Introducing Virginie Assal

Allow me to introduce myself – My name is Vi (she/they), and I joined The Brunswick Centre’s board of trustees a few months ago, in March 2023. With a background in campaigning for equality in the charity sector, and a strong drive to create positive change, I hope to bring empathy and expertise to the team.

As a Black, Queer, Neurodivergent, and Disabled person, my journey has been shaped by my experiences. Originally from the outskirt of Paris, in France, where, as a junior Councillor, I took part in the design of the city's sexual health strategy for young people. A few years later, I moved to the UK, and have since worked with various charities, including the LGBT Foundation and the National Union of Students, as a community organiser and campaigner for equality. Currently, I am the Operations Manager for the Racial Justice Network, where I support an incredible team of passionate individuals, committed to ending racism in West Yorkshire, the UK, and globally.

My desire to campaign to end systemic oppression started at a young age when I noticed the difference between the communist working-class town where I grew up, where everyone was welcome to be themselves, and everyone was looked after by the community, and the experiences of minoritised people in other parts of the country and Europe.

Joining the board of The Brunswick Centre was a natural choice for me. I was deeply moved by the incredible work carried out by the staff and volunteers of the organisation. The mission to empower individuals from our communities, fostering informed choices, healthier relationships, and lives free of stigma, also truly resonates with me.

One aspect of The Brunswick Centre that particularly echoes my values is the unwavering commitment to social justice. The way social justice is not an afterthought, but is present in every aspect of the operations. This should be a model for the rest of the charity sector to follow.

While I am still in the learning stages of my role as a trustee, I am eager to immerse myself in the work of The Brunswick Centre. I've already begun learning about the organisation's initiatives and projects, and I am excited about shadowing and learning from our incredible team throughout the summer. Additionally, I cannot wait to actively participate in the equality and diversity workstream, leveraging my expertise to support the organisation’s goals.

In conclusion, I am honoured to be one of The Brunswick Centre’s new trustees, working alongside such a dedicated team. I hope my background and experience can bring a unique perspective to the board, and that together we can pursue the organisation’s mission to advocate for social justice and inclusion. I am committed to making a lasting impact, and I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the organisation's journey towards a brighter future for our communities.