|Karen Chouhan: Challenging public stereotypes.
As one of seven visionaries for Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, she is determined to play a role changing the discourse on race.
She now also chairs an organisation representing 2,000 BME voluntary sector organisations in London.
Chouhan said: 'I am grateful to the hardworking executive committee of
BLF for their voting me in as chair. I want also to acknowledge the excellent steering for five years of the outgoing chair, Simon Woolley.'
Woolley, who is head of Operation Black Vote, becomes BLF's deputy chair. Chouhan said: 'BLF has now more than ever to ensure Black Londoners work in partnership to have equitable resources, rights, representation and respect in all aspects of London’s governance.
'We must interrogate together the prevailing popular caricatures of Black people as mad, bad or terrorists. We also need to support Black communities under threat, particularly in Barking and Dagenham.
'Finally we need to do more to support the smaller groups of members we have, in particular Chinese communities, refugees and asylum seekers.
'Together with the interim director, Eroll Walters, I want to build BLF into a model active network, disseminating information and good practice and challenging bad practice. We need the support of all our existing members and we want new members to join us for the next phase of our journey.'
Chouhan was a senior university lecturer in social and communities studies before heading The 1990 Trust for six years prior to stepping down as chief executive last year. She is also chair of the Peepul Centre, which has built a state-of-the-art community resource centre in Leicester.
Outgoing chair Woolley congratulated Chouhan on her appointment. He said: 'BLF will be in good hands with Karen Chouhan as chair.
'I have had the honour of chairing this organisation since it began over five years ago. It is well respected by the community and as
such has one of the largest memberships of BME organisations in the capital.
'Karen will take this organisation to the next level and meet the challenges of the Olympic Games, and the many inequalities that continue to blight Black Londoners. I will remain on the board and continue to be a loyal servant.'
Eroll Walters, BLF’s interim director, added: 'We are delighted with Karen’s appointment. She has a tremendous amount of experience in equality campaigning and sensitivity towards the various communities. Karen, also with the newly-elected board, will bring a strategic direction to BLF.'
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