I want my voice to be an echo in the silence. For too long, I’ve been quiet about the inequities and problems that consume my community. I know, because I have suffered most of them. Being from a Western culture has it’s blessing and curses. As an ethnic female trying to find her place in the world, it is an uphill struggle, and so I feel more curses. I’ve found many that can relate to me, but they grumble beneath their breaths. They complain silently amongst themselves, in places where they will not be heard, and so nothing will change.
For years, I’ve struggled to get into the media. I’ve tried every avenue, applied for every thing going, and still nothing. I keep hearing it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Ok, so I go to all the networking events, keep myself up to date with all the changes happening in the industry — still nothing. I research my industry and find out that only 7% of ethnic minorities are employed in the media. For those that get their break, they start at the bottom, and are usually overlooked when it comes to promotion. The British media realises this, but their equal opportunities criteria is slow and yields minimal changes.
My reasons aren’t vain, on the contrary. I know what it feels like to be homeless. I was kicked out at 16 and sofa surfed for the best part of seven years before having a home to call my own. There was no system in place then to help a young female, homeless, and trying to support herself through education. My choices were if you want a home, you must leave college, and if you stay, you forfeit a roof. Well, I couldn’t go back home, it was not an option, and besides I was finally escaping years of abuse. All this stress coupled with an illness I was way too young to manage by myself.
The thing is, I’m a fighter. A survivor. I have so many experiences to share with the world, that would make great TV and news stories to empower other females that need support now. The usual avenues to the media don’t want gritty, real life stories that empower women to realise their potential and perform their personal best. No, better to shut up and look pretty, pretending to be dumb because it’s the cutest way to get a rich man, and then settle down and have babies. Is this real life?
All around me females are struggling. Trapped in abusive relationships, struggling to cope with the aftermath of abuse or in a vicious cycle of single parenthood. This is what females from my postcode have to look forward to. See, not everything in England glitters, and even if it does, it’s not always gold. And the poverty is rising, the poor are becoming more oppressed. Working class in England isn’t what it used to mean, we are the disposable underbelly no one wants to acknowledge.
As a World Pulse correspondent, I will go over and beyond what is expected. I will use my experiences, imagination, and the power of the written word to deliver the truth. And it will not always be pretty. I will pioneer for change, and make sure that the voices of the meek are heard. Disability, ethnicity and what it means to be female will be revolutionised with positive representation.
I’ve already been liaising with doctors, researchers and educators to get a dimensional view of the issues they encounter, and the solutions that will bring effective change. As an ambassador for change, I will help to initiate and develop support packages for homeless young people, post-abortion support, and information and development about malaria and sickle cell in Africa. I have a lot to talk about, I’ve been busy in these silent and seemingly ineffective years. I can’t do it all by myself — no woman is an island. So I leave it in God’s hands. What will be will be — and if it so favours, I will shatter the silence and bring the taboo to the surface. This is my promise.
Take action! This post was submitted in response to Voices of Our Future Application: Your Vision.