“In a world where individualism is often sold to us at the expense of our own wellbeing, pausing to gather with each other; even just for a cup of tea, can be the most radical thing.”
2016 is a year that has given witness to a series of emotionally trying and politically disastrous events. It was also the year Purple Rain Collective was formed.
In July 2016, the UK referendum to leave the EU (Brexit) passed, with 51.89% voting to leave and 48.11% voting to remain. While there were many reasons people voted to leave the EU, the popular national debate was framed by anti-immigrant views – leading to a renewed sense of vindication of bigotry across the country with increased levels of street violence against LGBTQ+ people and people of colour; 60% increase based on race and religion and 147% against LGBT people.
In response, to this we started to look for ways of organising for our own safety and realised that a wide variety of resources and collective responses exist in North America.
We were particularly inspired by Toronto Black Lives Matter and their interruption of Pride at the time. We wanted to coordinate a new way of organising for our safety and communities that was able to respond to the lives on QTIPOCs living specifically in the UK.
We birthed Purple Rain Collective as a way to bring together QTIPOCs in the UK across generations, political lines and different cultures to work towards a new, positive future – not framed by being against white supremacy, cispatriarchy, heteronormativity (although we definitely are!) but framed by being for us; our humanity, our joy and our futures.
We want to create a collective agenda and make sure it’s on the table in all aspects of our social, political and cultural lives in the UK. We want to build a space where we can work through our challenges and build unity and solidarity together across the QTIPOC spectrum.
Often we unite around Americanised ideas of ‘community’ and ‘identity’ but we want to talk about ways to organise together that are rooted in a British context.
We want to have a conversation about the ways we can work to build resilience and resistance into what’s happening to us right now in the UK and beyond. This isn’t intended to replace broader coalitions of POC and agitators against the racist state, but rather to create a stronger dialogue between QTIPOC so that we are clear and consistent about what we need to be safe and proactive in the current political climate.
We are explicitly political in our analysis and want to have conversations driven by an action to unify and resist, to agitate and to build.
We bring a politic to the table that insists our wellbeing here is only ever as secure as the wellbeing of our QTIPOC and POC brothers and sisters globally. We want to consider an internationalist lens on our struggles.
We bring a politic to the table that insists if the people in the room are all in the same age bracket, we have a scene and not a community. We want this conversation to cut across generations, identities and political ideologies. We want to learn from those whose shoulders we stand on.
We want to create a space for real dialogue where we challenge tensions between us head on, but also approach each other respectively; leaving our paranoia and punitive ideas of justice at the door. To build a unified movement we need to be able to work across differences of politics and personalities. We want to open a space where new imaginings are possible.