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Marilyn Cuffy

I was born in Dominica, where English and Creole (French) is spoken. My sister and I were raised by our grandparents. We joined our parents and other siblings in 1960s, as our parents migrated to London in the 1950s. I later did a college “sandwich course” in the secretarial and administrative fields and continued working in administration as: Copy or Audio Typist, Filing Clerk, Secretary/Personal Assistant in diverse organisations such as the Social Science Research council; Africa Journal Magazine Limited. I have always been active in the community where I lived doing voluntary work teaching at the local adult education centre and youth clubs.

Over the years, I’ve been involved in numerous major change movements, committees and groups which increased my awareness, knowledge and understanding of the lived experiences of black people in Britain and abroad. This included the Legion of Mary, the Scrap SUS Laws, the Walter Rodney Defence Campaign, Police and Criminal Evidence Campaigns. I was Secretary and Founder Member of the Dominica Development Association, London. I was Chairperson and joint -founder member of Afro-Caribbean Students Association which was instrumental in developing the Caribbean Studies Course at Bradford College; I was also a member of the New Cross Massacre Committee in Bradford. My first paid youth and community work job was in Cheetham Hill, North Manchester, as a Neighbourhood Worker in Community Education at North Manchester College, which was based at the Abraham Moss Centre.

There were certain areas which crossed over within the educational remit and I continued

doing voluntary work within the community such as becoming a committee member of the Access Course Manchester; Black Women in Local Authority; Black Women in Education and Training; a co-founder and member of Sojourners Black Women’s Refuge; Anti-Deportation Campaigns and took lead in the Manda Kunda Defence Campaign.

I eventually had to retired on grounds of ill health. This experience took me to another

level of consciousness. Recapturing and consolidating my spiritual and creative abilities

in poetry and prose as it was noted “a word smith”, as well as other handicrafts. I later became a Trustee and Service User Representative - African and Caribbean Mental Health Services. During my tenure with ACHMS, Manchester Mental Health were “re-engineering”, and this role enabled me to address crucial and fundamental issues in the field which impacted black people and black women in particular, locally and nationally.


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