Another Day Another Year

Today (3rd May) is one of those days. A marker in one’s life where I take time to pause and reflect on those people who have given me the foundations to build my life. As I write this, I do so with a gentle glow of pride that Janet (my sister) and I had two amazing parents who both passed away on this day 12 month apart. Today marks the first anniversary of a year without them physically in our lives. The tears have subsided, the photographs make me smile, the space they left remains, but their presence is strangely stronger. I see them in the day to day behaviours of individual family members (yes sister you have mums fire burning inside). I hear them in the causal talk of their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I often see them in my mind’s eye when I ask myself, “what would they think?” or reflect on a memory.

As my parents entered the last phase of their lives and with their blessing, I took an assortment of photographs. I also had the fortune to talk about my parents on national radio via Lauren Laverne’s BBC 6Music’s regular slot Memory Tapes, which judging from the feedback I received reflected the thoughts of many people who heard it. My mum passed away shortly after I took this photograph, which captures their last kiss.

Today, I write these words and share this image after careful consideration and talking to my sister partly to help break-down any fear we may have in discussing death, to offer support to those who may be facing similar circumstances and reassure you that there is light after the darkness. But more importantly to celebrate the beautiful cycle of life. If you are fortunate to have parents like me and my sister, they teach you how to live, love and ultimately how to die with dignity. When all is said and done can a child ask for anything more from their parents? Love all the people all the time.

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Journey to Justice Launch, Bristol

Professor Robert Beckford giving an inspiring speech at the launch of the Bristol part of the Journey to Justice traveling exhibition, which aims to inspire and empower people to take action for social justice through learning from human rights movements and the arts. More information on events and activities here. The exhibition is located at Bristol Cathedral, College Green, Bristol BS1 5TJ, Mon – Fri 08:00 – 16:30, Sat/Sun 08:00 – 15:30 and is free of admission charges. The traveling exhibition on the US civil rights movement tells the extraordinary story of some of the less well-known women, men and children involved, its music and its links to the UK. The Bristol exhibition also includes:

  • A timeline of Bristol’s long and vibrant history of social activism and social justice to the present day.
  • Bristol Bus Boycott in 1963 which paved the path for UK legislation on race equality.
  • Peaches Golding, a family’s journey to Justice – from slavery to human rights campaigning to England’s first black High Sheriff and Lord Lieutenant.
  • Refusing To Kill – Bristol’s WWI conscientious objectors.

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Something for the Weekend, Sir?

“Afternoon boss.” I smile, acknowledge the welcome with a slight nod of the head and sit down. There are 2 people before me and the 3 chairs are already occupied. Intermittent silence is broken with idle chat concerning a variety of subjects, cars, football, local curiosity, disputes, and hearsay. Men getting their haircut can be a curious ritual, but one passed down from father to son.

Ralph Hoyte – Bristol Based Writer and Poet

The bicycle is dismounted, trouser clips, helmet and boots are removed unceremoniously, a warm greeting offered. We immediately venture into the kitchen for lunch. My pet dog Poppy makes a fuss and seeks attention. Ralph’s head is full of the book he has just completed, which has taken him six years to complete and is the first in a trilogy.  Ralph Hoyte is a Bristol-based writer and poet whom I have known for almost two decades. He readily poses for the session and to elicit the impact of the different shots I asked him a variety of questions to reflect upon, some humourous and others not so. If you would like to find out more about Ralph’s work then click (here).

Paul Reid: Director of the Black Cultural Archives, Brixton

Paul Reid is the first Director of Black Cultural Archives, which is located in the centre of Brixton, London and founded in 1981. The Black Cultural Archives’ mission is to collect, preserve and celebrate the heritage and history of Black people in Britain.  They opened the UK’s first dedicated Black heritage centre in Brixton, London in July 2014.  The Centre has  an unparalleled archive collection offering insight into the history of people of African and Caribbean descent in Britain. Paul Reid is the Director of the organisation and heritage centre.