I grew up in Shropshire in a very white and conservative community.
I went to an all-white school and the only other person that I knew who was not white was in fact my sister. I’m mixed race. My mother is Sicilian and my father Jamaican.
My first experience of racism was in primary school. It was a tiny institution in the countryside, and I was the only child there that was black. I say black because although I am of mixed heritage, the black is more significant than the white. I suffered abuse from children and teachers, it was an awful time in my life. I developed a stutter which meant that my education was stunted, and I didn’t learn basic life skills like spelling and numeracy.
I never thought I was different until I became aware of other people’s comments, micro aggressions like asking my mum "is she adopted?", "Can I touch her hair?", "Where is her dad from?," "Are you and her dad still together?" and many more.
They couldn't believe that my mum had married a black man. Let alone a Rastafarian. I am so grateful my parents taught me about both sides of my family. I developed my identity and learnt to be proud of who I am.
My parents used to take me to protests all the time. Every year I go to the National Women’s Day march and I have attended other anti-racism marches. My dad used to work for Kick Racism Out of Football, so we used to go along with him. I was lucky to meet other children from Muslim and Jewish communities and I found they also had experienced racism and prejudice.
After I left rural England, I studied in Birmingham and later at the University of East London where I met some amazing people and realised there is so much more out there than the tiny place where I grew up.