Weʼre raising £1,500 to fight & write against racism through the I Belong Here foundation...
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Everyone needs to feel a sense of belonging but some of us are made to feel as if we don’t belong. I was racially abused while making a journey through the North (a place where I was born and bred, but where a racist man suggested I didn’t belong). The man who racially abused me told me to go back to where I’m from – this is where I’m from. I’m from the North, the great city of Manchester. The man was arrested, charged, pleaded guilty and was convicted of a racially aggravated public order offence.
It’s my aim to transform my experience of hate into one of hope and activism and that’s why I’m fundraising for the I Belong Here foundation, creating virtual and physical places of belonging – through mentorships, a storytelling centre in my childhood neighbourhood in Manchester, and workshops connecting those in inner-cities with nature.
Racism and inequality urgently need to end. That requires systemic change. I need your help to make this dream a reality. Please join me in supporting the project, and help everyone be able to say… I belong here.
The I BELONG HERE initiative has several objectives including:
Offering mentoring to those from marginalised backgrounds – including one-to-one online sessions.
• HOME: I Belong storytelling centre
Creating a physical place of belonging. I grew up in inner-city Manchester and aim to create ‘a house of stories of the North’ in my childhood neighbourhood, inspired by projects such as Ministry of Stories. This space would feature: reading room/workshop space. Books and stories can create a profound sense of belonging, and for far too long marginalised communities have been made to feel that their stories don't belong in books.
• I Belong workshops
Outreach work. Help socially excluded communities have better access to nature through hosting walks and writing workshops getting close to nature of both the city and countryside. Following my experience of being racially abused my mental health suffered and walking in nature did wonders for my wellbeing. Yet inequality in access to nature is an urgent issue.
• Host I Belong Here writing workshops & talks around the UK & worldwide engaging groups marginalised from the publishing industry.
Create virtual spaces of belonging including:
• I Belong Here podcast
We need to be able to discuss issues such as 'white privilege' without being met with defensiveness, hostility and worse. This podcast will not shy away from tackling uncomfortable topics, smash stigma and taboo, and help more be able to have a voice heard and exist and move around in the world freely and without fear.
• I Belong book club
- to amplify the stories of people of colour.
• I Belong Here website / Everyday Racism project: Everyday Racism project: Collating, sharing & speaking up about experiences of 'everyday racism', from macro to microaggressions. The website will also showcase new and guest writing.
• Campaigning against issues of inequality and injustice, maximising partnerships and discussions with supporting organisations.
I received £150 in victim compensation after the man who racially abused me was convicted – in the spirit of ‘paying forward’, I am donating this into the foundation. Matches, or more or less, would be greatly appreciated for this dream to become a reality. Times are tough and every bit of support helps.
Those who donate £150+ will also receive a signed copy of the forthcoming book I Belong Here: A Journey Along the Backbone of Britain which stems from the experience of being racially abused and subsequent journey of reclamation walking through urban and natural wildernesses of Northern England. It is an aim for this book to start a wider movement in place, storytelling and belonging, garnering audiences who have hitherto been excluded from ‘the literary world’.
This project has been featured in: The Observer. Vogue. The Bookseller.
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Good luck Anita! Xx
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