This interview was conducted by a fellow participant at the CIVICUS World Assembly, 18-21 June 2008, in Glasgow, Scotland.
Gale James is working for Shakti Women's Aid, a scotland based organization supporting women in the United Kingdom.
In September 1985, a small group of black women with the help and support of Edinburgh and Lothian Women’s Aid applied to then Edinburgh District Council for funding to set up a separate refuge for black women.
Shakti opened in 1986 to provide a service for Black/ Minority Ethnic women and their children, who are escaping from domestic abuse.
The name Shakti a Hindi word meaning ‘strength’ was decided by founding members as particularly symbolic of the group’s aim and objectives. Shakti is for all black women. The use of the term black is one of political choice. It indicates refusal to adopt divisive tactics in order to separate out different minority groups. Because in order for us to be women of strength, as our name suggests, we must have a united front so that no-one can divide and rule us.
The CIVICUS World Assembly is a forum for international civil society
representatives to get together, exchange ideas, experiences and build
strategies for a just world.