The UK is NOT innocent, to know it is to feel it!
I am an African Caribbean descendant with my daddy being from a small, beautiful island in Grenada, called Carriacou. I am of dual heritage, so my mother was white and English. I was raised by my daddy alone, as a black woman and within a Caribbean home and culture in Huddersfield, which is in the north of the UK, West Yorkshire.
The horrifying murder of our brother George Floyd, in the USA erupted the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement once again, for many countries around the world.
From the 25th May 2020 life changed as I knew it, myself and my brother would talk for hours on end, most days if not everyday and we would be sickened by what is happening in the States and in the UK. Our Black African Caribbean people have struggled and continue to struggle in the UK and I know what my daddy had to live through when he came to the UK back in 1961. My daddy and others from many different Caribbean islands in that era were promised a good life when they boarded the boat to sail here, they were promised work and that they would feel at home in their ‘Mother Country’. This sadly was not the case, finding somewhere to live and being able to enter establishments was difficult and near impossible. They experienced racism and fights with the Teddy Boys, it was far from what was promised to our people before they boarded the boat for a better life in the UK.
So here we were in 2020, not being treated as one should be and I too have suffered racism from a young child until this present day, I had a deep feeling within my soul that I had to do something. I did not know what at the time, but I knew that I could no longer be silent and afraid to speak up, enough is enough.
One day while at home reading and educating myself, which I had done for many years, I thought to myself, what is it that we (Black people) want? Happiness and to live in harmony with one another, regardless of the colour of our skin and heritage, we should be living a much better life than this. I then opened my laptop and without thinking about it, I created a group on Facebook called, Pursuit of Happiness. Somewhere for our community to come together, to be able to share things and not be afraid to say how we feel, this was the reason for this space/group. I promised from this day forward that I would not be silent any longer.
The scale at which Pursuit of Happiness has evolved has been completely heart-warming, even though it is sad to realise the reality in which we are living, in the 21st century today.
I met my co-founding partner, Mark Morris, by sheer luck or you could call by faith, during my journey in talking with local community activists and groups. I emailed my local MP, David Lammy and other MPs in London. This email was to stress the importance of Black British History within schools and the current curriculum was not enough by far. Mark and I met due to our only local Black councillor, who I had included within my email to my local MP, she was kind enough to invite me along to local meetings that were happening at the time.
We discovered we are on the same page with what we aim to achieve for our Black community regarding black history education, healthcare, generation wealth and racial justice. From there we worked long hours and late nights, every day until we launched our Online Community Centre, Pursuit of Happiness CIC in early November 2020. We became registered as a Community Interest Company in October 2020 and it was an amazing feeling indeed, knowing that going forward everything we do and want to achieve is for the benefit of our Black African Caribbean community and indeed a better future for the generations that will follow us.