We are delighted to announce the appointment of Baljit Banga as Imkaan’s Executive Director. The team at Imkaan is pleased to welcome Baljit, who brings specialist knowledge and expertise from her position as Director at London Black Women’s Project (LBWP), a specialist and dedicated Black and ‘minority ethnic’ (BME) woman only organisation. Baljit has been working in the field for 13 years, in the UK and before that, in the Americas. She has most recently collaborated on the drafting of the Alternative Bill, the first in-depth policy document of its kind which maps out the urgent need for centring marginalised women and girl’s experiences in sector and state responses to violence against women and girls (VAWG).
Speaking today, Baljit said:
“I look forward to joining Imkaan and working with an incredible team of Black feminists. Our BME ending VAWG sector is operating in a particularly challenging environment. I will be working closely with our specialist ‘by and for’ members to address the challenges that lay ahead, and we will continue our work to ensure that the rights-based proposals contained in our Alternative Bill, receive the platform of support and solidarity.
I know that we need resourcing structures and sustainable funding strategies that support our work and mission by adding value to what we do. We also need to think about securing our sector’s independence so that we can strengthen our intersectional approaches to ending VAWG work. We need to address the hostile environment that targets Black and minoritised women, by continuing a dialogue about race within the sector. This will help us to consolidate our places and spaces. We need dedicated action in our sector around black feminist leadership and work with young women to develop the leaders of the future. We know that women hold up half the sky but girls shake the ground beneath our feet.
I leave LBWP at a time when that organisation is growing in strength, demonstrating a solid commitment to Black feminism as vision and achievement, and leading in critical areas of work to empower women through innovative service delivery. I thank LBWP, the committee and staff for allowing me the space for personal and professional growth and for completing the dynamic journey through our transition from Newham Asian Women’s Project to London Black Women’s Project. In this space, I also acknowledge the incredible Marai Larasi, a friend, sister, inspirational leader, and collaborator, with whom I march in solidarity. I have learned and been inspired by her, and her essence will support Imkaan in a time of transition. I look forward to working alongside Imkaan’s members on our work towards a world where women and children live free of violence and in peace everlasting”.
The Imkaan Board are delighted to welcome Baljit, and stated that “Baljit comes to Imkaan with extensive knowledge and experience of advocating and supporting BME women and girls and has a deep understanding of the current difficulties facing the women’s sector in a climate of few resources and increasing racial discrimination. We look forward to working with her alongside Imkaan’s staff team in this new chapter.
We would also like to take the opportunity to extend a heartfelt thanks to Marai Larasi for helping to take Imkaan from a small organisation run mainly by volunteers to becoming an integral voice in the UK centring the needs of BME women and girls. Her commitment to members and her support and leadership to staff has been unwavering. She will be greatly missed and we wish her all the best for the future.”
Imkaan's outgoing Executive Director Marai Larasi has commented:
“I am truly excited that Baljit has been appointed as Imkaan’s new Executive Director. She brings a wealth of expertise, commitment, passion and vision...all of which she grounds in sound black feminist politics. These are complicated times for our sector and our movement, and Baljit is the perfect woman to lead Imkaan during the next phase of its journey. I look forward to the organisation going from strength to strength.
I want to take this opportunity to thank the Imkaan community, including our members, for the overwhelming solidarity, support and sisterhood over the last 10 years. Team Imkaan, you are simply amazing! I also want to thank our partners and donors for your commitment and support, and I ask that you join us in welcoming Baljit to Imkaan.”