Resilience Through Testing Times

Sometimes we don’t know our own strength, until circumstances force us to be strong.

Source: Resilience Through Testing Times

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Resilience Through Testing Times

How resilient are you? – Sometimes resilience is the only choice we have.

I often sit back and reflect on both my teenage years and early adult hood. The time I wasted, missed opportunities and frivolous spending.

I coasted through life, with no sense of direction, depending heavily on my Mum. But in July 2010 my life changed forever! when my Mum passed away, I was 20 and my sister was 10. At these tender ages were hit with a pain that resides in our heart daily.

I became my sisters guardian and head of the household. The responsibility was overwhelming! I went from a 20 year old with not a care in the world, to a 20 year old with the world pressing down on her shoulders.

My zest for life was snatched from me. The woman I would always turn to for guidance, and protection, my confidant was gone. My Mum the person who loved me more than anyone else ever will.

The sense of despair I felt is unexplainable.

I would often lay in bed for hours, not wanting to accept the responsibility, still longing for my Mum. Having no sense of direction before my Mum passed away was inexcusable. But after she passed away that lack of direction became ten fold.

There were some days I had the mental strength to deal with household things,  but other days I just didn’t want to know.

Year after year I became less constructive, securing the odd job here and there, but never on a long term basis.

In 2013 I got a job in a phone shop which was going fairly well, but the company went into liquidation. So I found myself unemployed, yet another challenge,  coupled with the never ending mourning for my Mum. I began to drift again.

Feeling like I wasn’t setting the right example to my sister, and wondering what my Mum would think of her daughter wasting her life away, especially when she worked so tirelessly to for us to have a brighter future. The burden became heavier.

Then in 2014 I had an impromptu visit from my family this taught me two things 1) always hide your mail and 2) keep your room meticulous as you never know who will turn up on your doorstep unannounced.

But above all this visit was a big wake up call, they said what I already knew. I was 24 and going nowhere fast, my future seemed bleak if I was to continue with this lackadaisical mentality. For the very first time I felt compelled to take ownership of my future.

Which I did, applying for over 200 hundred jobs online, but to no avail no feedback nothing. But with this new sense of determination I wasn’t going to stop.

There were the odd days when I used to sit at home and do nothing, frustrated with the lack of success I was having. But most days nothing could stop me, and of course no hardship lasts forever.

So fast forward to 2015, and I have made significant progress. After volunteering for a little over a year with a wonderful women’s charity, who advocate for disadvantaged young women. A position came up and I’m now an employee.

I was also selected onto a Leadership Programme in my local area, which aims to address the under representation of BME’s in Civic life. I have written blogs, given speeches sharing my story hoping to inspire others, and more! And of course now I have launched my own blog. (Finally)

Despite all the hardships I have faced and the lack of direction I had for myself. I have taught myself how to be resilient, in every situation. I will never stop grieving for my Mum.

But I know I owe it to my Mum to make sure I excel because I cannot let her sacrifice go in vain. She made it her lives work as a Mother, to provide both me and my sister with everything we need so we can achieve the life we want, and the life she wanted for us.

I will end by saying “no matter how hopeless the situation may look, keep going allow yourself to wallow briefly but remain resilient! Be sure to acknowledge your progression in life no matter how big or small. I was a slow starter but slow and steady wins the race.”

Generation Y – High aspirations, but wrong timing?

Born in the early 80’s or late 90’s ? (I was, 80’s baby hayyyy). Although we can boast that we are born in the 80’s or 90’s, it is thought that our generation (Generation Y). Is the first generation in modern times, who are likely to be less prosperous than our parents.

With higher competition for jobs, lack of job security, and a higher cost of living. The current climate is a challenging one, and many would say our generation is at a disadvantage.

With high aspirations but with an ever changing economy around us, our aspirations become much harder to reach.

A survey, commission by The Association of Accounting Technicians, asked 2,000 respondents. (both parents of young people and young people themselves) about teenagers finances and careers.

The study found that:

46% of young people want to stop relying on parents financially by 20-23.

Thirty-five per cent want to be financially independent between 24-27.

2 fifths want to earn £30,000 or more (annually) by the time they are 25 (so I’ve failed miserably)

The Office for National Statistics found, that in 2013,  approximately 3.3 million (26%) of 20 to 34-year-olds were still living at home. Not surprising considering property’s Across England, have increased 48 times since 1969, from £4,136 to £198,039 (Office for National Statistics).

We are all striving for betterment, we long for that flat or that house, or to start that career that will lead to becoming finically independent. But we are not being met half way, society is already telling us, that we are at a greater disadvantage than our parents.

When in theory you would think, that we would be twice as prosperous as our parents, with more opportunity, more jobs and beter prospects on a whole.

But all these factors means that our generation will have to work longer and harder to achieve what we want. The Government is telling me that my longing to become totally independent, is further on the horizon.

But it’s there, I can see it.

Part of ‘Generation Y’? Do you feel we are at a disadvantage?

What it means to be Black in Britain

It means:

• Being three times more likely to be tasered by Police
• 50% more likely to be detained under the mental health act
• 28% more likely to be stopped and searched by Police

This is the harsh reality of being black in Britain and it’s easy, to want to shy away from these shocking statistics. Although I knew that we are still heavily discriminated against and are still viewed as the inferior race.

I don’t think I fully comprehended, the true severity of the situation until a few weeks ago, when I came face to face with what it truly means to be black in Britain.

On the 3rd October 2015 I attended an event in Brixton, which commemorated the 30th year that Cherry Groce was wrongfully shot by the Metropolitan Police in 1985. Police raided Cherry’s home claiming they were looking for her son, the shooting left Miss Groce paralysed for the next 30 years of her life.

In 2014 (29 years later) a jury found that there were eight failings by the Police. The inquest revealed that the Police should have never raided the property in the first place. Cherry Groce died in 2011, her death, linked to the gunshot wound she sustained in ‘85’.

After the inquest Bernard Hogan-Howe Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, apologised unreservedly to the family. For the irreparable damage caused, he vowed he would support the family in getting full acknowledgement for their suffering.

After extending his support to the family, then, and in the months that followed, Bernard Hogan-Howe’s lawyers informed the family in March this year, that he will no longer be engaging in any conversation with them, with no explanation.

Please sign this petition
https://www.change.org/p/sir-bernard-hogan-howe-30-years-on-and-still-no-justice-for-the-death-of-cherry-groce, to help the family meet their 25,000 signatures, so the commissioner and the Police have to accept accountability after 30 long years.

Being present at the commemoration event moved me in such a profound way, tears filled my eyes as I watched Cherry’s Granddaughter weep. I questioned how the Police could be granted the permission to carry out this act of brutality. In this case leaving 5 children (8 being the youngest) to physically care for their paralysed Mother.

I cannot even being to imagine the sense of pain and despair, witnessing this happening to your Mum the protector and provider. Yet this innocent family has been left to mourn and challenge the system at every turn, to hold those responsible accountable.

Although I felt sickened and deeply saddened by what the Police did. This event emphasised to me the solidarity we have as a community. As I heard of the initiatives and campaigns that started as a result. I felt uplifted and hopeful to see first hand, the unity and mental strength of those that were on the front line, working tirelessly to achieve equality and justice for Cherry Groce and for our community.

We could be perfect strangers yet bound by the colour of our skin, united in our mission in achieving justice and equality. I left that event feeling even more proud of being black and I made a promise to myself that I would be more active in my work, in trying to gain equality for my community.

Since, I have joined the London Campaign against Police and State Violence, who are working to hold the Police accountable for police brutality and murder.

Other cases I would like to raise awareness of are:

Cynthia Jarrett – died in 1985 when four Police officers unlawfully raided her home looking for what they claimed was stolen property but found none. Miss Jarrett suffered a heart attack whilst the raid took place,and died upon arrival at the hospital. The police stated ‘the raid had gone without incident’.

Joy Gardner – died 1993 after the police raided her home, wanting to deport her back to Jamaica. They restrained her with 13 foot tape of adhesive wrapped around her head, handcuffs, leather straps. She collapsed and suffered brain damage, she died after suffering a cardiac arrest four days later. Three officers stood trial for manslaughter but were found not guilty.

These are just a few cases of many, although two of the tragedies took place before I was born, the last I make reference to, happened in 1993 when I was only four. Oblivious to the injustices, and years later some of us are still oblivious to the suffering caused at the hands of the Police. These cases have been swept under the carpet so neatly, Police Officers who should have been held to account have been granted freedom, freedom which they so heartlessly took away from innocent victim’s such a Cherry Groce.

I now look at society differently, as that’s what it means to be black in Britain.