Linda Bellos OBE
(b. 1950) is a British black
activist and former London
Bellos was born to a Jewish
mother and a Nigerian
born father, and raised in Brixton
. She married in 1970 and gave birth to two children, in 1974 and 1976, but "came out" in 1980. Her marriage ended in divorce in 1983. She is now a grandmother
On 21 December 2005, she and her partner, Caroline Jones, were among the first couples to sign a Civil partnership in the UK. The ceremony took place among family and friends at Southwark Registry Office.
Bellos was the first mixed-race
woman to join the Spare Rib
feminist collective in 1981.
She was vice-chair of the successful Black Section campaign to select African Caribbean and Asian parliamentary and local candidates within the Labour Party
In 1985 Bellos was elected as a Labour councillor to Lambeth Council and became leader of the council between 1986 and 1988. She was the second black woman to become leader of a British local authority, after Merle Amory in the northwest London borough of Brent. Bellos resigned as leader on 21 April 1988 after disputes within the Labour Party over the setting of the Council budget, and losing support among black people in Lambeth. She was a prominent figure in left-wing politics in London in the 1980s and was labelled by The Sun as a member of the 'Loony Left'. Bellos attempted to become a parliamentary candidate, without success, most notably for Vauxhall.
Bellos is the treasurer of the Africa Reparations Movement (UK) She was co-chair of the Southwark LGBT Network until February 2007 and an adviser to Southwark Council and the Metropolitan Police. She is the Chair of the Southwark Action for Voluntary Organisations (SAVO). She is a patron of Cooltan Arts
She has accomplished many firsts in her fight for equality, notably originating Black History Month
in the UK, while chair of the London Strategic Policy Unit.
Bellos works on mainstreaming equality and diversity within the British Army and the Metropolitan Police Service. She is an Independent Advisor to the Metropolitan Police, the Crown Prosecution Service, and the Association of Chief Police Officers, and acts in a scrutiny role on equality and diversity issues for a number of public bodies.
Bellos now runs her own consultancy, Diversity Solutions LTD
, together with her partner, Caroline Jones, providing solutions to improve equality and diversity outcomes within the commercial, public and voluntary sectors.
They recently joined designers Tony Malone
and John Marsh
to create the venture Design for Diversity
On 9 December 2002
, she was presented (together with Stephen Bourne) with the Metropolitan Police
Volunteer Awards "in recognition of outstanding contribution in supporting the local community."
In 2006, she was awarded an OBE in the Queen's New Years Honours for services to diversity. She was reticent to receive the award, due to its name's associations with colonialism, but was encouraged to accept it by her family
Radio, TV, and writing
Bellos is a regular guest contributor to radio and television programmes.
As an author, she has contributed to a number of anthologies, including IC3, the Penguin Book of New Black Writing in Britain, ISBN 0-14-028733-7.
- Profile on YouTube
- Profile on SAVO website
- Call for action on diversity BBC News - 4 June, 2001 (scroll down to bottom of page)
- Crucial lessons on race and policing BBC News - 3 August 2005
- Report of the 11th NUT Pride in Eductaion Conference (word) 19 November 2005
- Lib Dems let down LGBT community in model 'gay friendly' council Green Party LGBT News, 8 February 2007
- Whatever happened to feminism's extreme sects? The Independent, 12 February 2006
- 'Yes, we were bloody angry', The Guardian - 15 February 2006
- Video clip from Lefties - Angry Wimmin BBC Four, 17 May 2006
- OBE to fighter for equality - The Guardian, 30 December 2006
- Best of Times, Worst of Times: Linda Bellos - interview by Katharine Hibbert, Times Online, 25 February 2007