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ACC L African Caribbean Community Organisation Ltd

Community Magazine Issue 13


Editors notes: I start by correcting an error in the previous edition of the magazine on page 18 we included a picture of Norman Manley’s visit to Coventry, the caption referred to him as Jamaica’s Prime Minister, Norman Manley was in fact never Prime Minister of Jamaica however his son Michael Manley was Prime Minster between 1972–1980, 1989–1992 We would really value your input in future editions and invite you to send in comments either on articles from the previous edition of the magazine, about an issue that you want to create a debate about or just something that you want to generally highlight to the community. We have introduced a new feature ‘Where are they now?’ which will focus on people who have left the City finding out what they have been doing since leaving Coventry, if you know someone that has an interesting/inspiring story to share please put them in touch with ACCOL. Contributions for the magazine should be no more than 200 words and non Political. Whilst we will endeavour to publish all contributions we reserve the right not to publish submissions which we feel may cause offence or maybe considered to be liable. You may submit contributions at anytime. Thank you to all those who are featured in this edition. Special thanks to the advertisers who has helped to make production of this magazine possible. If you would like to contribute to future editions please email us; afca.org@btinternet.com or call 024 7622 3020. Don’t forget back copies of the magazine can be accessed via our website: www.accolcoventry.org.uk

Disclaimer & Copyright The views expressed by magazine contributors, do not necessarily represent the views of ACCOL, Those articles written by third parties are the sole responsibility of the writers and the writer will take full responsibility, liability, and blame for any libel or litigation that results from something written. All trademarks, design rights, copyrights, registered names, mottos, logos, used in this magazine are the property of their respective owners and have been reproduced in this magazine with their permission. 2


Included in this edition: ACCOL Update

Page 4

Daniel Christie

Pages 5-7

Black Majority Churches

Pages 8-9

Coventry Multi Faith Forum

Page 10

Sandra Godley

Page 11

International Year for People of African Descent

Pages: 12-13

Where are they now..Yvonne Walker

Pages 14-15

Celebrating 25 years ‘CARIBA’

Page 15

I remember Jah Baddis

Page 16

Celebrating Educational Success

Page 17

Angela Baxi & Soulful

Page 18-19

Barbadian Community & Friends Association

Page 19-20

Britain’s First Black Mayor

Page 21

Enrico Stennett

Page 23

CELEBRATING ACHIEVEMENTS 3


Bill Hall officially retired from ACCOL at the end of May, this has of course left a gap in the organisation, but the opportunity has been taken to refocus and prioritise the work of ACCOL. Funding, as for most organisations, is uncertain from March onwards so a major priority is to secure future long term funding, other priorities include developing this magazine and getting more people involved in assisting us to achieve the aims & objectives of

ACCOL.

ACCOL held it’s fourth Health Day on Tuesday 19 July .

Other stallholders included the Tamarind Centre, Flora Samuels with natural herbal remedies and West Midlands Fire Service with safety advice. There was also information available about oral cancer.

We would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank Bill for the hard work and dedication that he put into the organisation over the years and for the support which he has given to various organisations and individuals. Bill continues to be involved in community work as he is currently supporting Hillz Community Radio, and is still on hand to offer support and advice to Angela as she continues to work for ACCOL.

The event was successful in as much as those who attended gained valuable information.

The Catering provided by the Tamarind Centre and background music provided by the Williams Brothers and Brown Suga, came together to create a relaxed congenial atmosphere.

The focus of this particular event was Cancer awareness, it was partly funded by Ethnic Minority Cancer Awareness and Coventry City Council’s Health Development Unit. Representatives from Breast Cancer Screening and Prostrate Cancer group were on hand to answer questions and give advice. Although the focus was cancer awareness there were the usual Blood Pressure and Cholesterol checks.

Next on the agenda for ACCOL is an event to mark Black History Month. In conjunction with the West Indian Centre we will be mounting an exhibition to be housed at the West Indian Centre, featuring the work of local visual artists. Organisations and individuals are being invited to bring along original pieces of artwork or photographs to be displayed throughout the week commencing 23 October. If you have photographs, particularly older photographs of places, events or people that you are willing to exhibit please get in touch with ACCOL. On Sunday 23 October there will be an event to mark the opening of the exhibition, with live performances by local poets and singers. The event will start at 7.00pm and finish at approximately 8.30pm when attendees will be able to finish off the night with free entertainment in the lounge at the West Indian Centre, music by Junior Brown. There will also be food on sale, and a black history quiz with prizes for the winning team(s)! 4


21 year old Daniel Christie, “Everyone I spoke to about it was supportive, I was aware that some people would not underis an aspiring writer and film Director from Coventry. stand so I did not broadcast it I kept it to

people who would appreciate what I was doing, I tried to deal with positive people who I knew would push me forward.

Did you enjoy school?

Following the project at the Belgrade I did a few other things until they got me involved in Critical Mass which happens every year. They take you to see plays in London and coach you on writing scripts. During that time I was commissioned to write a play as part of ‘the First Time I saw Snow’ production which was about new incoming communities I wrote about the Windrush era, that also put £500 in my pocket it was not a lot of money but it was an incentive. I ended up acting as the main character in the play, which as a story about a man called Winston who came to England to find a woman that he had fallen in love with when they were young, he came to Coventry and after being refused accommodation at various places he ended up being taken in by a woman who became his best friend, she fancies him but does not say anything and she ends up helping him to find the woman he came to find.

“I went to Blue Coat C of E, it was alright, I was a little bit naughty until about year 10 when I fixed up my act, I did not want to end up spending 5 years in school and come out with nothing. Towards the end of school (2006/07) I started doing a lot of music, rapping and producing. I have done two mix tapes, the first was funded from my first job and is entitled ‘Humble Beginnings’ so called to signify the fact that I had never really tried to record a CD before and I knew it was going to be rough so it was a way of saying give me a chance. I sold 30 copies in Coventry on foot at the Caribbean Festival and Diwali festival but ended up giving the rest away. I took it Kix 96 (now Touch FM) and Mercia but they didn’t play it. My second mix tape which came out last year is called Hopes and Dreams. If anyone wants to hear any of my music my You Tube page is youtube.com/ deeboi2000”.

In between I had been in 3 independent films one was a Uni project and one was part of a play that was included in the Belgrade's Mystery plays, which was a modernised version of the nativity and I played Joseph.

How & why did you get into theatre/script writing?

Once I finished the Belgrade thing in 2009 and I got my certificate I went back to finishing off a film script which I had started sometime before I got on the writing course, having learnt how to structure scripts I was more confident to finish it. I tried to see if I could get someone at Belgrade to help me, but I was frustrated that they were not able to help me, it seems that they had helped me as much as they could.

“I started acting through my involvement with the Yula G project which was run by my mum’s friend. This was about 2007, they managed to get in with the Belgrade to do some drama projects. The first play that I did was called ‘Chained Roots, which the group did for black history month, we did a few more projects. In 2008 I when I was planning to leave to go to University, but the Belgrade gave me youth leader work, they saw some of my writing skills, and they started to commission me to o-write plays and also paid me £500 to perform 3 songs as part of a play called ‘This is Us’. That was the first show of the newly formed New Black Theatre project that the Belgrade set up. It was mainly full of younger girls and myself including my little sister”.

I met my Director, Sean Forj, based in Nuneaton, through an actor that I was acting with at the Belgrade, he is an independent film maker and also a music producer. He read my script and within 3 days we had a meeting and he discussed what he liked about the script and said he would help. I am now producing the film and trying to get as many people from the community involved, especially the black community, it’s not hard to find white people, but getting black people involved is just like squeezing a moist (not dry) rag.

It is quite unusual for young black men to become involved in the theatre, particularly in Coventry, what do your friends and family think? 5


My film is entitled ‘Petty and Peak’ I envision it as a sort of cult movie similar to Snatch and Lock Stock. It’s a gang story with other stories hidden beneath it. The black street gang is cleaning up their act, they are still criminals but quite about it, almost mafia like. One of the leaders does not like the way it is being run but the other leader wants to keep the streets as safe as possible, he does not like people shooting innocent bystanders, he is still bad but with a heart. The other gang is a classic European Firm made up of football hooligans and people like that, their leader, a man called Sidney, is angry that he is being pushed out of his own territory and he is looking for a way to push out his competition. Sidney has a son who wants to be just like his father he goes out and picks a fight with 3 black youths. Little does he know that one of the black youths is related to leader of the street gang and they don’t know he is Sidney’s son. In the fight Sidney’s son dies by falling on his own knife, but there’s not enough witnesses, this leaves the 3 boys under a lot of pressure because rival gangs are looking for them the police are looking for them and Sidney has been looking for an excuse to get back what he thinks he owns, his territory. Although the film is based on people involved in gang activity it’s not really a gang movie I do think it is relevant though because of our involvement as a community in gang culture. The film is more about the characters as people as human beings in dangerous situations. There is a lot of deeper subject matter that I am trying to tackle through the film. I touch on things like race relations, corruption, corruption in the police (one of Sidney’s best mates is a police officer) also culture and difference. I want to breakdown barriers I want parents to know that these things do go on, but that they should not fear their children. The older generation seem to think that it is easier for the younger generation than it was for them, but there is still a lot to be done in terms of racism, our generation still have problems that need to be dealt with. I fear that the older generation is losing touch with the younger generation. If anyone is interested in getting a part or contributing in some way to the film they can contact seanforj@gmail.com we are looking for people 18 and over particularly black males. If anyone wants to get in 6

contact with me I’m Danny Gearz on facebook”. As a young person what are your views about the recent social unrest? “There are a lot of issues that went into it obviously it began because of the death of Mark Duggan but a long list of black people have died in custody across the country and there are a lot of unanswered questions, it started in London but I’m not surprised it spread like it did”. Why do you think nothing much happened in Coventry? “A lot of people are glad that nothing happened in Coventry, but those that wanted to loot would probably have gone to Birmingham as people don’t like shopping in Coventry. I’m convinced that there is too much confusion in rules the Government was putting pressure on parents to ‘know where your children are’ and to instil some discipline, but parents are not allowed to discipline, not in the way that older people were. There was a lot of emphasis put on the assumption that people involved were poorer unemployed people but a lot of people who were rioting had jobs but their money does not stretch for them to afford the luxuries that are being flaunted in their face everyday. We live in a materialistic society where people are judged by brands, some people are more sensitive to this than others. I do also believe there were a lot of people who were in it for the fun, but they got their platform because of peoples tiredness, they would never have had that opportunity if it was not for the fact that something has to be wrong for this to happen. I personally don’t think that the Government will fix some of the problems, I think the black community need to set up ways of setting up their community so people know where to go, the WI Centre, Hillz etc are a starting point for this, but there are many


issues we need to be dealing with as adults, young people, brothers sisters, friends and family. Although I do not condone the violence I’m kind of glad it happened because now some peoples voices are being heard that have not been heard before, for example no one would have asked me the question about how I feel about the community if this had not happened”.

missed out on something that they could have done with their lives because of that. I think that you should make good use of the gift of life and youth especially because it’s in these years you have the most time and the most energy to commit to building your own future ... so cease the moment! I try and see things as having a goal, the more goals you have the more doors open. ....stay positive”.

Who are you influences? Tupac and Sizzla musically, in film Robert Townsend and Spike Lee they are like the original black directors and writers.

Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years? Successful in more ways than one, I don’t want to be just rich I want to be useful to my own people. Of course I want to be content have a nice house, good job and car but I also want to learn and be as wise as possible in 5 years time.

What keeps you going? Fear of failure “Sometimes people go through life looking for something they are good at, I would not say that I am just a rapper or script writer, I just know that I’m good at writing. I’m also good at drawing and producing, these are talents that I was born with. A lot of people have talents they were born with but don’t feel confident enough to pursue, some people also make it to an age and feel that they have

A young man destined for great things we think!

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Black Majority Churches over 60 years of active Service to the community! Bishop Dr Joe Aldred is a Bishop in the Church of God of Prophecy and Secretary for Minority Ethnic Christian Affairs at Churches Together in England. He presents a weekly radio show for the African and Caribbean community in the West Midlands called 'Chat Back' on BBC WM 95.6FM every Wednesday 10pm12midnight. His recent publications include the Black Church in the 21st Century published in 2010 by Darton Longman and Todd, and Respect: Understanding Caribbean British Christianity published by Epworth in 2005. Here he talks about The experience of Black Churches in the United Kingdom. “In the UK, the term ‘black’ is used mostly with reference to people of African heritage; whether coming direct from Africa, the Caribbean, or born in the UK. Black is also used to mean all dark-skinned people from anywhere. ‘Black churches’ refers to those churches that are led, or peopled in the majority, by black people. However, some have ascribed theological meaning to ‘black churches’, saying they are identified by particular forms of worship and liturgy. Theologically, the spiritual root of black churches go back to slavery and the slave trade; and American theologian James Cone insists that ‘the black church was born in slavery’. This theological argument is not shared by all, with some insisting that black denominational realities often have their roots in traditions that do not fit neatly into the determinant ‘black’. Black churches in the UK operate within a complex sociological and theological context; yet they flourish and represent the fastest-growing sector of Christianity. Two terms are used as important signifiers for black churches; black-led and black-majority. ‘Black-led’ refers to churches that are clearly led by black people; and ‘black-majority’ refers to those churches that have a majority of black members or adherents, irrespective of denominational affiliation. So today in the UK we find 8

black-led churches that are Pentecostal, Charismatic, or Evangelical. Many of these are transplants from the Caribbean, Africa and the Americas such as the New Testament Church of God, Church of God of Prophecy, Redeemed Christian Church of God, and Cherubim and Seraphim Church, to name a few. And there are black-majority churches that include those just mentioned, but also some that belong to mainstream denominations; Anglican, Roman Catholic, Baptist, Methodist and United Reformed Church, Assemblies of God and the Elim Church. History of Black Churches in the UK John Mbiti argues that Africans are incurably religious. This being so, there has been a religious black presence in Britain since the earliest time, probably as early as the 3rd Century. But there have been significant numbers of black Christians in the UK since the unfortunate advent of African enslavement by Europeans since the 15th Century. That brought many black people to Britain and other parts of Europe. There is evidence of Africans congregating as unofficial church from the earliest time, and a reliable citation of a Black Church during the early 1900s. But the era of clear Black Christian and Church presence is during the period since the Second World War. The symbol of this era is the SS Empire Windrush that landed with its cargo of mostly Jamaican economic migrants at Tilbury Docks in June 1948. Since that time there has been a clear and continuous presence of Black Christianity and churches in the UK. Initially, the common experience of migrants in the UK in society and in the churches was one of racism, exclusion and struggle. This resulted in the flourishing of Black churches as those were naturally established as extensions of churches existing back home but not in the United Kingdom were further bolstered by those belonging to ‘mainstream’ churches but who felt ‘cold-shouldered’ by or excluded from those mainstream churches. Racism has


continued to blight church relations in the UK, with John Sentamu calling the Church of England ‘institutionally racist’, but by general consensus there has been improvement in this area. The history of black churches and the history of racism are intrinsically linked, so that whilst racism is not ‘the’ reason for the existence of black churches, it is a key factor in their growth and relevance to black people.

there is increasing Black Church/White Church partnerships and relationship. The future looks positive in terms these kinds of relationships provided that the principle of mutual respect is held as paramount. Black churches contribute to "a vision for Europe enlightened by faith in Jesus Christ" The stark reality is that Europe outside of the United Kingdom is hugely problematic for Black people in terms of almost unbridled racism. This has resulted in minimal Black involvement in mainstream Europe. Where there is European involvement by Black Britons it tends to be with other Black and ethnic minorities such as Haitians in France, or working strictly within defined denominational boundaries. Of course with the advent of cable television, many black churches now broadcast their services across Europe and the world. Also, the example of increasing success within the United Kingdom of Black Christianity offers a model and hope to the rest of Europe of what is possible even from a skeptical and humble beginning. Black Christians bring with them a living faith birthed from their history of human oppression. Their moral strength, like Nelson Mandela’s, is rooted in their ability to forgive and work with their former oppressors for a better future for both.

Reality and importance

There are now key black leaders influencing both church and national political policies, and black churches are seen as pivotal to the progress and impact of Christianity upon the nation. This emerging importance of Black Christianity has however to be seen within the context of Black people as a relatively small percentage of the overall population (2%). It is primarily because of the low church attendance and adherence to the faith of the mainstream white population why such a small percentage of the overall population can have a disproportionate effect on the Christian sector. However, whatever the cause for their significance, the emerging importance of the Black Church and its pride of place as the most observable and effective part of the Black community, is seen as politically and ecclesiastically expedient, especially as we grapple with the many attendant challenges facing the Black and Conclusion minority ethnic communities. I hope that these few lines provide some understanding of how black churches in the UK Relations and interactions between contribute to the wellbeing of our nation as a black churches and traditional churches model for the rest of Europe and the world. The starting point in terms of black/white relationship was a poor one because of the experience of racism in society and in the churches and because black churches were regarded by whites as cults and pseudo churches. However, largely due to the numerical growth and intellectual and spiritual maturity of the black churches; coupled with the recognition of probably all mainstream churches that racism is intolerable and must be rejected as a practice, relations between Black and White Christians and churches have improved in recent times. There have been a number of intercultural ecumenical initiatives that have assisted in creating better understanding between different traditions and cultures within the multi-cultural context of Britain. A number of Black-led ecumenical agencies now work in collaboration with mainThe modern face of Black Church... New Testament stream ecumenical agencies; at the same time Church, Handsworth, Birmingham 9


Coventry Multi-Faith Forum calling .... provides answers to questions such as the purpose of our existence.

Greetings from Coventry Multi-Faith Forum. Congratulations on the 50th anniversary of the New Testament Assembly. Coventry Multi-Faith Forum, formed in 1996, is a charitable initiative, representing major faith traditions found in and around Coventry. Members are drawn from Arya Samaj, Bahá’i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Jain, Jewish, Sikh, Spiritualist, and Zoroastrian communities. The aim of the Forum is to celebrate diversity and foster harmony between different communities by increasing knowledge and understanding of each other’s ideals. Our activities are wide-ranging and include participation in corporate events such as Coventry Peace Month, Positive Images Festival, Heritage Open Days and many more. We also arrange exhibitions which create greater awareness of diversity. Every year we organise a highly successful Peace Walk, which entails visits to different places of worship. Through its representation at several forums, and its advisory role in the statutory and voluntary sectors, the Multi-Faith Forum can also act as a channel of communication to voice concerns and aspirations of our communities on any matters of local or national importance. In the 2001 United Kingdom Census, 85% of the country’s population indicated membership of a faith. What are our thoughts about the influence of religion? *Religion has been a potent force from times immemorial. *Religion helps us to understand the world. It

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*Holy books of all faiths contain the stimulating and inspiring words and thoughts of people of faith. *Religion acts as a guide, telling us how to conduct ourselves and practise acceptable behaviour. *Religion enables one to turn thoughts into actions, and actions speak louder than words! *Religion can be a unifying factor, bringing members of faith communities together for celebrations, etc. *Religion encourages people to contemplate, to reflect upon their actions and to make up for wrongdoings. Even within one religion there can be a lot of diversity based on language, country of origin, gender, social status, etc. What religion does is to bring these diverse groups together under one umbrella, providing spiritual guidance to all. All religions preach PEACE as EVERY religion enjoins its adherents to love their neighbours. “There will be PEACE on EARTH when there is peace among World Religions,” so said Hans Kung, a theologian and President of The Foundation for a Global ethic. Everyone is warmly invited to Coventry MultiFaith Forum’s annual Peace walk on Saturday 5th November. Our Lord Mayor will lead the Peace Walk. We start at Priory Visitor Centre at 10.00 am. After the reading of Peace Prayers from different faiths, we visit a Church, a Mosque, a Hindu Temple and finally a Gurdwara (Sikh place of worship), where we partake of a communal meal.


Sandra Godley Sandra is originally from Bristol, when she was 8 her Dad lost his job and the family decided to move back to Jamaica, but they only stayed there a year before coming back to England to settle in Derby. Sandra grew up in the Pentecostal Church and got involved in music at a very early age. “I started writing songs at about age 11 and I formed a group with 2 other girls. I regularly sang at church events and other large events. So when did you move to Coventry?

broadcasting on 101.5fm. Tim Coleman is the Managing Director, he has over 18 years experience in Radio Production. The station has been broadcasting since Christmas, we also run Coventry & Warwickshire Media Services which offers Media training. The Radio is a good way of engaging with the local community and if anyone is interested there are plenty of ways to get involved. It is not just a Christian station, we also play good wholesome secular music provided it is not blasphemous and negative. We have a Sport programme, a youth programme hosted by young people and Kervin Julien hosts his own show. The station is run entirely by volunteers and broadcasts 24 hours a day. We are based above Nationwide Building Society in town where we have the whole floor, so we are able to let out small offices”.

“I moved her about 3 years ago. My husband had been working in Coventry ever since he graduated”. Tell us more about your musical career? “Before I moved to Coventry I recorded two albums and toured the country. In 2005 I won the GEM (Gospel Entertainment Award) for best female newcomer. I remember the event being hosted by David & Carrie Grant (well known vocal coaches who have been judges on Fame Academy and Pop Idol)”............ It kind of went from strength to strength from then”. Sandra is not just a singer/songwriter, she is a multi-genre songstress. Easily adapting to all of contemporary black music styles, she has performed funk, disco, house, soul, R&B as well as Gospel. Whilst in Coventry Sandra has worked with BBC Coventry & Warwickshire and UCB Radio, and worked for Coventry Cathedral for 3 years as Head of Events. “Whilst at the Cathedral I brought lots of good events to the City, we held Songs of Praise events. The Nativity which was filmed in the ruins and The Antiques Roadshow. The big challenge was getting the balance right between being a place of worship and a venue to be booked and used for events, however I loved working there”. Tell us about your latest project? Recently I, along with 3 others, have set up a Community Radio Station called Radio plus 11

Alongside all of this Sandra has been married for 20 years to Paul, they have two children Eliot 15 and Francesca 9. Sandra also works full-time as a Business Development Manager for the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors where she manages a team of event organisers. What do you think of Coventry? “Lots of people try to bring the heart back in to the city, but there is a lot of negativity, but there is lots of new blood coming in so we need to keep trying. Coming in as a new person I’m excited by the developments, but you are constantly surrounded by people reflecting on the past this is kind of understandable, when I was at the Cathedral people turned up on a couple of occasions with bombs that they had found in their garden so it is hard to forget the past. Coventry is a good place to shop and I want to work with the radio station to help bring positive vibes that will ‘big up the city’. I have heard lots of local stations who give out negative messages. Sandra is available to perform at events, weddings, services, etc you can listen to her music on I Tunes and Spotify. For bookings call 07740425049. Radio Plus visit the website http://www.radioplus.org.uk


In the Winter 2010-11 edition we announced that The United Nations’ (UN) General Assembly had declared the year 2011 to be the International Year for People of African Descent. The year aims to strengthen international, national and regional co-operation to benefit the people of African descent, and to recognise and promote their political, economic, social and cultural contributions from their diverse heritage and culture. Have you heard of any activities taking place that acknowledge this? Background By the Anti-Discrimination Section of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

People of African descent have suffered particularly from racial discrimination down through the centuries. The transatlantic slave trade was an abomination that set in motion a unique and systematic discrimination against people of African descent. Intolerance and exclusion still affect too many people of African descent.

to those handed down to individuals from the ethnic majority and are victims of racial profiling. They are over-represented among prison inmates in many countries. Conversely, they are often underrepresented among judges, lawyers and other actors in the justice system. In numerous States with a large population of people of African descent, this sector of society is among the least favoured as regards access to, and levels of, education. The participation of people of African descent in political, economic, social and cultural aspects of society and in the advancement and economic development of their countries is also of fundamental importance. Too often this participation is curtailed by discriminatory practices or a lack of affirmative action initiatives. Such affirmative or positive action initiatives are necessary to give equal opportunities to historically disadvantaged sectors of society and are specifically called for in the Durban Programme of Action with regard to communities of primarily African descent. Furthermore, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination makes it clear that special measures can be taken to achieve equality and non-discrimination.

While the International Year is most certainly an opportunity to raise awareness on the many challenges that people of African descent continue to face due to racism and racial States participating to the World Conference discrimination, it is also an opportunity to Against Racism held in Durban in 2001 showcase and celebrate the myriad of recognised this unique form of discrimination contributions that people of African descent and admitted that the transatlantic slave trade have made in all areas of human endeavour. In was an appalling tragedy in the history of the arts and sciences, law and politics, they humanity not only because of its abhorrent have shaped the destiny and advancement of barbarism but also in terms of its magnitude, nations, and have fostered progress. History organised nature and especially its negation of books must fully reflect such achievements. the essential humanity of the victims. The World Conference’s outcome document, the “The International Year must become a milestone in the onDurban Declaration and Programme of going campaign to advance the rights of people of African Action, made particular reference to people descent. It deserves to be accompanied by activities that fire of African descent as a group that had the imagination, enhance our understanding of the situation suffered greatly and whose situation required of people of African descent and are a catalyst for real and Particular attention. positive change in the daily lives of the millions of AfroPeople of African descent continue to suffer from unequal treatment before the law. They have, for example, been subjected to incarceration and lethal violence by the police at disproportionate rates compared to other groups in many societies.

descendants around the world.” -avi Pillay, U High Commissioner for Human Rigths

In preparation for the International Year, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) In countries where they are in the minority, drew up a Framework for Action to combat they often suffer harsher sentences compared12


discrimination against people of African descent. The framework provides a conceptual structure for the activities that OHCHR engages in regarding people of African descent as well as the initiatives that will be carried out to mark the International Year. It also sets in motion an ongoing, coordinated agenda to combat discrimination against this population group Beyond 2011.

descent. These include events such as (but not exclusive to) conferences, workshops, expositions, as well as educational activities. The year will be celebrated in different parts of Africa and areas with significant numbers of people of African Descent in the population. But what should people of African descent in Britain make of the theme and what should be the likely impact that we expect from observing the year?

What Do People Do? Organisations such as the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent have recommended different ways for countries to commemorate the year. Their hopes are to make an important contribution to the fight against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and other related prejudices that are directed towards people of African

Some Notable Black Britons Well-known Black Britons living before the 20th century include the chartist William Cuffay; William Davidson, executed as a Cato Street conspirator; Olaudah Equiano (also called Gustavus Vassa), a former slave who bought his freedom, moved to England, and settled in Soham, Cambridgeshire, where he married and wrote an autobiography, dying in 1797; Ukawsaw Gronniosaw, pioneer of the slave narrative; and Ignatius Sancho, a grocer who also acquired a reputation as a man of letters.

In America there is a black President and very many notable people in varied professions, in Britain we have produced several politicians of note and increased the number of people who are now being recognised in the Queen’s Honours List. We are integrated in participating in the social, cultural, economic and political life of this country. But it is recognised that there is still a long way to go and a lot more to be done. other British broadcaster. Other examples from television are: entertainer Lenny Henry and chef Ainsley Harriott, to name but a few! Michael Fuller, after a successful career in the Metropolitan Police, was Chief Constable of Kent between 2004 & 2010 when he became Chief Inspector of the Crown Prosecution Service. He is the son of Jamaican immigrants who came to the United Kingdom in the 1950s. In business, Damon Buffini heads Permira, one of the world's largest private equity firms. Buffini topped the 07 'power list' as the most powerful Black male in the United Kingdom by New Nation.

In politics people of black ancestry such as Bernie Grant, Baroness Amos and Diane Abbott, as well as Oona King and Paul Boateng In 2004, a poll found that people considered the Crimean War heroine Mary Seacole to be the who are of mixed heritage, Oona King have made significant greatest Black Briton. Seacole was born in contributions to politics and trade unionism. Jamaica in 1805 to a white father and black mother. Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones is a businessman, More recently, a large number of Black British farmer and founder of the popular Black Farmer people have achieved prominence in public life. range of food products. An example from television is reporter and newsreader Sir Trevor In 2005, soldier Johnson Beharry, born in McDonald, who was born in Grenada of mixed Black African and East Indian Trinidad and knighted in 1999. roots, became the first man to win the Victoria His clear, confident delivery Cross, the United Kingdom's foremost military and serious attitude have made award for bravery, since the Falklands War of him one of British television's 1982. He was awarded the medal for service in most trusted presenters, 13Iraq in 2004. winning more awards than any


Where are they now? A new feature for the magazine will be catching up with those who have moved out of the City finding out what they have been up to since leaving Coventry. The first to be featured is Yvonne Walker.

in 1981 but was too young to commence Nurse training so in the meantime I attended a year long Government Youth Opportunity (YOP) Training course doing sewing at the Courtalds Factory, Foleshill. I’d always enjoyed sewing and it was something that I was very good at and I actually enjoyed the break before I concentrated on my chosen career.

Where did you live before leaving Coventry?

I had applied to Walsgrave Hospital, to commence Nurse training but was unsuccessful at interview, it was then I that I decided to broaden my horizon as I was intent on being a Nurse. I applied to Kings College hospital, Camberwell London, but again was unsuccessful at interview, that didn’t put me off though, I was eventually successful at interview at Lewisham School of Nursing, Lewisham, South London. I eventually left Coventry in July 1982 to commence my Enrolled Nurse training at Lewisham Hospital.

During the whole of my childhood I was brought up in Wood End.

What have you been doing since leaving Coventry?

I was actually born in West Bromwich, Birmingham, as a baby I lived with my Parents friends who still lived in Foleshill (the Kenions) before we moved to Wood End.

I completed my Enrolled Nurse training at Lewisham Hospital in July 1984 and at that point I decided to stay in London. For 2 years I worked in Elderly Care at Hither Green Hospital which was part of Lewisham Health Authority, I really enjoyed working in Elderly Care as it provided me with a good foundation of providing good nursing care.

What school did you go to? I attended Eburne Primary school in Wood End. I then attended Woodway Secondary school in Potters Green. What were you doing (education or workwise) before leaving Coventry? After leaving Woodway Secondary school in 1980 I attended Henley College, where I did an Access to Nursing course. Nursing was always my passion from a very early age and it was something that I always held in my vision as to who I wanted to be. When and why did you leave Coventry? I completed my Access to Nursing course 14

I then decided that I wanted to branch out into the speciality of Gynaecology as it was something that I found very interesting during one of my Enrolled Nurse training placements. I was successfully appointed to an Enrolled Nurse post at Mayday Hospital, Croydon on a Gynaecology ward in 1986. Whilst in post I gained an immense amount of experience and my potential was recognised by my seniors and peers I was therefore encouraged to apply for Registered General Nurse training which would give me more career options.


I completed my Registered Nurse training in December 1991 and was then successfully appointed to the post of Registered Nurse in the Medical Genitourinary Urinary (GU) Department at St Helier Hospital in Surrey. I took advantage of the opportunities of further training that were available at that time and undertook recognised training courses in Care and treatment of persons with Sexually Transmitted Infections, Care of people with HIV/AIDS, a Family Planning course and then completed a Counselling certificate course at Goldsmiths University of London, New Cross, London.

the service which includes managerial responsibility for a multidisciplinary team of 30 individuals.

In March 1999 I was promoted to the post of Sexual Health Adviser still within the GU department at St Helier Hospital, Surrey and remained in that post until July 2005. In July 2005 I was successfully appointed to and still am Clinical Head of Service and Senior Sexual Health Adviser of St Helier Medical GU Department, St Helier Hospital, Surrey which is a moderately sized Sexual Health service.

My visits to Coventry to Coventry vary, but I maintain regular contact via telephone, texting, and internet in particular Facebook!

I have complete managerial responsibility of

It is a demanding job with extensive responsibilities but I love it and wouldn’t change it for the world! What family have you got left in Coventry? All my family and close friends still live in Coventry, including my Dad Dudley. How often do you visit?

Would you ever consider moving back to Cov? I have lived in London for almost 30 years now which is most of my life, however I still have very close ties to Coventry due to my family and friends still being there…. So I suppose it’s ‘Never Say never’… ☺☺

CARIBA Women’s Group Celebrated their 25th Anniversary on Wednesday 21 September 2011 at the West Indian Centre. It was a fairly low key event but members old and new and a few invited guests were treated to an enormous variety of homemade food, and of course there was plenty and laughter and music. The Cariba Women’s Group was established on Wednesday 5 February 1986. A conversation with Eric Linton led Irma Whitehead into a chain of events that resulted in a group being formed to cater for the social, cultural and welfare needs of the Caribbean Community. In the first year the group had 24 members all from different Caribbean islands. They had different cultures, needs and aspirations, but they managed to work together by showing respect and understanding to obtain the same goal.

holding raffles and social events. These charities have included Walsgrave hospital and sickle cell fund. The group has also raised money for different Caribbean islands and paid for vital medical equipment such as an ECG machine and surgical sterilisation unit.

Current members of the group include: Geraldine Williams, Lorna Gayle, Mignon Bourne, Desis Hall, Gloria Donaldson, Monica Clark, Marie Pitt, Cheryl Phillip, Irma Whitehead, Carmen Choonara, Brenda The group has raised money for charities by Gannum, Monica Graham, Rose Herron, Daphine Myrie and Audrey Brewster. 15


I remember Jah Baddis Netball Team Here a former member talks about her memories of Jah Baddis Netball Team.

this did not get anywhere, and the team disbanned after that, people moved on and some left Coventry.

“Jah Baddis was not the first black netball team before us there was Caribbean Knights, the players that I can remember that played with Caribbean Knights were: Gwyneth, Joanne and Cynthia Dash. I remember hearing about Caribbean Knights when I played for Sidney Stringer. I started playing for Sidney Stringer when I was about 20, Marva, Roslyn, Bernie, Bev and Ezeta also played for Stringer, Ken Matthews poached us all from Stringer.

Some of us did continue to play indoor netball at Ryton Connexions, where we played as Osaba but this only lasted a couple of years.

I was the first to move and then the others followed. The Jah Baddis team that terrified the Coventry & Warwickshire League were (at least the names that can be remembered):

Ken Matthews was our coach and also our Umpire (Ken was possibly the first black male umpire in Coventry). Austin Grant, who came from a Basketball background, also gave us some good tips. In fact we used to play against some of the basketball players and, as part of Hillfields Happening, the men would play against the women at Netball, that used to be funny :)

The team travelled the country representing Coventry & the West Midlands, we also had players that played at county level. We played in Sonia Gordon Marcia Jarrett places like Nottingham, London Derby, and, Tracey Barnes Natty Birmingham. For tournaments there would be a Pam Myers Bev Williams coach with footballers as well as Elaine Brown Sharon Byers netballers. There was a good atmosphere, Joan Williams Rossylyn Medford people would look forward to the whole day, Jackie Chana Marva Medford now watching netball and football and then getting Al’ansaari ready for the dance afterwards. You would meet up with people from previous years and make We started at the bottom of the Coventry & friendships. The biggest supporters for the Warwickshire league, and worked our way up to netball team particularly when we had home the top of the league. In the end we stopped games were the children, there were quite a few playing because it was said that the registration children amongst us all. Some people still play form was not put in on time, the group felt they netball for various teams. were been discriminated against so went to CRC (Community Relations Council) for advice, but Is netball still popular then? “At one time the Caribbean was high up in terms of Netball to the point where a coach from the Caribbean was brought in to coach the England team! There are a few girls coming up, but it does not appear to be as popular in schools as it was ‘back in the day’”. If anyone else has memories of Caribbean Knights or Jah Baddis Netball teams please get in touch with ACCOL, photos would be 16particularly welcome.


Celebrating Educational achievement Congratulations to: Cameron Young, from Cheylesmore, passed 14 GCSE including Maths, English, Science, PE & Geography. Whitley Abbey Academy, going to Henley in Arden college to study Sports Science.

Alexander Mushore, First Class Honours Degree in Marketing & Psychology from Keele University. Going to University of London to do Masters.

Amira Dee Hay-Christie for passing the literacy and numeracy assessment exams and the interview to gain a full time permanent position at as a Health Care Assistant at University Hospital. Her mother, father and rest of the family are both pleased and proud of her. A major and well deserved achievement” ARE YOU OK FOR SWITCHOVER? IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO GET HELP Switchover Help Scheme provides practical support for those who need it most until 28 October 2011 Older and disabled people struggling with switchover in the Sutton Coldfield transmitter area serving much of the west Midlands are being reminded that they can still get help with switching to digital TV. By the time switchover is complete, the BBC-run Switchover Help Scheme will have written to over 900,000 eligible people in the Central region to offer everything to switch one TV set to digital. Most eligible people managed the first stage of switchover which happened without a problem. But some people may have found it more difficult than they expected. The important thing to remember is that it’s not too late for eligible people to get the help they are entitled to.

The Switchover Help Scheme is open for applications until 28 October 2011. Tens of thousands of older and disabled people in the Central area have already benefitted from the Help Scheme. The Switchover Help Scheme has been especially designed around the needs of older and disabled people and can make switching to digital TV easier for them. If someone is eligible for help, the Help Scheme will have already written to them at their home address. But did you know: ♦

People can still take up the offer of help now even if they contacted the Help Scheme to opt out earlier this year

♦ A free 12 month aftercare

line is provided which offers help with retuning. People are eligible for help if: Aged 75 or over, or Have lived in a care home for six months or more, or ♦ Get (or could get): ◊ Disability Living Allowance (DLA), or ◊ Attendance or Constant Attendance Allowance, or ◊ Mobility supplement, or ♦ Are registered blind or partially sighted ♦ ♦

Most people will be asked to pay £40 towards the standard option of help. For eligible people who are also on pension credit, income support, incomebased jobseeker's allowance or income-related employment and support allowance, it’s free.

♦ The Help Scheme can con-

vert a second TV set in your home even if you already have digital on your main TV set.

All eligible people in the Central region can also choose from other digital options, including freesat, some of which cost extra.

♦ The Help Scheme will set up

and install everything you need to make the switch to digital. ♦ All installers are approved

and no one will call without an appointment 17

Eligible people need to respond to get the help. To make it easier to get help by switchover we are urging people to call the Help Scheme free on 0800 408 5900.


me to teach singing by talking. I was teaching singing (without singing) as a peripatetic teacher at Whitley Abbey, Woodlands and Lyng Hall the young people had excellent voices and half an hour was never enough especially when they sang in harmony, so I asked them if they would all like to join up and form a bigger singing group. We met up in 2001 on a Saturday morning at Queens Road Baptist Church and we continue to meet today 10 years on”. Where did the name come from? “It was chosen by the lads at Woodlands and me, we brainstormed loads of different ideas, but we agreed that because they sounded so soulful that’s what it would be.

Angela Baxi Born in Coventry, Angela went to Blue Coat School. “From school I went to Coventry Centre for the performing arts in my 3rd year it changed to Coventry University. I did and did Theatre Studies Music Foundation which included music A Level. I also did singing lessons going straight into doing grade 8 singing exam, which qualified me to teach singing.

The group is not just about the singers even though the standard is high the main focus is to bring young peoples abilities out so they can shine. Soulful is like a second family and an escape from the "world" for these young people, an opportunity for them to express themselves and have somewhere to go with people who have the same thing in common.

What made you want to go into arts? “I was not very academic I was always more artistic and music has always been a passion to me. My Grandad taught me to play piano when I was 4! I was in the school choir. My Grandad used to play organ in quite a lot of churches and had a few choirs, Mum was a music teacher, Dad played Tabla and sung as well. So music runs in the family.

I believe God set the group up because I was due to have an operation on my throat, but when I went for my check up the cyst had gone and the doctor could not understand why. Before the check up I had totally changed my goal of becoming a solo recording artist and all my passion and energy was focussed on Soulful. God knows every single persons needs that passes through Soulful I just pray that we are always there to provide the right

After leaving college I went to London College of Music to do a degree, which I enjoyed. I did a music management course which involved organising events. After completing my degree I went into teaching singing, privately at first and then in schools. I worked for the Performing Arts Service teaching singing around schools in Coventry, I am currently teaching at Stoke Park School”. Who have been the Influences in your life?: “Mostly my family, but people like Stevie Wonder, Whitney Houston, Lauryn Hill and Mariah Carey were my favourite singers”. Tell us about how Soulful was started? “I was recording in Birmingham and got a record contract with Sony at the same time as I got that I was working in a boys school as a music teacher where I was over using my voice unfortunately I got a cyst on my vocal chords which meant I could not sing for a year. So I contacted the record company to let them know and they said they would wait. During that year because I could not sing my boss allowed 18

support and care for each young person. What challenges/obstacles have you faced? Because it is a voluntary group I was advised not to continue because they could not see the benefit for the young people at the time especially with no money coming in but these people now support Soulful as there doubts have now been proved wrong.


My Mum and Sister now support me in soulful with admin and discipline! we also have Committee of parents/volunteers to help organise etc.

What keeps you going?

How hard was it operating without money?

Hopes & aspirations for the community?

First few years had to fund the group myself, we supported charity events and became familiar with the community, for most of our performances we phoned up to offer our voices, but it was the first phone call we got asking us to perform which made us feel so happy that we had been recognised as a strong choir of young people.

“I have always looked at Coventry as having a massive amount of talent. Successful artist and producers in the industry who have come from the City have made us proud and motivated us to do the same so it is my hope that young and old people are encouraged to aspire to their level of success”.

“Seeing the difference to young peoples lives for the positive”.

What is your greatest achievement to date? We have supported Beverley Knight at the Ricoh, been the leading choir for the Coventry Mystery Plays, won Coventry's Choir of the Year Competition sung with the London Community Gospel Choir and worked alongside other established artists and Directors”.

“Josiah, my son and Soulful”. What do you see yourself doing in 10 years time? “Wherever God takes me, I have my own ideas sometime, but it is not necessarily what God has in store”.

Are there any original members still in group? “There are four original members, but 100s of young people have been part of the Choir over the years. Ages range: from 11 to 30, but now there is also have Soulful Babies which is for 2-11 year olds, both groups sing, rap, MC and do break dancing”.

Soulful meet at Queens Road Baptist Church, Soulful Babies meet on a Saturday between 12.30 and 1.30pm and Soulful meet on a Thursday 6–7.30pm, there is no charge for either group. Soulful sing songs from RnB & Urban genres of music with a gospel message.

Barbadian Community and Friends Association Coventry The Association goes back a long way, back to the 1960s, it was formed to preserve some of the Bajan customs, back then it was known as the Coventry Choir. The choir took part in ‘Service of Song’ competing against choirs such as Birmingham, Leeds, Oldham and Reading. The choirs also performed at Old People’s Homes, weddings and funerals. There was also annual family day excursions to the seaside as well as dances. The Association as it is today became a constituted body in April 1979 and was renamed the Barbadian Community and Choir Association. This was made possible when the male members of the choir donated £5.00each. These members, some of whom are no longer with us are as follows: Gordon Pollard, Ovie Williams, Bradley Estwick, Lloyd 19

Lowe, Oscar Sealy and Shell Byer. The first Committee was: Gordon Pollard (Chair), Ovie Williams (Vice Chair), Bradley Estwick (Treasurer), Ann Riley (Secretary), Omin Clarke (Assistant Secretary), other committee members were: Yolanda Williams, Myrtle Gill and Wilma Reid. The Association is affiliated under the umberella of the National Council of Barbadian Association (NCBA UK) of which the Patron is the High Commissioner for Barbados in the UK. In 2006 the Association hosted the 40th Anniversary Independence Service at Coventry Cathedral with 1,500 people in attendance.


The Association continues to host many events, including the annual family day excursion to the seaside, and offers welfare support to the Barbadian Community.

P.R.O.) and Joyce McConney (Assistant Welfare Officer). Barbados celebrates Independence from the UK on the 30th November, the 45th Anniversary Independence Dinner & Dance in Coventry will take place on Saturday 12 November 2011, 7pm with music by Mikey D, for further information: Email: covbdos@hotmail.com or call 0776 500 7156 or 07505 639932

The present Executive Members are: Grantley Padmore (Chair), Mona Thomas (Vice Chair), Hilly Padmore (Secretary), Sandra Daniel (Assistant Secretary), John Bourne (Treasurer), Erskine Howell (Assistant Treasurer), Jo-Ann Perry-Straker (P.R.O.) Sonia Johnson (Assistant

Some Barbadian Icons in Science, Technology and Innovation

Cardinal Warde Professor Cardinal Warde is a world expert on optical information processing. He holds twelve patents and lectures at the prestigious Massachuesetts Institute of Technology (MIT) USA. One of his inventions is a pair of tiny display eyeglasses development with Dr Ali Ersen. It allows users to read manuals hands-free. The device can be useful to mechanics, paramedics and also surgeons during operation. Born on July 14th, Warde grew up in Barbados, he attended St. Christopher's Boys School until the age of 10 then moved to the Foundation School. At a young age, he took apart items to see how they worked. After the launch of the first space satellite, he and two friends decided to construct a rocket. They researched materials and fuel chemicals needed. They launched the rocket at the beach with a mouse on board, but the rocket only made it 3 metres off the ground! Presently Warde is working on building computers with bain-like functions to make judgement calls’ like humans. He has collaborated with NASA to develop optical imagining devices for the US Government.

George Alleyne Sir George Alleyne is a distinguished Barbadian whose contributions to Caribbean medicine are punctuated with many ‘firsts’. He was the first Caribbean Director of the Pan American Health Organisation and the first graduate of the University of West Indian (UWI) to hold the title of Chancellor. George Alleyne was born on 7 October 1932 in St Phillip, Barbados. He attended Holy Trinity Boys’ School and Harrison’s College. He received an island scholarship in 1951 to study medicine at the University College of the West Indies, Jamaica. He graduated in 1957 as a gold medallist with the Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery degrees and did he internship at the Old General Hospital in Barbados. After a decade of extensive original research, producing several scientific papers he was appointed Professor of Medicine at age 40. four years later he was promoted to the Chair of the Department of Medicine—the first UWI graduate to achieve this distinction. 20


Britain's first black Mayor and that it recognises a man for the work he has done."

John Archer was born in Liverpool on 8th June, 1863. His father, Richard Archer, was a ship's steward, who had originally arrived in England from Barbados. His mother, Mary Archer, was an Irish immigrant.

Archer's political views moved to the left during the First World War and in 1919 he was elected to the council as a member of the Labour Party. However, his attempt to be elected to the House of Commons in the 1919 General Election ended in failure. In 1919 Archer went to Paris as a British delegate of the Pan-African Congress. Two years later Archer chaired the Pan African Congress in London.

Archer worked as a seaman and later claimed that he had gone round the world three times and lived for a time in the West Indies and the United States. After marrying a black woman from Canada, Archer returned to England. He established a successful photographic studio in Battersea. He also became involved in politics and became friends with local radicals such as John Burns, Tom Mann and Charlotte Despard.

Archer was a founder member of the African Progress Union: "Now about the objects of the African Progress Union. The objects are to promote the general welfare of Africans and Afro-peoples, through such agencies as may be deemed best; to establish in London, England, a place as 'home from home' where the members of the association may meet for social recreation and intellectual improvement, where movements may be promoted for the common welfare, and where members may receive and entertain their friends, under the regulations of the board of management; to spread by means of papers to be read and addresses to be given from time to time, and by means of a magazine or other publications, a knowledge of the history and achievements of Africans and Afro-peoples past and present; and to promote the general advancement of African peoples."

In July 1900 Archer attended the Pan-African Conference held at Westminster Town Hall. There were 37 delegates from Europe, Africa and the United States. Those attending included Samuel Coleridge Taylor, John Alcindor, Dadabhai Naoroji, Sylvester Williams and William Du Bois. At the conference a large number of delegates made speeches where they called for governments to introduce legislation that would ensure racially equality. Mandell Creighton, the Bishop of London, asked the British government to confer the "benefits of self-government" on "other races as soon as possible".

In 1922 Archer supported Shapurji Saklatvala, the Communist Party candidate for North Battersea. Archer managed to persuade the local Labour Party not to oppose Saklatvala and he won the seat in the 1922 General Election.

In November 1906 Archer and Sylvester Williams became the first people of African descent to be elected to public office in Britain. A member of the Liberal Party, Archer won a seat on Battersea Borough Council whereas Williams won in Marylebone. He was re-elected three years later and in 1913 became one of the candidates for the office of mayor. This caused a great deal of controversy and the election campaign was featured in the national press. One man wrote to a newspaper and claimed: "It has always been that the white man ruled and it must always be so. If not, goodbye to the prestige of Great Britain." Despite these racist comments Archer won by 40 votes to 39. Archer told the council: "You have made history tonight. Battersea has done many things in the past, but the greatest thing it has done is to show that it has no racial prejudice,

Archer eventually broke with the Communist Party and in the 1929 General Election he was election agent to the successful Labour Party candidate. Archer held a variety of political posts being president of the African Progress Union, a member of the Wandsworth Board of Guardians and governor of Battersea Polytechnic Institute. John Archer died in July, 1932.

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Just for fun A couple of topics for discussion.... Will there be a Black UK Prime Minster within 20 years? There are now 8 black (African/Caribbean) MPs is this enough progress? Should white couples be allowed to adopt black children or conversely should black couples be allowed to adopt white children?

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Enrico Stennett was born on 9th October 1926 in Mount Carey, Montego Bay, Jamaica, at that time a British Colony, his family were Plantation owners. At the age of 3 he was a day boarder at the only boarding school in the village at that time. The school was run by two English Headmistresses for pupils whose parents could afford to pay the fees for their children’s education. He was sent to this school to learn to speak fluent English and English grammar. He attended the school for four years where he gained a certificate for Elocution. He went onto to Cornwall College in Montego Bay for further education. On leaving College at 17 he was employed by the Jamaican Nationalist Party, headed by Norman Manley as a Social Worker looking after the problems of the Membership. He came to England in 1947 with the intention of studying but found conditions difficult, so difficult that he was unable to even get accommodation because of his colour. Between 1950 & 56 he worked for the Colonial Service where he worked under Mr Ivor De Souza as a volunteer assisting with the settlement of the newly arrived West Indians in this country. He used to meet them at Victoria Railway Station, when they arrived in from the islands with only a few possessions. Between 1950-1960 he spoke in Hyde Park, this was the only platform that black people had at the time there were no black newspapers, he spoke about the racist conditions in the country and for the freedom of

Africa, 7 days a week. Every evening after work he would go to Hyde Park to speak all through the cold Winter evenings. He was also a dancer. In order to earn some money he became a demonstration dancer for Mecca Ballroom. He used to dance freestyle dancing and the popular dances of the time at many of the Ballrooms. He achieved such notoriety for his prowess in the dance-halls of London that after first being banned from the Lyceum, The Astoria, the Locarno and the Hammer-smith and Wimbledon Palais, he was hired by the management to perform exhibitions of jiving and jitterbugging to the delight of the white working-class crowds. This employment took him to ballrooms throughout the south of England and earned him £25 per week for three nights work. In 1948 he was the founder of an organisation in Wimbledon, London called the Cosmopolitan Social Association.’ The emblem of this Association was created by Mr Stennett of a black hand shaking a white hand which was used throughout Community Relations. Through this Association he worked amongst West Indians and Africans assisting in all

social problems. Locating employment through the Trade Unions, assisting new arrivals from the West Indies to find accommodation, aiding both West Indians and Africans when in trouble with the Police. In 1951 he was co-founder with Mr E Brewar of the African League this organisation was political and social, and had branches in Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, Nottingham and London. He founded the first black Newspaper to be printed in this country called the ‘African Voice’ this was a monthly paper sold to the public on street corners. His work also entailed the organisation of house to house meetings in the Brixton area and other areas of London. He explained to the West Indian and African population the necessity to assimilate themselves in the community, to join the Trade Union Movement, the Labour Party and to take part in all social and political activities. Working among the immigrant population equipped him for his job in the early Seventies in Coventry, in Community Relations. He had a mountain of knowledge regarding black history and issues around Race Relations, Trade Unions, Community Cohesion and Empowerment, the effects of Colonialism and Imperialism. Enrico’s story is a truly remarkable and distinguished experience. When ‘Ricky Stennett’ passed away on 7 July 2011 the legacy he had left in Coventry meant that many from the City attended his funeral in North Wales.

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Contact us at: at African Caribbean Community Organisation Ltd c/o Coventry West Indian Centre 159 Spon Street Coventry CV1 3BB T: 024 7622 3020 M: 07956 511 921 Email: afca.org@btinternet.com Website: www.accolcoventry.org Office hours: Monday窶認riday 24 9.30am to 5.00pm


Autum 2011