Proud To Be
As part of Black History Month this October, we sat down with three of our colleagues who shared with us why they are Proud to Be.
Victoria, PA, Stockport
“My lineage covers not just where I’m from, but where we have been. Both my parents are from Sierra Leone, but my great grandfathers are from other African countries. My great, great grandfather on my mother’s side was a Chief and was captured and sold into slavery. However, their ship was intercepted on the way to the Americas and instead they were freed and settled in Sierra Leone. I hail from a ruling house – my paternal grandfather was a Paramount Chief with the authority of the Chiefdom in his region. He originates from Guinea, the neighbouring country to Sierra Leone.
“I am proud to be African and of where I come from. My mother worked in the healthcare field, looking after future generations. My father was a professor who helped shape the minds of the future. I feel like me working at Creative Support sits well with their work to help people and society to become a better place.
“Having integrated in my new home in Manchester, I still maintain my Africanness. I proudly wear my African attires anywhere.
“I am also proud of working for Creative Support. Prior to working here, I was not aware of the vast state of mental health, and I am proud to work for the organisation and make a difference. I think that Creative Support’s ethos sits well with my identity because of its inclusion, diversity, and the support we offer to people. It reminds me of growing up in Sierra Leone where a child is brought up by the community. Indeed, Creative Support is a community where all are welcome.
Janet, Bank Staff, Calderdale
“I was born in Cameroon and have lived in the UK for over 20 years now. I am a mother of three and I love to socialise and enjoy music and dancing, a lot! I also love sports and exercise, and like to spend time with people and make friends with everyone no matter their background or where they’re from.
“I’ve worked in care before Creative Support, but I also have a Master’s degree in Information Technology and worked in that industry for 12 years. I have worked for Creative Support for a year next month and love the environment. I have the best manager, the best team, and the service users are such a pleasure to support. It’s been a very good experience working for Creative Support.
“I have been a Christian for five years now, and finding it was the most important thing that happened to me; it means more than life to me. I would say that I was religious and classed myself as a Christian before I became Born Again, but now I know that nothing is impossible for me because I do it in Jesus’ ability. The word of God has taught me, and continues to teach me, lots of things, and it’s given me an identity. I have so much peace in me now and it’s not dependent on the environment or a person, it’s steady and given to me and I share this with all of the people I meet. I feel blessed and strong and beautiful because I am made in his image. I am very proud to be Black, and what matters to me is what God says about me.
Standing against discrimination
“As we all know, racism is very real. We all still face it and have experienced it in different proportions. I believe any form of discrimination comes from ignorance in various forms. If someone has been cruel, I feel it’s often because they have experienced challenges or difficulties and they take it out on you. The way I deal with it is to respond with love and to leave a mark on the person which makes them think more.
“I also want to share good news and say to everybody that even if you look on the TV and see all the negativity in the news, that there is good news as well. My faith has helped me to see this and feel like there is nothing I cannot do or achieve or overcome. Every day is a better day, and every week is a better week in different aspects. You can only grow and increase.”
Grant, Payroll Officer, Stockport
“I came to the UK in 2002 so nearly 20 years ago now. I have worked in various other sectors along with care, including hospitality and in payroll for another organisation. I really enjoy going for walks in the park and taking the opportunity to appreciate nature. I also love going to art galleries and my favourite is Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester. I am a big fan of Formula 1, I’m very inspired by Lewis Hamilton.
“I was born in Malawi and am proud to be Black. I relate to the African continent, which is made up of 54 countries, and to my community more specifically. Malawi is a rich and diverse country and we have 16 languages, of which I speak four.
“I miss Malawai because of the people and my family that are there. We express ourselves through traditional dances called Malipenga, or Mganda in other languages! Even though a lot of people live in poverty there, everyone is smiling. You will see happy children and adults everywhere, no matter their circumstances. The music and the rhythm and beat of it is wonderful, people really dance with their bodies to the music.
“I also miss the food! I enjoy all the different flavours of Malawian cuisine, including nisima with chambo.
“In the UK, the Malawian culture is still with me. I go to a church in Greater Manchester and the pastor himself is from Malawi too. Lots of the congregation are Black and from Africa too. We also regularly attend weddings of people from Malawi so I still get to dance and celebrate with them.
On having conversations about race
“I don’t have any problems discussing anything about racism. I feel that despite the differences in our skin colour, at the end of the day we are all just part of one human race. If you look at history, you can see we all come from one ancestor; we are one people.”
To read more of our Black History Month content, check out our newsletter! We explore being Proud to Be Black and LGBTQ+, as well as topics such as sport, healthcare, and inspirational figures.