By LaToyah, Bristol
There’s no doubt about it; we live in challenging times. I admit, I have struggled and continue to struggle with the challenges we currently face. For me, the Brexit vote changed everything. My sense of identity has been shaken to its core. The disintegration of our national discourse is worrying. At a time when our leaders should be offering strong, principled leadership, we are constantly confronted with half-truths and lies from those who put self-interest before the national interest. Things don’t look good.
As an African Caribbean, British born woman with dual heritage sons, I worry about the place they will find when they get older. I fear that the UK has returned to the dark, grey days of the 1980s; the 5 year old inside me still feels scared of the racist graffiti on the streets. I want better for the UK and for my children; our children.
What fills me with hope is that I have a 9-year-old who is politically engaged. For me, EVERYTHING is political, especially if you are a person of colour. A positive out of this current state of affairs is that we will grow a generation of switched on people who are engaged with the world around them. This is a good thing.
Similarity to this, I am hopeful that the next generation of leaders are being shaped right now. They are learning from the mistakes being made.
I am hopeful that grassroots projects like The Roots Programme will lead the way in ‘crossing the aisle’ to talk to the people we disagree with. In Bristol, City Conversations is challenging the city to come to terms with its colonial past and some of this work means engaging everyone in the debate, even when it’s uncomfortable.
We live in uncomfortable times. We have to decide whether to lean into this or turn away.