I would like to pay tribute to Sister Monica Tywang, a nun from Trinidad who has really made a difference to the Caribbean community in particular. The last 60 years has been spent in religious life and is very much the glue that keeps the Caribbean community together. She is renowned around the Notting Hill children’s Carnival. Hailed from Trinidad and in the UK for over 60 years she has been selfless and resilient and has shone light in our dark days. A sister really making a difference.
Baroness Rosalind Howells of St Davids Grenada OBE formerly served at the House of Lords. She has served community well and her work around the Stephen Lawrence Charity trust has been exceptional. She has really helped to shape our landscape and has nurtured and supported MPs and other politicians and has been selfless in which the way she has served countless community projects.
Reverend Sybil Theodora Phoenix OBE is a British community worker of Guyanese descent and first black woman to be awarded the MBE. Her work lives on via the Marsha Phoenix Memorial Trust and her supported housing project for young women from 16 to 21 years. In 1971 she founded the youth club for black teenagers in New Cross on Pagnell Street. She is also respected for her work on Stop and Search and setting up the memorial to those killed in the New Cross house fire. She is the former mayoress of Lewisham and given Freeman of the City of London.
Linda Bellos OBE is a British business woman, radical feminist and gay-rights activist. She was one of the first black women to be a leader of a local authority (Lambeth Council 1986-1988). In 1987, she was instrumental in introducing Black History Month to the UK because she wanted British society to understand the importance and the relevance of black history in Britain’s own history. In 2006, she was awarded OBE (Order of the British Empire) for services to diversity and today, she still continues to work hard behind the scenes for justice and equity.
There is a new generation of young people who is ready to fight for a just and open world. My ones to watch include:
- Sandra Shakespeare, Director, Museum X
- Denize Leadette, Board member, National Windrush Museum
- Anita McKenzie, Interfaith minister, Healing Images
- Sandra Agard, author, poet and storyteller, British Library.
- Del Whyte who has worked hard behind the scenes in Ipswich to ensure that black people are fully represented culturally
The road ahead may appear difficult and at times treacherous but sisters will continue to work outside of the box and forge change for the better. It was the late great Dr Maya Angelou who I had pleasure of working with in the 90s said “There’s no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you”.
Long may we continue to share our story, salute our sisters and continue to rise as Phenomenal Women.