health Eating discussion, food preparation and planning
• Cooking and introducing cultural choices
• Learn and develop budgeting skills
• Group outdoor activities –Cycling, Walking and Canoeing on the open water
• Learning basic salsa dancing
• Relaxing in the open spaces ( Play dominos or your favourite Board game or just read a book or just Paint )
• Interactive Learning