Saturday afternoon 29th October and a visit to the Barton Hill Settlement, Bristol to photograph an event. An intergenerational audience awaits the stories of women, men, and young people from the local Somalian community. Towards the far side of the hall, a makeshift creche has been established where the children go about the business of play in total disregard of the adult world a matter of feet away.
I hear stories of inspiration, determination, survival, hardship, joy, and love. The young lady who talks about her pride of being British, a Man’s journey from a war-torn land and the struggle of seeking to integrate. I feel privileged to have shared my Saturday afternoon with such a vibrant group of people. The laughter is consuming, the stories intoxicating.
I leave, walk across the road, get in my car and turn the key. The radio sparks to life, “Security forces in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, have ended a night long siege, which had left 23 people dead and more than 30 injured. The attack came 2 weeks after a bombing in the city had left more than 350 dead.” This horrific event is taking place 7500 miles away from where I now sit, as I look across the road and to the building where through the large window I can see people smiling, laughing, the sharing food and children playing. I sit, pause, watch and think.
Sunday afternoon 15th October and as part of the month-long Journey to Justice programme. A walk, which takes the participant on an exploration, which examines the complex history of Bristol’s involvement with slavery and its aftermath. A mixture of storytelling, music, singing, and movement based on the oral traditions and family histories of the descendants of enslaved people from the Caribbean and Africa. More photographs here and more information on the programme of Journey to Justice activities here.
11th October and over to Redland where Vivienne Jackson from the Jewish Council for Racial Equality is giving a talk, hosted by DAVAR Bristol (The Jewish Cultural Institute in Bristol and the South West) as part of the Journey for Justice (Bristol) programme. The Jewish Council for Racial Equality (JCORE) has been working for 40 years tackling problems caused by racial inequality. Tonight Viviene talks passionately about the present climate of anti-immigration and Islamophobic sentiment in much of the national press and a JCORE project called JUMP. The JUMP project is run by dedicated volunteers and provides one-to-one befriending support for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and young people who arrive in the UK without parents or a guardian. Details on the JUMP project can be found here Stand Up and Be Counted where you can obtain more information and make a donation. DAVAR Bristol (The Jewish Cultural Institute in Bristol and the South West) is an independent organisation promoting events relating to Jewish heritage and culture. Events are open to all, regardless of ethnic origin or religious affiliation. The meeting provides a forum for advancing understanding of Jewish life, culture, and history. The regular programme is a series of six monthly talks between September and April covering a broad spectrum of topics ranging from history, philosophy, art, humour and personal reflections. You can find more information about DAVAR here.
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.