IWD: Give Them Their Flowers Whilst They Can Smell Them

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8th March 2021

“And since we all came from a woman, got our name from a woman and our game from a woman… I wonder why we take from our women…” Tupac Shakur, Keep Ya Head Up (1993)

These lyrics from 28 years ago are deep rooted in my existence. Tupac struck a chord with me when I first heard these words on MTV raps on a Saturday morning back in 1993. The power of words is phenomenal, the questions he poses point towards everything I am an advocate for. In the 21st Century, it is not good enough we are still talking about equity and diversity. The universe has balance… yin and yang, night and day, women and men. Like Pac said, we all came from a woman, so let’s celebrate that.

This weekend has been a difficult one for my family and I, as we lost the matriarch of my maternal family. Devastated, lost and numb are words that explain my initial reaction. However, during my time of introspection over the last couple of days, I reminded my family about the positives and the incredible barriers that my grandmother overcame. She had been ill for 2 years and deteriorating as the Dementia set in, taking her away from us bit by bit. She was a survivor, and we celebrated that often! Nan was a miracle in her youth, surviving the trauma of being placed in a children’s home post World War 2, contracting and BEATING the killer of the time Tuberculosis. Overcoming the lack of schooling to teach herself to read and write. My grandmother was a badass, however, no one is badass enough to defeat time and I count my blessings that I got 43 years of her love, influence, character and guidance. It is fitting that today (International Women’s Day) is the 63rd wedding anniversary of my grandparents.

International Women’s Day (IWD) is a celebration of the magnificent women around the world, past, present and future, and their achievements. I am blessed to have an abundance of women in my life who lead, teach, challenge, nurture and enrich it in so many ways. Today is about giving them their flowers whilst they can still smell them and not waiting until they’ve gone to celebrate/mourn/acknowledge their brilliance. So I want to celebrate and acknowledge the influence, guidance and teachings of some of those out there who make an impact on me.

Firstly, my mom is my biggest believer and advocate. My paternal grandmother is another badass (what was it with that generation?) whom instills me with much pride and character coming to set up home in a foreign country. My wife @CLKing_writes is my queen, my ride or die, my rock… none of this is possible without you! My 3 amazing daughters, future leaders, activists, world changers, you are my why, my alarm clock (literally)! My aunty Joy who is an unsung hero in our family. Thank you all

Secondly, my network (ever growing) is inspirational. I must start with Diana Osagie @courageousleader, as she found the ‘roar’ in this Lion, she is amazing. Hannah Wilson @ethicalleader, you are a force of nature! You know exactly how and when to push me out of my comfort zone. Benni Kara @BennieKara you are a bawse of who you do – I marvel at your work. Mal Krishnasamy @MalCPD and Mandy Preville-Findlay @MandyPreville my fellow ‘Loud Moderates’ you are slaying your lane… I love working with you both! Kate Smith @MrsKatieSmith and Audrey Pantelis @Audiekins, I am in awe of you both. Zena @ ZenonosZena you are a Headteacher in waiting. Alison Kriel @AlisonKriel, I want my girls to grow up and have your F*** that S*** attitude! (That absolutely has to be your book title). Dr Jill Berry @Jillberry102 and Professor Rachel Lofthouse @DrRLofthouse you inspire me to do, say and be more! Raj Unsworth @Rrunsworth you kick ass and I love your enthusiasm. Nadine Bernard @Nadineolivia32 you are a phe-nom! I do not know how you do it! Denise Stephenson @DeeLiz72 the driving force behind Reach Out 2 Kids, you have changed so many lives. Claire Stewart-Hall @clairerising, Sharon Porter @Sporteredu, Michaela @mlawsontpp, Djamilla Boothman @missboothman, Rhia Marie @LoveRee_, I am privileged to work with you all – this writing project will be next level! Sophie Murfin @MurfinSophie your Character Education work is second to none in creating aspiration in your school communities! Toria Bono @ToriaClaire small voices, huge impact! Thank you all for everything you do, have done and will do in the future.

Invariably, I will have missed someone, and I apologise in advance. I will get you your flowers soon…

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