As with every January, it has dawned on me how fast 2023 has come and gone.
My year was filled with highs and lows, growth and losses and over the holiday season, I had plenty to reflect on, and be thankful for.
Approaching a new year is always such a rejuvenating feeling because no matter what you have experienced in the year prior, a fresh start is here.
Another opportunity to write another chapter as the author of your own story. For a short time, we are provided the wonderful opportunity to paint a completely clean canvas with what we hope to accomplish and experience.
I’m so ready for it. Gone but never forgotten I am passionate about the community and those who dedicate their lives to it. So I was saddened to end the year with the death of Benjamin Zephaniah and to start it with the passing of Camille Batmanghelidjh aged just 61, who I had the pleasure of meeting on several occasions.
She was the founder of Charity Kids Company and a social justice campaigner, and watching her career over the past few years was an example of the importance of not judging people.
She was an Iranian-Belgian woman who did so much for young people in the diaspora. She started the charity in 1996 in south London to provide support to up to 36,000 deprived and vulnerable inner-city children and young people.
In 2015, she stepped down amid allegations of mismanagement – but a High Court cleared her of wrongdoing.
The allegations were proven false, but the charity’s reputation was damaged irretrievably and collapsed. She died on her birthday, January 1st. Brixton Soup Kitchen said she spent her last Christmas at home wrapping over 100 presents for vulnerable children.
Her life was testimony to the beauty of living a life of giving. Black Wall St columnist Daniella Maison penned a tribute to her friend Benjamin Zephaniah.
As well as being a prolific poet, Zephaniah was an important campaigner. After his sudden death from a brain tumour, his family asked well-wishers to send money to the charities the Vegan Society or Inquest, which helps bereaved families of people who have died in custody, immigration detention, mental health settings or where there have been failings by the state.
A Hopeful Year As usual, Black Wall St Media covered a wide array of stories from across the diaspora that filled me with hope.
I was riveted to read about an innovative young Kenyan inventor who has developed a smart glove that can translate sign language into speech in real time, revolutionising how individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing communicate.
The inventor behind this game-changing technology is Roy Allela, a 25-year-old Kenyan who was inspired by his deaf niece’s struggle to communicate.
My heart warmed up when I read about a groundbreaking revelation, as GoDaddy’s Venture Forward research initiative has unveiled a report showcasing the remarkable strides made by Black women in the entrepreneurial landscape.
The findings highlight the significant impact of Black women entrepreneurs in shaping the business landscape and contributing to reducing the racial wage gap.
Sony is set to significantly impact the African entertainment landscape with a whopping $10 million earmarked for start-ups across South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, and Ghana.
This move, announced through the Sony Innovation Fund: Africa (SIF:AF), reflects a commitment to fostering talent in various sectors, including gaming, music, film, and content distribution.
It’s about time, and I say we need to see more companies put their money where their mouths are when it comes to investing in diversity. An important call for blood was featured, which I cannot emphasise enough, having worked to raise awareness in this field as a PR expert.
The reality is that an increasing number of cases, particularly diseases like leukaemia, sickle cell, and anaemia, highlight a critical need for more black blood donors.
The importance of diverse blood donations, especially from the black community, cannot be overstated. The ACLT is a leading Blood cancer/disorder charity dedicated to raising awareness of the severe shortage of donors on United Kingdom Stem Cell, Blood and Organ donor registers.
Registering as a blood donor is a simple process that takes only a few minutes, with details available on the NHS Blood Donor’s website. I would urge those reading this to please register as a blood donor; this act is a major and meaningful way to champion the diaspora.
It is true what they say: life is what happens in the little moments. In 2024, I intend to mix it up.
Make big moves and be present in the small ones.
“Slow down, but also be spontaneous. Give to my community but to always put myself first. Mostly, I intend to make this year one for my own personal history book. I hope you’ll do the same.”Black Wall St. MediaContributor