Ratna Lachman had a sharp eye for how power moved, how it could be there poised, this way or that. She had an even sharper eye for how complicity always seals authority. She would have been a delight in the Bradford 12 trial press box, eyes pressed close to how the state constructs a case to put 12 Bradford people away for thirty years even when the same state knows these same people are innocent, how the state, found out, rumbled, stripped, revealed, has to then construct another face to the world. After the acquittal she would have loved it, even more, the jury sitting in the Town & Tavern with the defendants, the activists, the lawyers, the young white juror, flanked by older men and women, saying to the room, ”This is the best day of my life. Justice.’
In the continuous dialogue that she had with the world, the world stood poised waiting upon her, in that young juror’s best day the carpet is thrown, unrolled. She took the stage, rose to the word.
I first knew Ratna when she training around the country with the British Institute of Human Rights. A real trooper, campaigner and activist for civil liberties, Ratna was a crowd puller. She had a knack for identifying natural leaders and campaigners and bring them to the spaces that matter. I remember the difficult discussions and the laughs when we challenged misogyny as a trio during power analysis workshops. She was ready to help and I remember that when I had organised a small session with MP Yvette Cooper and had a crisis that required me to travel….she seamlessly stepped in and did a thorough job. It is a real privilege and honour to have had the opportunity to rub shoulders with Ratna.
She was a strong voice for West Yorkshire and a fearless campaigner who refused to take any nonsense – particularly from the male Pakistani politicians in Bradford.
Helen Pidd – Guardian
We are so sorry to hear this dreadful news. Ratna was a wonderful and vibrant fighter for human rights and anti-racism. We send our thoughts and our condolences to all her family and friends at JUST and far beyond. She will be hugely missed and impossible to replace.
Andy Gregg – ROTA
Really sad to hear of dear Ratna’s passing away. Humanity has lost its one and only devoted disciple.
May Ratna live in our thoughts and memory forever and ever and may her legacy live on to progress and achieve what Ratna set about to achieve.
May the Almighty envelop her in His infinite love and his Mercy and bless her immediate family and all those colleagues at Just Yorkshire with strength and resolve to carry on with equal vigour and commitment to serve humanity as Ratna herself would have done.
My sincere condolences to you all at Just Yorkshire and my thoughts are today with her family.
Ratna darling you will be dearly missed,
I’m writing to extend my personal condolences to the sad loss of Ratna Lachman. Although I did not know personally, as someone who has previously worked in the equality field I can appreciate her fortitude and her willingness to speak out for those who did not have a voice.
David Reid – SEN Casework Officer
I never met her personally, but knew her through her writings and through the work of JUST Yorkshire. I had great respect for her. My sympathy and condolences to her colleagues and friends, and my warm good wishes for the future of JUST Yorkshire.
I’m deeply saddened to hear this news of Ratna, my condolences to all colleagues and family.
Jill Mann – Together for Peace (T4P)
I was deeply saddened to learn of the loss of my dear friend and colleague Ratna.
Ratna was a formidable and fearless feminist, a civil/human rights activist who has made a significant contribution to improving the lives of the most disadvantaged people in Yorkshire and beyond. Please accept our deepest sympathies, our thoughts and prayers are with you all during this difficult time.
Yasmin Khan – Staying Put
Ratna was beautiful and strong and brave and kind and thoughtful and dynamic and wise. She was always ready to learn, always ready to help others to learn.
She inspired very many of us with her passionate determination to secure human rights and justice for all and her undiminished commitment to expose and challenge racism in all its forms.
She leaves us grateful to have known her and with a legacy of unfinished work to bring about the changes she worked so hard to achieve.
My deepest condolences to the organisation and the community – JUST. Deepest sympathies to members of the family in Uk and here, in Singapore.
Ms Ratna Lachlan was a wonderful host of a television Programme called Feedback, in Singapore. We were probing and great at synthesis on the news and viewpoints.
I am very happy for her that she managed to do so much in her new homeland and stayed true to fighting for the cause there and the equality of communities.
Saying thank you and May she rest in peace.
Ms Braema Mathi – MARUAH – A human rights group in Singapore
On the behalf of everybody at Migrant Support; volunteers, teachers, staff and beneficiaries we would like to extend our most deepest condolences for our dearest friend and inspiration lady Ratna Lachman, to her family and closest friends. She will be very missed but her passion and determination to make the world a better and an equal place for all, inspired many people and it will remain.
From the bottom of our hearts, thinking of you all.
Sandra Penaloza-Rice – MSM
I am so saddened to hear of the death of Ratna Lachman. Ratna will be remembered for her indomitable spirit and anti-racist activism. Although we did not always see eye to eye, I will never forget her commitment to providing spaces for difficult conversations. She once invited me to speak at a public meeting in Bradford on the War on Terror and counter-terrorism. I was the only female speaker on a platform that consisted of several male speakers who represented either the government’s security services or anti-racist activists. Yet I was given the space to talk about the need to counter simultaneously state anti-civil liberties measures and the problematic use of a religious fundamentalist framework to mount so called anti-racist resistance. I referred to the specific implications of this for anti-racism, women’s rights and human rights. My speech did not go down well with a largely hostile audience of mainly Muslim men. Nevertheless, I will always be grateful to Ratna for her bravery in trying to include our voice.
On behalf of SBS, we send our deepest condolences to her family, friends and colleagues.
Pragna Patel – Southall Black Sisters
I am deeply saddened to hear about the loss of Ratna. She was an amazing women and a real advocate and champion for our communities in many ways.
Ratna will be missed by many.
I worked with Ratna for many years, particularly in trying to build an anti-racist organisation in North Yorkshire and in many other ways. She was a tireless, devoted, kind and forthright campaigner, never afraid to speak truth to power and a source of great strength to me and, I am sure, to many others. I am very deeply saddened by such an early loss of such a true advocate of social justice. I am sending Neil and the kids love and strength in coming to terms with their huge loss.
I am devastated to hear this news! As I am out of the country, I had no idea things were this serious.
This is an immeasurable loss for JUST and an unbearable loss for me.
Dr Asher Sefanit-Wudasee
Just Previous Chairperson
“Might Cannot Defeat Right”
I didn’t know Ratna personally, but she sounds like someone we owe a great debt to.
I found the ‘Just’ communications and emails very useful for my activism and for that I am grateful.
My condolences to her family at this very sad time.
Extremely sad news about Ratna. A rare person, of real integrity, with a driving passion for social justice. I worked with Ratna a number of times over the years on different projects and was always massively impressed by her energy, her intelligence and her fundamental decency. The world will be a noticeably less just place with her passing.
Sincerest condolences to all of Ratna’s family, friends and loved ones.
Please pass on our deepest condolences to all surviving members of Ratna’s family. Through the Barrow Cadbury Trust I got to know Ratna and came to admire her passion for what she did and the love for her community. I also realised that nothing was going to dampen her passion for equality whether she received funding to carry on the work or not. I know that she will be missed at JUST.
Centre for Equality & Diversity
Sad news and a great loss not only to the JUST family and her friends and loved ones but to humanity. Ratna has left deep footprints in the sands of time that we can all follow.
Love and peace.
We at IRR are extremely sad to learn that Ratna Lachman has passed away and send our condolences to Just Yorkshire, to her friends and to her family.
Long before Ratna joined Just Yorkshire (known then as Just West Yorkshire), we knew of her pioneering work, campaigning in the South West of England with the Monitoring Project on issues of rural racism. Since then, our respect for Ratna grew and grew. At Just Yorkshire, she constantly strove to bring all groups fighting racism together, to strengthen the national movement and give a voice to the voiceless.
Ratna had true grit – and will be sorely missed.
Liz Fekete – Institute of Race Relations
Thoughts and sympathy are with Ratna’s family and colleagues at JUST. Ratna is one of them people that are irreplaceable in the fight for equal rights and Justice. West Yorkshire will miss her outspoken position on the subject. We shared a vision of fairness along with the Late Carl Hylton that might not be ever equalled in West Yorkshire but in her name the fight goes on. I want to take time to thank Ratna’s family for giving her the time away from them over the years knowing it was for the right reasons. We all have benefited from Ratna’s work and leadership at JUST West Yorkshire. As the Late Bob Marley would say “many good friend’s we have lost along the way” it has been a honour to work and spend time with Ratna.
RIP Ratna, your time was not wasted, we continue to fight the good fight. Respect and Love to Ratna’s family from all here in Leeds.
Claude Hendrickson – LWICCT
I can’t quite recall the first time I met Ratna Lachman. I think it was at a European Network Against Racism (ENAR) meeting in Brussels three years ago. For both of us it was our first time at this Europe-wide NGO gathering. What I can very vividly recall is the impression she left on me then and subsequently.
As I had a background in diplomacy, where there are many eloquent people (although most lack the conviction to say anything other than what Ministers want), I was immediately struck by someone so eloquent, so convincing in argument yet so morally right. Ratna became my role model, although I never told her that. Maybe I should have. Ratna was a true fighter, who would stand up for racial or religious injustice. Regardless of herself and any trouble that position may cause her and her family in the future.
Ratna joined UKREN’s Steering Committee and, when UKREN gained charitable status, one of the founding Trustees. She was a significant contributor to ENAR’s work too.
Just before the EU referendum we (UKREN and Ratna’s organisation JUST) held a debate about EU membership and what that means to ethnic minorities and faith groups, in Leeds. As with anything Ratna and JUST organised it was both well attended, enlightened people with different perspectives and allowed a space for people from ethnic minorities and faith groups to discuss issues that on the whole had not been about them. And the BBC came along and filmed it. Ratna had invited my wife and little boy to come too, and stay the night with her family. That is the kind person she was. And such a lovely family she had too. After the evening event we ate pizza and talked about everything, including the cancer that was eating into her life.
Ratna sadly passed away on 23 July. It is terribly, terribly sad when someone you know and admire is taken away early. However I think Ratna would like to be remembered for what she did. Eloquently explaining the negative effects of a government policy to create a ‘hostile environment for migrants’. Showing the massive shortfalls in the government’s PREVENT counter-terrorism programme that tarred every Muslim as a potential supporter of terrorism. Fighting institutional racism wherever it occurred.
Ratna. My hero. RIP.
Alan Anstead, Co-ordinator UKREN
“The tribute by the Board and Chair of Just Yorkshire fittingly captures Ratna’s immense contribution to equality, race equality and human rights. I shall greatly miss her presence, commitment and expert contribution around the table. Ratna was direct, plain speaking and always focused on practical solutions. We have lost a great champion for racial justice in the UK.”
Jeremy Crook OBE – BTEG
I heard the news of Ratna’s passing this morning. I worked with Ratna when Just was established in 2008 and not only was she a wonderful teacher but became a true friend and mentor. Ratna was steadfast in her beliefs and never compromised. Her lovely smile and warm laugh filled our office. I will miss her like a daughter. Condolences to the family and the Just community
I am so sorry to hear of Ratna’s passing. She was a determined campaigner and a voice for social change in communities. She will be missed.
Fiyaz Mughal OBE FCMI
I had never met her but always kept a close eye on Ratna’s work from afar. She was just such a brilliant civil rights champion. I feel a real sense of loss even though I hadn’t met her.
Solat Chaudhry – National Centre for Diversity
We are so sorry for your loss. Ratna was the angel on earth. She has been called back by her Creator. She will never be forgotten. Even at the height of our adversarial relationship, there was great respect for Ratna and what she and we stood for – Justice for all!! Our prayers are with the family and all colleagues at Just Yorkshire. God bless.
From all at BHCA, staff, volunteers, Board members and Jed
Everyone from the team at Sunrise Radio expresses their deepest sympathies and condolences to the family and friends of the inspirational Ratna. The world is a better place for all that she has done. She will be sorely missed by us all.
I am so saddened to hear of Ratna’s passing. She was a force to be reckoned with and brought formidable passion, vision and resilience to the fight for racial justice in West Yorkshire. With peace and best wishes to her family and close ones.
So sad to hear this news .. condolences to family and friends, praise and thanks for the life and work of this amazing woman … Plymouth is a better place for her time here….
Deepest sympathy and condolences to Ratna’s loved ones, family and friends. Will always treasure her compassion, empathy and kindness. God Bless and RIP.
Ratna it was a privilege to know you and to work alongside you. You were an inspirational woman who I will always admire.
So sad to hear the news that Ratna has passed, she was a true and passionate believer in justice…really lost for words. She was very supportive of the work of the National Black Police Association (NBPA) over the years, helped us to develop and taught us how to challenge injustices within our profession
Ratna will be greatly missed 🙏🏾
I am deeply sorry to hear of Ratna’s passing. She and I attended a seminar together in Brussels a couple of years ago and she invited me to contribute a thought-piece to the JUST West Yorkshire’s weekly newsletter some time ago. Not soon after, she wrote to tell me she was due to undergo treatment for breast cancer. I am saddened to learn of her demise.
Ratna was an amazing human being; she had an innate ability to speak truth to power and be steadfast in her struggle against discrimination, human rights violations and cultural prejudice. She had a gift for communication and was exemplary in her willingness to reach out to people from diverse backgrounds. She will be desperately missed.
My deepest condolences to her family and to all of you at JWY. You have lost a brilliant star and we have lost a dedicated, inspirational mentor.
We, at the Third Sector Research Centre (University of Birmingham) were deeply saddened to hear the news about Ratna. She was a force of nature who fought for equality and social justice often against seemingly overwhelming odds. Her voice and presence will be missed but her inspiration will live on.
Angus McCabe and Phil Ware
I am deeply shocked by the tragic loss of a friend, please convey my deepest sympathy to her family. Ratna will be sadly missed. I still cannot believe that she will not be with us. Ratna will be missed especially by people who relied on her to challenge all forms of injustice and discrimination. JUST West Yorkshire will never be the same without Ratna.
I was extremely sorry to hear about Ratna passing away and I know she will be sorely missed by you and your colleagues at JUST Yorkshire. Please accept my condolences and thoughts from myself and everyone at the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.
With Best Wishes
Mark Burns-Williamson OBE
So sad to hear of Ratna’s passing – please pass on the JENGbA families condolences to her family.
Gloria Morrison – Campaigner Co-ordinator JENGbA – Joint Enterprise Not Guilty By Association
Ratna was my friend and mentor. She was my cheerleader and my hero. She entered my life at a time when many were criticising my actions. She became a precious companion. She understood me in a way few others have. We connected on our shared principles but also through our love of journalism and our desire to see it diversified. Many know her for her brave and stalwart commitment to civil and equal rights. I respected that side of her. But I will remember her for her late night phone calls laughing and venting the day gone by. I cannot bring myself to delete her from my favourites on my call list. So there she will stay. I will miss her warm bear hugs. Her advise and her criticism. She was honest and i valued her judgement because I always knew she saw what was best in people. She was larger then life. Brave, fearless, fun and eyes sparkling with mischief.
I will miss her so very much.
I first knew Ratna when she training around the country with the British Institute of Human Rights. A real trooper, campaigner and activist for civil liberties, Ratna is (was) a crowd puller. She has (had) a knack of identifying natural leaders and campaigners and bring them to the spaces that matter. I remember the difficult discussions and the laughs when we challenged misogyny as a trio during power analysis workshops. She was ready to help and i remember that when i had organised a small session with MP Yvette Cooper and had a crisis that required me to travel….she seamlessly stepped in and did a thorough job. It is a a real priviledge and honour to have had the opportunity to rub shoulders with Ratna.
Very very sad news: No amount of words I could ever write could pay enough tribute to one of the greatest women I’ve ever known and worked with (in Plymouth) – a very special kind of human being. Down here in England’s “Deep South” she stamped on hostile ground that many feared to tread – built and lit the beacons of hope in the dark and ugly shadows of racial injustice – helped people and communities off their knees, to walk as giants – and unlocked the voices of the unheard. Goodbye Ratna – rest forever in peace xxx
This is tragic news. Ratna was an important voice in our communities who worked tirelessly not just for equality but for justice. Knew her through V4CE but she also followed the Justice4Paps campaign and other death in custody and police brutality cases that I support and was keen on how we were shining the light on South Asian/Muslim deaths. Spoke to her earlier this year about the Yassar Yaqub shooting but hadn’t realised that she was so ill. Thoughts and duas to all her family and friends at this sad time.
On behalf of Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (BARAC) UK, I send sincere condolences to Ratna’s family and loved ones. This sad news has come as a great shock and losing Ratna is a great loss to our movement. We worked with Ratna on various campaigns and always valued her input and contribution and strong stance against injustice and discrimination. May Ratna’s legacy live on in all of us. Rest in Freedom Ratna.