What it means to be Black in Britain

The South East London Blogger

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…

View original post 649 more words

Who am I? Why am I here?

cropped-cropped-cropped-cropped-cropped-fullsizerender112.jpg

The Girl Behind The Blogs

I’m Kerri 26 from a little but mighty borough called Lewisham (South East London). Similarly to other young women I have many dimensions to my life and my character. 

I’m a young (but not so young guardian) to my much younger sister who is still in her teens. A responsibility I could have never prepared myself for, after the passing of our beautiful, selfless, precious Mum passed away.

In many ways I’m still trying to find myself, and really trying to learn to be at peace. With the fact that I’m getting older day by day, (some people accept the ageing process with more ease not me). But I’m coming to realise that as we get older we learn more about the depths of our character.

Our strengths, weaknesses, our capabilities. That age gives us the grace to develop courage, through seeking and being blessed with new opportunities to achieve greater things with each year, and conquer new challenges which perhaps we would have shied away from in our younger years.

I view my blog as one of the positive things that has been created from the mere fact of getting older. As this is an exciting new venture, which takes courage and perseverance.

The main thing that makes me, me is my concern for society and the world in which we live. Especially in regards to the black community, young disadvantaged women, and young people. In particular those who have lost a parent/ become a guardian or carer.

My personal experiences and struggles I’ve endured is also what makes me Kerri. This is another reason that compelled me to start a blog. So often we sit in silence, mulling through our thoughts and sometimes, feeling our struggles are worse than everyone else’s. When sometimes what we need to do is express ourselves whether it be through the medium of writing, drawing, dancing.

Why Do I blog Publicly?

After writing numerous blogs for the women’s charity I work for (Young Women’s Trust). Two of my colleague’s praised my writing ability and encouraged me to start a personal blog. So it was time to shut the door on procrastination and take the plunge.

For me blogging is a way for us to share our stories and inspire others, especially if its a story you can draw parallel’s from. Sometimes we question how much personal information we should share. Especially publicly but just imagine, that one person can feel inspired or comforted, by your story. Then its worth sharing. Because all we have is our story, that’s what makes us US.

My main reason for blogging is to raise awareness, and inspire others.

What Are the Main Topics I Will Blog About?

  • personal life experiences
  • young disadvantaged women
  • black community
  • organisations doing meaningful work
  • stories covered in the media

Blogging Objectives for 2016 and beyond:

  • reach a wider audience (gain 500 followers in the year)
  • engage with more bloggers especially those from London
  • seek more like minded bloggers
  • build a loyal audience base
  • learn more about the blogging sphere
  • inform and highlight readers, about issue’s facing BME’s and young women
  • create a posting schedule and adhere to it
  • share the work of amazing organisations
  • take time to read other bloggers posts

I’m sure you all have goals for your blogs also, irrespective of if your new to blogging or, a seasoned pro. So here’s to the wordpress blogging community, and our own individual goals, wish you all the best in achieving what you set out to do in 2016.

From the South East London Blogger x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Year, New Beginnings – Lets ‘Work It Out’

FullSizeRender (2)

Its nearly that time of the year again, in a few weeks it will be 2016. Time to start finalising those new year resolutions (if of course you believe in the whole new years resolution thing).

Although I strongly believe that you don’t have to wait until the new year to take ownership of certain aspects of your life, and try and change something that your not happy with.

I do get slightly excited about what the new year might have in store all those new and exciting opportunities. Sometimes we look on the new year as starting afresh. We tell ourselves that we will do better, be better, having every intention to do just that.

But what happens when we set goals for ourselves and a month into the new year those goals for some of us, seem to fall by the waist side. We haven’t achieved what we set out to do, we slip into our old ways and nothing much changes. Does one carry on like that and wait for 2017 to start?

The point is, it is great to set new goals, and what better time than the new year? There is nothing wrong with wanting the upcoming year to exceed the previous one. But in order to try and stick to any goal we set ourselves no matter how big or small. We need to start gradually changing our mindset from now.

To just wake up on the 1st January 2016 and say right change starts today, is possible but, it’s harder if you prolong something. For example applying for a job, you don’t have to wait until January why not now? Maybe it should be called ‘end of year resolution’ instead.

Although I’ll be taking much of the old me into the new year. I have set myself what I feel are realistic goals. I haven’t even bothered adding ‘go to the gym’ because rightly or wrongly I’ve accepted that for me that just ain’t gonna happen, so I will continue to suck in my belly when needs be and focus on cutting out the junk food instead.

Tips for waving 2015 goodbye and embracing 2016

  • Acknowledge what you’ve achieved throughout 2015
  • Do that one thing that you have been longing to do
  • Find time for yourself and for others
  • Push that boldness even further by trying something new and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone (not too far of course)
  • Don’t forget to have some quality ‘me’ time even if its not as often as you’d like
  • Be selective in the things you devote your time to
  • Always give back when you can

Do you believe in making news year resolution? or do you think its a waste of time?

Continue reading

A Leaking Tap Evokes Deep Thoughts

‘Do what you can, With what you have,Where you are’. – Theodore Roosevelt 

When you live in a house, especially if you have lived there for a long time, it’s inevitable that things will get rusty around the edges and need some maintenance.

But sometimes things are beyond repair they just say enough is enough and breakdown. We all know this is frustrating, inconvenient and expensive. It’s goodbye to that new outfit you wanted, because the priority is to fix that inconsiderate thing that had the nerve to breakdown.  

Now a few weeks ago our tap started dripping although it was not ideal, it could have stayed like that for a few weeks longer. So although this tap had been dripping for quite sometime, the other night, my Dad had an epiphany and decided to try and repair this tap.

I figure he must have been really bored, they say God loves a tryer but believe me some people really should not try . They need to leave it to people who know what they are doing.

Because people like my dad should not attempt to fix these things, as it can be detrimental. So he tries to fix the tap, nearly resulting in a flood almost like the flood God sent, to wipe Mankind from the earth. But at least God warned his people because there was no warning in this household. 

Instead of making the situation better, he made it a whole lot worse! Long story short this incident really made me think about two things:

  1. The importance of choosing your life partner carefully, I believe a man should be a man in that, no he won’t know how to repair every single thing in the house but he should know the basics,  and at least and be willing to do what needs to be done without coercement.  

2) Why are we not taught the basics of home repairs while we are in a educational institution ? I felt really useless I didn’t know what to do, and when your unsure it means you have to pay someone who is sure. 

If we are fortunate enough to live in a house or own a house, things will go wrong and though there will be many things that we can’t repair. I think its important to know the little things; How to use a drill, change an electrical socket, wiring a plug those sorts of things.

Because we can’t always rely on people to do something for us. So why not learn ourselves? Save ourselves the expense and feel great about the fact that we done it ourself, not having to wait on anyone.

As a young women who is responsible for the household, if anything goes wrong its my responsibility to sort it. So I’m looking into a basic home repairs course (why is everything in this country so damn expensive). But if I do enrol, it will be worth it.  

In the end it turns out the tap needed a new washer something I wouldn’t have known because I have no clue about these things. My boyfriend was able to diagnose the problem (again chose your life partner carefully).

Thank God he was, otherwise God knows how much I would have had to pay for a plumber (give me a flat pack that needs assembling and I will assemble it.) But as far as plumbing is concerned I haven’t got a clue).  

This incident just really feel made me think deeply about the importance of us learning/teaching ourselves what we can. Some things will be out of our remit as we can’t be an expert in everything.

But this should not stop us empowering ourselves where we can, and you never know maybe you will be able to buy that outfit you had your eyes on instead of having to fork out to pay the repair man.

They Paved The Way For Us

This is a poem dedicated to all the Caribbean’s who paved the way for future generations like me. Being of Jamaican heritage my Grandparents like most others came to England to build a new life. I’m forever thankful to each and every one of them.

They volunteered in WW1 and WW2
Fighting for Britain still under Colonial rule
Volunteering to serve the ‘Motherland’
After the war was won some of them stayed
In Britain and some went back to the Caribbean

But the country needed rebuilding
After the war so this Mother
Beckoned her children to come back
From the land of Wood and Water
They made an 5,000 mile journey from Jamaica
Still under Colonial rule

In 1948 the SS Empire Windrush docked at the Tilbury gates
An alien land which they thought they knew
They learnt so much about Britain in school
But little did they know
That what they were taught was untrue

Streets dem paved with gold
That’s what they were taught in Jamaica
That’s what they were taught back home
But when dem reach its a different story
This motherland was not a glory

No warm embrace from this Mother to her children
But dem here now so wha dem ago do?
Better go look job ah factory
If dem will even accept you

What a wikid country though eeeee
Same one invite you
Same one who turn him back
With him Rivers of Blood speech
But Jamaicans are born resilient
Enoch Powell nuh ready fi dat

Refused housing so dem start a pardner
Enabling them to buy their first house
The jubilation they must have felt

The front room took on a new dimension
Paraffin heater Radiogram Jim reeves
In their front room they took pride

But for all their hard work
And sacrifice they still weren’t
Accepted no matter how hard dem try

Then dem bring in SUS laws
The right to stop and search
Tensions rising

The second generation said
Enough is enough
Discriminated against and
Tired of not feeling accepted
So riots erupt

Of course the media uses
This to their advantage
I’m third generation British born
Never even step foot in Jamaica
But I know one day I’ll reach for sure

This is just a little poem to
Remember those that paved the way
For themselves and for us
They encountered many barriers
But in Britain they made a life
67 later their presence is still alive

I will always remember and
I would urge you to remember too
Always spare a thought for the West Indians
That paved the way for me and for you
If they did it we can
Society hasn’t changed that much
Things may be a little more undercover
But the struggle is the same

Strive for better time to stop
Playing the blame game
Let’s build on the foundations they built
Its not easy I know
But with strength and determination
Our community will further prosper for sure

Can Women Have It All Without Sacrifice?

Home Vs Work

Home Vs Work

Work Vs Home

Work Vs Home

So, it’s day two of Naplobomo month and honouring my commitment to post a blog everyday. I decided to post about a subject matter that has been on my mind for quite some time now. A question that me and my best friend had a conversation about not too long ago.

Can women have it all without sacrifice? I personally think women can’t have it all without sacrifice, and I come to this conclusion after being a guardian for my sister for the last five years.

This has really made question can I have it all? when I say ‘all’ I mean having a career and children. I ask this because I find it increasingly challenging to prioritise both mine and my sisters wants and needs.

I haven’t completely learned how to be selfless like my Mum was, and maybe I wont fully learn how to be selfless until I’m a Mother myself.

But one thing I have learned since becoming a guardian is sacrifice – missing out on the things I want to do, in order to make my sister happy or to support her ambitions as a young person (most of the time).

But its inevitable that there is always a push and pull factor, although I want to do everything I can to ensure my sister is happy and fulfilled. I’m young and there are many things that I want to achieve.

But at the moment I’m not in a position to have it all. There are times when I have to silently forfeit attending events or doing things I want to do, in order to make sure I support my sister in what she wants to do. This is what it means to sacrifice, yourself for the ones you love.

There are times when I will attend a work event and finish really late, which means that I wont have seen my sister all day. Then comes the guilt, feeling that I put work before my sister.

Which poses the question again can women have everything without sacrificing anything? because I know that when I’m chasing my own dreams, I don’t get to devote time to my sister the way I should.

So how will I manage when I eventually hopefully have children and a career. I think about the women who have no support who have to earn and look after their children as well.

Will I choose to climb up the career ladder, putting the home second or will I sacrifice the career to be with my children as my Mum did? But surely something has got to give, or can you have both equally without sacrifice?

Is ‘Ageing’ The Dreaded Word?

Young At Heart

Super young, super carefree

Super young, super carefree

FullSizeRender

25 and getting older

Remember when you were 16 and you couldn’t wait to get older? no restrictions freedom at last. No more having to answer to Mum what a joy that would be when that day eventually arrives.

But what happens when you come of an age when you are free to do pretty much as you please? responsibility happens, pressure, expectations. You aspire for more for yourself and those around you expect more from you.

Although we all were told countless times enjoy our youth, our prime years. But did we really ever take heed to what we were being told? I can honestly say I don’t think I did, and I couldn’t have imagined the immense pressure that comes with getting older .

Even things like doing the monthly shopping, struggling with those countless 5 pence bags, wishing that I could go back to the days where I used to write a long list for my Mum, who would go out and do the shopping.

This may seem trivial when you think about all the trials and tribulations life throws at us. But there is something about getting older, which feels like you are expected to take the weight of the world on your shoulders do every little thing yourself.

People expect you to know what you want to do with the rest of your life, expect you to be in a relationship, to have a career, children.

We put endless pressure on ourselves, especially as women. Most of us wanting to have achieved everything in life by the time we hit 30. But recently I have had to change my mindset, who says that we need to be married and have children by 30? us or society or both?

I will be 26 in a few weeks time and in all honesty I haven’t achieved what I would have hoped to. I have none of the above and I realise that achieving all these things in the next four years is unlikely (not impossible but unlikely).

Now I’m not saying we should go through life aimlessly with no sense of direction or ambition. But is it right for us to assess how much we have accomplished in life on an age basis? If for whatever reason I’m not a mother by 30 does that mean that I have failed myself?

How often do you hear someone say ‘I want to be a millionaire by the time I’m ….? making their life’s work about achieving this one thing, but imagine the disappointment if you don’t achieve that. We overlook all the efforts we have put in, to even come close to our goals just because, we didn’t quite get there at the age we wanted to.

Getting older is a blessing and many get taken, before they get to fulfil their ability, to fulfil their dreams and enjoy the beauty that life has to offer.

There is no doubt that there are many great things that come with getting older, another day to laugh, to see your children grow, another day to feel inspired and to inspire others.

But ageing is also a time to be more strategic about what we want to achieve in this new milestone of our life.

So as I hang on (tightly) to my last few weeks of being 25. I feel it fitting to kick off my Nablopomo, reflecting on what what it means to get older. As my 26th birthday draws nearer I want to achieve even more, push myself to new heights. Bag that career, start saving for a flat, travel more, live more!

Is ‘ageing’ the dreaded word or do you love to celebrate another birthday?