Updated: Jun 5
Hi, my names Ryesha. I’m in my late 20’s, living in Greater Manchester UK. I’m a dog mum, a reader, a foodie and I love to travel. I have a teddy that I can’t sleep without, her name is flopsy. I’m a pretty average girl really, I do all the normal stuff. I sleep, I work, I make rubbish jokes. I love, laugh and I cry. However with all that in mind my every day experiences might be very different to yours, because of my race, because I’m also Black. Mixed race, Half Black Caribbean and half British Caucasian. I’m Very proud of both. I love and respect my black heritage with passion, I am also a patriot I love my country, this little green island with all its quirks, its beauty and it’s fervour.
However, as a Black British woman racism affects every moment of my life. It affects where I live and work, where I travel and socialise. It affects my relationships and friendships and just meeting people in general. This is why I decided to get involved with creating this platform with Sarah and Alicia. I want to break down the barriers that cause me and people like me to live under the constant shadow of racism.
The horrific murder of George Floyd has shoved racism back into the forefront of everyone’s minds as it has whenever we see the heartbreaking unjust violence towards Black people on our social media’s and tv screens. I live with that heartbreak everyday because for me, racism is always in my mind. The recent events have, for the first time in my life, brought me hope. Hope that this is the time where we begin to make changes to the systematic racism that happens on a daily basis around the world. I’m not sure if the change in tone around racism has been this profound before, maybe others have experienced this hope but in vain, and I was just too young, to naive to notice. The last time I remember feeling remotely like this was when Barak Obama was made president of the USA. Even here, at the other side of the Atlantic I remember being in secondary school, feeling closer than ever with the few other black students- with hope in my heart. Here was a man, a man who looks like he could be my uncle with his brown skin. The leader of the free world. It was mind blowing for me. The first person of colour I was aware of who was in a position of power!
So here we are, George Floyd has just been murdered, lots of people are talking about it, but where do we go next? For me the murder is an example of obvious (overt) racism. The problem for me is Covert racism and the area of grey it lives in. It is never a case of innocent and pure, persecuted people of colour verses white people intent on evil and malice. For me it’s about how the worlds relationship with race infects and distorts equal opportunity. This is where I want to make my contribution to change. For me Let’s Talk Racism is basically an open group chat. A place to get to know new people, hear their stories. A place to discuss the topic of racism, share information and education, and a place to break down barriers. A place to rid ourselves of the infection of racism once and for all. For me the #blacklivesmatter movement is important for this, but by that we do not mean only black lives matter. Of course All lives matter, that’s kind of the point, black lives matter less to the world at the moment and we need your help because black lives are in danger. And I don’t just mean we’re more likely to be shot by the police. Black lives matter lass in every institution that we depend on in our civilisation. An example of this is here in the UK, Black women are 5 times more likely to die during child birth than white women. Our mothers are more likely to die just bringing us into the world, 5 times more risk to something that should be the happiest day of a couples life. This is not down to genetics. It’s a social problem we need your help to fix.
My plan here is to minimise the divide between races, to help people understand each other’s points of view and life experiences. To share my learning curve of black history and current race issues. We all have the power to effect positive change. Now is the time to speak up and speak out. Here we can have those uncomfortable conversations about race, we can learn to be inclusive and unlearn old, bad habits. Now is the time to come together and build a better future as one.