Monthly Archives: December 2014

Say Hello, Wave Goodbye-Part 1

As 2014 comes to an end, it’s about the time we all get a little bit reflective about what has passed.  The end of this year has certainly been a roller coaster for me and my family and I’ve been thinking about how to reflect that in what will be my final post for 2014.  The traditional way to review the year is unusually a ‘Top Ten..’ type list so I think I’ll stick with tradition and do the same (except as a ‘Top Five’!).

My Year In Review

Top 5  reasons to be cheerful

  • Our son starting school (and loving it!)

This is the year that our son, D, started school.  Those of you who are parents and have been through it will understand what a big deal this is.  The stress of looking at schools; the loooong wait to find out whether your child have been accepted into the school of your top choice; the anxiety of whether they will fit in and enjoy the new environment of ‘Big School’.  Fortunately D has taken to school like a duck to water and the settle in period passed with very little hiccup.  He was obviously ready for it and it is a joy to watch him run off in the mornings to play with his friends, to hear about the topics he’s learning and loving (space was hugely popular…) and to watch his progress as he reads books to us for his homework.  I am beyond happy that this has been a positive experience for him.

  • Taking my career to the next level

Last year, I took a year out to do some professional and personal development.  This was an amazing opportunity (and here I have to thank my magnificent husband for supporting me, financially AND emotionally on the journey!) which opened me up to a whole new network of people, range of experiences and opportunities.  This year has been about using that experience to create my ideal working life.  This has led to me negotiating a 3 day a week role in an organisation that reflects my values leaving me space to explore other areas on a freelance basis as well as more flexibility for me and my family.

This feels like an important step in my career which I have spent the last 2 years working towards.  Feeling very excited and just a little bit terrified!

  • Letting go of the things (and people) that no longer serve me

During my year out, I had access to a coach.  The ‘letting go of things that no longer serve you’ comes for a conversation I had with him very early into our coaching relationship.  This sentence has stuck with me and it often plays itself in my head when I am struggling wiht something that feels familiar or repetitive.  I have found it useful to challenge old, now defunct habits of mine as well as relationships that are no longer satisfactory or healthy.  Moving forward in this new phase of my life means redefining the terms of engagement.   A certain amount of acceptance is needed to really let go and, I can admit, this has not always come easily.  It’s definitely a work in progress but I find myself with more courage to take those steps and make those decisions.

  • Deepening bonds in new relationships 

Over the past couple of days, so many of my conversations have included

“Can you imagine if we never met?!!”

I love these kind of conversations because they are usually an acknowledgement of new bonds and unexpected alliances. Some of that ‘letting go’ I just mentioned has also allowed me to nurture relationships with others that have been at the heart of how I have experienced 2014. It has been a year of true highs but also some personal lows (of which I am not sure I can share on such a public forum).  These friends have laughed with me, shared in my joys and successes as well as holding me in pain and disappointments.  Many lessons have been learnt in the process and I look forward to the adventures to come with these women.

  • Starting and maintaining this blog!

I like to think of myself as a bit of frustrated writer.  It took some courage and gentle nudging to start the blog.  I was concerned about who would read it; who might be offended; how I might come across; the impact on my professional life.  And actually, none of my original concerns have outweighed the sheer joy of having created a space for me to be creative, reactive, challenging, joyful, sad, angry; whatever.  Here I am, claiming my space.  It has been fun to nurture this blog, see its readership increase and move from having solely UK based readers to blog views from South Africa and Russia.  I have particularity enjoyed hosting a guest blog from my fabulous Ghanaian Friend and we have many more collaborations to come, I’m sure. If you wanna see my blog in numbers, click here.

So, as I Say Hello to 2015 and Wave Goodbye to 2014, I have much to be thankful for and even more to look forward to.  Wishing all my lovely readers, inspirations and conspirators a very happy, healthy and wise 2015.  Catch up with me again in January 2015 for part 2 of this blog…..

See y’all on the other side.

Exasperation, Frustration, Exhaustion. #BlackLivesMatter

I’m supposed to be having a lie in this morning as my husband gets up with our son and gets ready for the school run.  I have had a horrid cold for the best part of November and I’m trying to rest up as we rapidly approach the festive season.

However, I can’t stay silent on this.  Last night as the UK was going to bed, the news that there would be no indictment for the police officer who performed a choke hold that killed Eric Garner. Another Black man killed by the police without consequence.  It has been barely a week since a jury made the same decision in relation to Mike Brown, a young man who was shot 12 times, 12 times, and killed by a policeman in Ferguson Missouri in August this year.  On the 22nd November 12 year old Tamir Rice was fatally shot in Cleveland.  And let us not forget the 2013 jury’s decision on Trayvon Martin’s death.

In each of these cases, the decision was taken that there would be no consequence for the white person who took the life of a black man.  No consequence at all.  In the case of Eric Garner, the whole thing was recorded.  A medical examiner gave a ruling of homicide.  The choke hold used is deemed illegal. Still, this made no difference.  So tell me, what’s it going to take?

As protests take place across the US, as anger and rage finds voice through social media, I am stunned at the lack of understanding of what these deaths truly signify.  For the past week, I have had many conversations on social media with people who seem to think that if you are involved in crime, if you resist arrest, well, this is just what happens.  I have given up on conversation threads where I have been explaining the significance of institutional and structural racism in these cases and I have been aggressively challenged.  The ignorance present in many of these challenges has been astounding.  One commentor pointed out that Mike Brown was a bully and a criminal, based on the footage of him in the store before he was killed. (I have deliberately used the Fox News edit here.  Interesting to listen to how this is reported and the language used).  ‘He was no angel’; another charge at Mike Brown.

“Well I suppose you think Mark Duggan was an upstanding citizen as well??” went another, referring to the fatal shooting of a UK mixed race man, which sparked riots across the country in August 2011.

What??  Are you serious?? How is this even an argument?  Why is it so hard for people to understand that these men were killed NOT because of criminality but because of a pre-existing bias which led to excessive force being used?  Why is so difficult to understand that, in all probability, if Trayvon, Mike, Eric, Tamir and Mark had been white, the outcomes would have been different?  Why is it not concerning that the white men who took these Black lives walk away free, to resume their own lives as if nothing ever happened?

I am almost lost for words.  America, you are lost.  What is it going to take for positive change?

This will not change until White America stand up with African-Americans to make a stand. To say ‘no more’.  I am heartened by a new Twitter campaign currently trending, in the wake of the Eric Garner verdict; #CrimingWhileWhite.

The campaign aims to shine a light on racial profiling.  Check it out and look closely at the people contributing.  They are overwhelmingly white.  That is so important.  For any real change to happen, White and Black America must stand together in solidarity.

However, it’s going to take more than a social media campaign; it’s going to take more than words from America’s 1st Black President, Barrack Obama.

Enough is enough.

#BlackLivesMatter #icantbreathe #ferguson #EricGarner #mikebrown

 

The Black Administration of White Interests

A truly powerful peice on the structural circumstances that have created and perpetuate race relations in the US.

Media Diversified

by Ronald A. Kuykendall

The commodification of black bodies, once big business during the slave trade, and the cruelty and brutality associated with that condition lingers on today in a modified but obvious form. No longer is it the white mob eager to seize a black body, string it up, mutilate it, and drag in through the streets as a token of white supremacy; that job now rests with law enforcement who maintain the prescribed racial boundaries and can shoot, mutilate, and abuse black bodies under the protection of white policemen, white prosecutors, and white juries in spite of the presence of black public officials. The history of law enforcement in the United States has denied African Americans due process and equal protection, and so the agents of law enforcement have little legitimacy among African Americans in general. In fact, there has been a long history, extending back to World…

View original post 2,469 more words