Celebrate Windrush with Baroness Floella Benjamin

3 of the Windrush originals

Graphite portrait of Windrush arrivals by Jasmine Williams.

Baroness Benjamin tells it like it was.

“No coloureds welcome”

…was the sign that the Windrush pioneers faced in 1948 because the Government did not make it absolutely clear that the Caribbean people were invited to come to the UK to rescue the NHS, the transport system and factories after the war.”

Baroness Benjamin

Baroness Benjamin

Baroness Benjamin asked this question in the House of Lords on Jan 8th this year.

“To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the arrival of the MV Empire Windrush at Tilbury Docks in June 1948 carrying Caribbean people who had been encouraged to emigrate to the United Kingdom by the Government, to come to rescue the NHS, the transport system and factories after the war.”

We are currently looking for families of Windrush who would like to share their experiences, with a view to celebrating their heritage, especially for teenagers in South London.

A recent programme shows the kind of welcome and accommodation they recieved

©Christina 2018

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Language is not gender neutral.

Language is not gender neutral.

Sheboard empowering girls and women

Explicitly or implicitly, certain adjectives are female, and certain adjectives male.

If you type in “women”, the app suggests words such as  “lead”, “smart” and “strong”.

The keyboard app suggests empowering words, such as changing the word “beautiful” to “happy”

Type the phrase “you look so” and it suggests words like “confident” and “smart”. “Beautiful” changes to “happy”.

It also replaces popular phrases. When you type “my little”, the keyboard suggests “adventurer” before “princess”, and if the texter commits to using the phrase, Sheboard offers solutions to make your little princess more empowered, such as  “good” and “leader”. Continue reading

Global Woman

Global woman.

Juliana Ruhfus
Part two

The world needs women of vision, women whose  mission is not just narrow nationalism, but to the benefit of people everywhere.    Juliana Ruhfus describes herself as a television journalist and broadcaster who specializes in investigations and current affairs.

     “Journalists really need to globalize.   Crime globalized a long time ago, why shouldn’t we?”

Some people are warning, that  we are in pre world war II mode.   That technological progress has been so quick. that people have been left behind, and so they start going on the street or following simple solutions, that they understand, because they feel left out by the speed of the change.  Then start blaming that on “the other”.

The one thing I have learnt, if there is anything to make money off they will do it.  They will sell anything, they will sell  babies, they will steal your organs.

Continue reading

HeLa

HeLa
Henrietta Lacks

If nothing else Black History Month is making visible, people and events hitherto unsung.

Also this month we will celebrate women from STEM.  Science Maggie Aderin Pocock is the obvious choice.  Technology, Anne-Marie Imafidon, and the NASA women, hidden figures, see below.   Can anyone help with a woman engineer, preferably British?

HeLa

It sounds like a name of a chemical from the Periodic table. Say it out loud. A HeLa cell is used in scientific research. It is one of the oldest and most commonly used human cell lines, in research. Cells taken without permission from a black woman suffering from cancer, in the only hospital to take black patients. She later died in great pain, but she left an incredible heritage, as hers were the only cells grown in a lab which would survive for more than a few days. These cells of hers were considered the first immortal cells and were produced and used to  research everything  from  polio, to aids and cancer.

photo of HeLa

Henrietta Lacks from Wikipaedia

The Henrietta Lacks Foundation was founded  by Rebecca Skloot,

author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

It is believed that over 20 tons of her cells have been produced, for research, yet no one knew, until her family were asked to provide a genetic history. She is finally recognized on October 11, in Atlanta, Georgia, Henrietta Lacks’ Day.    The school  Henrietta Lacks Health and Bioscience High School in Washington commemorates her. It is so fitting that the 4 letters chosen, for the immortal cells of Henrietta Lacks should result in the word Healer.

©2017ionthecity.com

Nicola Williams is the first Ombudsman for the Military.

Nicola Williams is the first Ombudsman for the Military.

“While the power structure is still largely white male from a certain social certain class, a white man of a certain age, 50s and 60 will have his consciousness raised through his daughters. As they get older, they are more aware of age discrimination. They want their girls to have the opportunities they had.”

Nicola Williams becomes the Ombudsman for the armed services

Portrait of new Service Complaints Ombudsman for the Armed Forces Nicola Williams

Previously she was the Service Complaints Commissioner (SCC), which gives her oversight of how complaints are dealt with in all three sections of the military: Army, Navy and Air-force. Her previous post was as Ombudsman to the Cayman Islands, taking her back to her Caribbean roots.

Not bad going for a black girl growing up in South London, where her teacher’s expectation at A levels was to advise her to get a job in Woolworth.

Nicola Williams trained first as a lawyer, then barrister, then judge, Continue reading

Steve the refugee from Germany

Dame Stephanie Shirley came to England as a refugee

Founder of the first all women Tech company.

Stephanie Shirley (later known as Steve) set up an all woman software company back in 1962 and became a billionaire philanthropist, who has never forgotten that she owed her life to the kinder transport, and the generosity of the country, which took her in. She told Sue McGregor who interviewed her, “Having had my life saved, I thought it was important not to fritter it away.” Continue reading

Surgeon Elizabeth Gordon

Surgeon Elizabeth Gordon

Founder member of the Medical Arm of Amnesty International in 1975

As part of an Australian medical team in Vietnam during the war we treated all people regardless of whether they were North or South. This was a proper hospital at Bien Hoa. You could pick out the Viet Cong by their accent. I treated a man with gunshot wounds to his legs. I fixed him up and the same day he was removed from the hospital, by the Vietnamese police.

“That’s when I became aware of torture.”

In 1975 five of us got together and set up the Medical Group of     Amnesty International.

  Dr Elizabeth Gordon FRCS doesn’t trumpet her achievements. She is a precise woman who sees aesthetics, not just in music and art, but in the elegance and simplicity of the instruments which she uses for surgery.  She loves the precision and delicacy of the instruments.

DR.Dr. Gordon Trustee of the Medical Foundation for Victims of Torture. 1985

One of the original founders of the Medical Group of Amnesty International 1975

“Why do you want to be a surgeon, are you going to be a missionary? “

Continue reading