Life in Lockdown has meant different things and different experiences for us all and sounddelivery is thrilled to be bringing together a diverse group of individuals to shine a light on their stories.
Black Lives Matter: What it means to be Young, Gifted & Black in 2020
Imagine being seven years old and black during the rise of the Black Lives Matter protests that were spreading around the world? How would you be feeling? How would your family explain the injustices people were facing simply because of the colour of their skin? Nylah Abitimo-Jones is that seven year old. Nylah was born in Uganda and now lives in Cheltenham with her mum, dad and sisters. On 8th June Nylah performed her poem ‘Black’ in front of over 5000 people at the Black Lives Matter protest in Cheltenham. Videos of her performance went viral, having been watched across the world by millions, reposted by celebrities like Missy Elliot and broadcast on global networks including BBC and Al-Jazeera.
I am thrilled that Nylah will be sharing her experiences of life in lockdown during the evening and performing some of her poetry. She will be the youngest person to have taken part in our event.
The Indispensables- working class heroes of the pandemic
Young people have been affected particularly hard by the lockdown and through the charity RECLAIM, whose mission is to power working-class people to change the country today and lead it tomorrow, we’ve been introduced to Alex Rush. Alex is a 15 year old from Rochdale. Alex’s parents are key-workers and he’s seen firsthand how indispensable they’ve been during the pandemic. He wants to make sure frontline jobs like theirs are recognised long after this situation has eased. Alex also believes the media negatively stereotypes young working class lads like him and he’s passionate about making positive change in his community. Alex’s ideas need to be heard.
We need to talk about male suicide
Craig Spillane is an electrician and the Founder of Men Unite a group using Facebook and other platforms to help men deal with the issues they face; suicidal thoughts, depression and anxiety, stress, PTSD, addiction or any associated issues. Craig wanted to give his friends an outlet to speak and not be judged, and now the group has grown to 12,000 in just over a year. During lockdown Craig has lost five friends through suicide and in his talk he’ll describe the challenges facing men today and that much more needs to be done around mental health.
Saying Goodbye in Lockdown
Angela Frazer-Wicks is a founding member of the Family Rights Group parents’ panel and regularly speaks about her experiences of the Child Welfare system, having had her eldest two children adopted in 2004 due to domestic violence and mental health issues. Now Angela is happily married with a young daughter and without any involvement with the care system – although she says that not a day goes by without thinking about her other children. During lockdown Angela heard about situations where families were having children removed where the goodbye was through a computer screen. This has reinforced her commitment to campaign to have the voices of families heard within the system.
The Nightbus Hero
During lockdown, Onjali Rauf was finishing off her third novel as she contemplated the idea of home and what it really meant. As the award-winning writer of The Boy At the Back of the Class which tells the story of Ahmed a refugee from Syria who has come to the UK and joined a new school, and The Star Outside My Window, focusing on the tragic impacts of domestic violence on the lives of children who’ve had to leave home and find themselves in Foster Care. The Nightbus Hero ( published on October 15th) explores themes of bullying and homelessness, while celebrating kindness and the potential everyone has to change for the good.
I hope that many of you reading this will be part of what I know will be a thought- provoking and dynamic event. You can find out more and book your ticket here.
And do join in the conversation using the hashtag #BeingtheStory