The Ubele Initiative are delighted to announce that our CEO and Founder, Yvonne Field, was awarded an OBE in the King's Birthday Honours last week.
She's written a statement of reflection and thanks.
'When a letter from the Cabinet Office landed on my door mat, I immediately thought that I had done something to annoy the government. To my great amazement it was a letter announcing that I will be awarded an OBE in the King’s Birthday Honours! Such thoughts are not surprising for someone who started agitating against the system at 13 years old. Advocating for young people’s rights (along with my 14-year-old best friend) led to the establishment of a church-based youth club.
Some 50 years of promoting social justice and helping facilitate change for excluded and marginalised people in communities’ leaves one expecting, experiencing, and responding to friction from across the system. Fortunately, I come from a long line of ‘tallawah’ women who don’t normally accept the status quo. My mother (Mary Field) was one of thousands of unsung Caribbean sheroes who after travelling from Jamaica to South London in the mid 50’s, helped build new families, communities and ultimately the social fabric of the UK. She taught me at aged 11 (when I was unfairly excluded) that you can take on a seemingly intractable (education) system, campaign against its decisions and win.
After some reflection and a good talking to from Omolara (my daughter), I am accepting this award. Its announcement comes a few days short of the 75th anniversary of Windrush; the timing not only recognises my 50th anniversary of activism, but also offers a national platform to highlight, honour and celebrate my mother’s life’s work of championing people (especially children and young people). She believed they had rights that needed to be recognised and like thousands of others, she made a significant contribution to ensuring that the voices of Black people in Britain are being heard.
I am grateful to have had an opportunity to make a small difference across the worlds that I have navigated. I would also like to recognise and thank those who have supported my work over decades: from Lambeth Girls’ Project, local, national and international government assignments; YFA Consultancy, Goldsmiths, University of London, Wits University, Johannesburg and my current social venture and love: The Ubele Initiative.
My family and friends who have had listened to and witnessed my trials, tribulations and triumphs at close quarters are thanked unconditionally.'
Yvonne Field OBE
CEO and Founder of The Ubele Initiative CIC