“In resisting racism, I find it insightful to seek out spaces for solidarity and new ways of building community.” - Jj Fadaka
Our latest monthly Anchor Event - a powerful collaboration between CWC members Chantal Auguste and Jj Fadaka and Phoenix Archer of the Scottish Civic Trust - fostered beautiful connections, insightful discussions and impactful creative contributions creating a ripple effect of anti-racism and cultural celebration throughout the community.
The day began with a free community lunch courtesy of CWC member and entrepreneur Chantal, also known as Queen Vital Vegan, who specialises in delicious and nourishing Caribbean cuisine. For this event, she created a range of dishes inspired by various influences from around the globe (though the Trinidadian doubles were particularly enjoyable!). In addition to the enlightening range of dishes prepared, Chantal kicked off the conversation about cultural diversity by placing different herbs and spices on each table to provide the opportunity for a tactile, sensory experience of the ingredients to those enjoying them. This was a beautiful way to connect to the food itself, and also to open up discussions about celebrating the diversity of dishes on offer and their significance to the cultures that they belong to. Over 70 people came to enjoy this cultural kaleidoscope of cuisine - in fact, the event attracted so many participants that we rushed to set up extra tables outside in order to accommodate everyone!
After lunch, poet and CWC member Jj Fadaka facilitated a comfortable atmosphere for sensitive conversations about racism and how it affects the people of our community. Members of the public enjoyed slavery-free hot chocolate, which set the tone nicely for a warm, welcoming and frank discussion around the ways that we can all actively resist racism. The session began with reflections on the colonial history that the UK shares with other countries and how the UK has become a multicultural nation. The workshop was designed to demystify terms like supremacy and diversity, and we got to know each other with an exercise introducing ourselves with groupings that felt liberating rather than constraining. As a collective group, we then discussed what remained of colonialism in our lives today, including our understanding of racism, identity, allyship and solidarity. Jj provided a caring collaborative forum that held space for difference, discussion and powerful vulnerability. Despite there being so many people, each group member listened patiently and attentively to every word uttered. Jj’s workshop was deeply empowering as well as insightful, as the group explored ways to dismantle the sense of inner shame that oppressive systems foster and embrace our cultural differences, ultimately reaching a mindset of joy and authentic self-celebration.
The next offering - a therapeutic music workshop with artist and heritage professional Phoenix Archer - was introduced beautifully by someone named Sahana, who had visited the space for the first time, sharing her singing voice with us all. Phoenix then led a dynamic, inspiring session based on collaboration and connection through music, where attendees were given guidance on finding their individual voices before exploring different rhythms and beats together. People enjoyed delving into their creativity and commented on how active and affirming Phoenix was.
An amazing day of conscious connection and conversation was perfectly rounded off by an open mic hosted by CWC member and mindfulness facilitator Raymond Collins - and what an open mic it was! We enjoyed musical contributions and movement exercises as well as readings of original poetry and texts on the subject of resisting racism and celebrating diversity. So many people shared with us for the first ever time, and both the talent and raw heart onstage touched everyone in the room; the evening was full of tears, laughter and joy.
We look forward to seeing you at the next Anchor Event!