Cheryl Armatrading is the managing director of Antoin Akpom Achievements Foundation, a charity based in Leicester and works with many young people from all walks of life to carry on her son’s legacy. Cheryl is of African Caribbean heritage and shared her lived experiences, culture, challenges, needs and beliefs with us during the webinar.
Key learnings during the conversation were that African Caribbean community came wanting better life opportunities and was met with discrimination. Thus, preventing them from entering professional industries – instead, they were confined to jobs that were deemed suitable through racialised and gender constructions of identity e.g., manual labour, factory jobs for men and nursing & midwifery jobs for women.
Another important aspect were beliefs and family life, Christianity being the main religion, eating meals together as a family as well as having specific roles for the members in the family e.g., the eldest child must care for their younger siblings.
In the Education system, young people found it hard to integrate into the school life and would often clash with teachers as they held different culture to the hosting country e.g., if a black student was not looking their teacher in the eye whilst having a conversation it may be deemed as rude in the UK. But in the Caribbean, it would be seen as disrespectful if you looked an elder in the eye. This leads to students having to have different identities between the public and private spheres.
In terms of food and fruits, although fruit names vary between the different islands, these foods are commonly associated with the Caribbean:
Many families eat big dinners together on Sundays, rice and peas are commonly eaten with a form of meat (lamb, chicken, or pork).
In Health aspect:
Due to the high level of salt in the food a lot of Caribbeans are often diagnosed with:
- This was one of the only ways that conversations could happen between slaves.
- Slaveholders didn’t allow for conversations to happen between the slaves.
- Once a year there was a presentation.
- This was a way for slaves to share secrets and slaveholders thought that it was merely a form of art.
Thank you, Cheryl, what you said resonated with meStaff Member
As a team we have learnt a lot from Cheryl and without that dialogue we wouldn’t have know all the valuable points described above for us to keep empowering our diverse communities and young people we work with, encouraging the recognition of the value of different communities make and the positive identities that exist.
If you would like to know more about our diversity and inclusion work, please contact ZamZam@leicestershirecares.co.uk