Promoting change after the blackout

Recent events made me stop and assess how I feel about racisim particulary towards people who are Black and how important is it to make a difference to future generations. I’ve worried about wanting to support Black Lives Matter and also wanted to respectfully keep quiet to let black men and women be heard. I’ve reflected on what I’ve done in the past, looked at my instgram posts to see if diversity has been mentioned, which I pleased to say it has on occasion through out my feed. I’ve spoken about diversity in my professional life in advertising and marketing however, I’ve started wanting to do more but struggled to think of what I can do.

It was good to stop and reflect on the racism that I’d experienced in the past but also realise that it was in past and I couldn’t recall any overtly racisit things that had happened to me recently.. That’s not the case for the Black community within the UK and USA. It’s an every day occurance. I want to act, to do something that may bring about change.

After trying to decide what to do. I wrote down a few things that I can do better in my own home. Educate my myslef and my children better, add some more books with positive Black figures into our collection and follow some more Black men and women on my social channels. The big one was to listen more and keep learning. Something was telling me that I needed to go a little further and be a better advocate.

Next and I discussed this one with my husband since he is good at bringing a sense of balance into things and provide a good alternative perspective. I decided I wanted to speak to the primary school my eldest son will be attending in September, but I was a little nervous and maybe even scared to contact them. I didn’t want to get labelled as a difficult or pushy parent or be seen to criticise them, my son hasn’t even started school yet!

All the parents with children starting in school in September had been asigned a one of the governors as a contact. We had already done a couple of Zoom calls and she had been very open to hearing from us if we had any concerns or questions. She had said quite rightly, that when your child starts school, it can actually bring up a lot of the parents own anxieties from when they were at school. This was true for me, since the school playground was where I first experienced racism.

I decided to email her and ask if the school has a policy on diversity. I’d added that I’d been moved to ask because of recent events and that having a son of mixed race, it was important to me. I clicked send and waited. For me this is doing a small thing but it hopefully it will have an impact. I hadn’t felt entirely comfortable but that meant it was the right thing to do.

It didn’t take that long to get a reply. The governor emailed me back and was extremely supportive and positive. I was told there was a governors meeting on the 15th June and diversity was already on the agenda. She would like to speak to me before then if possible to get my perspective and concerns from a parent perspective and how we have addressed differences in our home. She went on to say the primary school had policies on Diversity, Equality, Gender, Values and Race and she is keen to take on diversity as a special interest as a governor. I’m keen to find out how the this will translate into what is taught in the school and how parents and children are supported. I will report back but being asked for input IS positive. I’m glad I asked and I guess the advocacy starts here.

Nicola first day at school
My first day at school, I was aged 5 when I first experienced racism in the playground
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