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Thanks for dropping by. I thought I would go against the grain when it comes to Blogs, but what the hell. I am by no means a writer, but I wanted to start documenting the journey of BVC and sharing news with you, and updates from a more personal perspective. So here we are.
For a number of reasons the past few months have been tricky, and a little bit slow in terms of work. I say tricky but what i mean is damn tough. What started out as something small, has turned into an absolute beast. Don't get me wrong, we love doing what we do, supporting members of the community, bringing challenge to those who aren’t quite getting it right and so much more. BUT I don’t think anyone quite anticipated the sheer volume of work required here in Cornwall. We have organisations, institutes, sectors, schools all wanting a slice of the pie when it comes to being better and doing better. This has become a little bit of a double edged sword, which needs to be weilded carefully to avoid hurting anyone, including me and us. For those reading this, and I know some will, just to find fault, and we all know who you are, please consider finding another Blog to troll.
For those reading this who are in the ‘Racism doesn’t exist here’ or ‘It’s not too bad’ camp, I hope you continue to visit our blogs and hopefully you might begin to understand that the reason we are here is because it does exist, and with regards to ‘how bad’, well, jury is still out. For those from the Black Community here in Cornwall who haven’t experienced racism, you are either incredibly fortunate or utterly blind to the reality that although you may not have experienced direct racism, the society you live in continues to oppress, violate and abuse people of colour, physically, emotionally and financially. We live in an area where the constant ‘othering’ is rife, where almost every other person is an emmet, but if you’re lucky and have lived here for 50 years you might be considered a semi-emmet. But that’s a good thing right? …insert sarcastic face here… To be clear I have no idea of the actual time frame or if this actually is a thing so spare me the facetious questions around factuality, I’m really not interested. What I do know is that I have experienced the above, and continue to do so, and it usually plays out like this…
For the purpose of this blog individual identities have been changed at their request, and are played by actors. Betty is white and Bruce is Afro-Caribbean-Cornish, they have never met and this scene plays out in a small rural pub in the heart off Cornwall. Betty and Bruce are having a cigarette and exchanging small talk about how surprisingly warm it is for April. Betty then drops the bomb, and this is how the conversation goes.
Betty: ’Where are you from’
Betty: ‘Have you lived there long?’
Bruce: ‘About three years’
Betty: ‘Oh I, didn’t think you were from around here. (Awkward pause as Bruce knows where this conversation is going) Betty continues ‘Where did you move from?’
Betty: Slightly confused by the response… ‘Oh…’
Bruce: ‘We moved from London 30 years ago’
Betty: ‘Ah I didn’t think you were from around here. So where are your parents from?’
Betty: ‘Where were they born’
Seeming somewhat perplexed, Bruce decides to make things a little easier for Betty.
Bruce: ‘My grandparents came to the UK from the Caribbean as part of the Windrush generation and have lived here since, my dad’s black and my moms white British, and I moved to Cornwall 30 years ago with my parents’
Betty: ‘Oh, I’ve been to Jamaica once, really lovely people’
So, as you may have gathered not only do I not claim to be a writer, I'm also not a playwright. I hope you might be able to understand the reason for the dramatised exchange. If not, welcome to what I hope will be the beginning of a journey for you, into the lives and experiences of people of colour living not only here in Cornwall, but in a society where structural racism is still very much a thing.
I almost forgot the sharing success part. This week we were able to successfully appeal on behalf of a dual-heritage family here in Cornwall, where a Cornish School didn't feel equipped to support the cultural needs of a particular child, and as aresult did not offer the required secondary school place, which was well within catchment and a from a feeder school. After a month of working and supporting the family and challenging the school and local authority, we have managed to successfully appeal the decision and we have a very happy 10 year old who will be heading to a school, with friends and faces she knows, and allys who understand and respect her cultural identity. #TinyVictories
Signing off for now