ADF Youth Wakanda Dance
As mentioned, we are particularly interested in helping the young. In the Diaspora, young people are often at risk of being caught up in violence – like in the Fishermead shooting incident in 2013. An estimate suggests that there are around twenty gangs in Milton Keynes. This is unacceptable to us, we want to be able to show the youth in the Diaspora and the wider community that there is another way and that gangs are not the place to find a place where they “belong” and that they are indeed welcome and valued members of the wider local community – inside and outside the Diaspora. We hope that our actions in promoting community cohesion, diversity, culture and celebration will eventually lower the crime rates involving youths and particularly those involving youths in the Diaspora.
Complexity of Heritage will take place at Milton Keynes Arts Centre, inviting young people to explore their identity and heritage through creative spoken-word workshops with artists Ngoma Bishop from AMBA (Afrikan Heritage writer group) and the African Diaspora Foundation in Milton Keynes. The written works will be applied onto ceramic objects, supported by MKAC artist leaders Andrew Macdermott and Alondene Phillips, and will be presented at the African Diaspora Day Festival in July 2021.
Heritages and Identities: What makes us who we are?
The word heritage is different for everyone, heritage is a person’s unique inherited sense of identity: the values, traditions, culture, and artefacts handed down by previous generations. We absorb a sense of our heritage throughout our lives as we observe and experience the things that make our family and us unique.
Heritage can express itself in many ways. Most people define their heritage primarily as their ethnic, cultural, or national identity other through skills and emotions. Some people have a strong sense of their heritage, however other people might need to ask themselves some questions to identity their own unique heritage.
Asking the following questions may help you discover elements of your unique heritage identity:
- How would I define my ethnic, cultural, or national identity?
- How does this identity shape my sense of who I am?
- What traditions or rituals do I observe, either in everyday life or on special occasions?
- Where do those traditions come from?
- What are my most prized values, hobbies, or interests? Did my parents, siblings, grandparents, or other relatives share these?
- What positive traits, tendencies, or aptitudes would I use to describe my family in general? How do these traits manifest in my life?
- What values, traits, interests, or hobbies do I have that I see in my own children or grandchildren or that I would wish to see manifested in younger generations in my family?
How to write your poem?
- Choose words; before you start writing your poem, make a list of words that describe your topics, try and choose words that rhyme.
- Write your poem; use your lists of words to begin writing your poem, start with a statement or a question about your heritage topic. When you are writing, remember to use your emotions to make your poem descriptive. Use comparisons to give your reader a picture in their mind.
- Use Line breaks deliberately; Line breaks let the reader know when to pause and gives rhythm to the poem. Be creative and experiment with your line breaks in your poem until you like it!
- Alliterations; If it fits, can you add alliterations? (Alliterations is when two words that begin with the same sound are next to each-other, for example: Sweet Sugar).
- Revise; A poem is never finished after the first draft! Read your poem again and take out words or phrases that you don’t think fit. Can you add more? Do the linebreaks make sense? After you made some changes, read your poem out loud, does it sound complete?
Share your results with us!
The aftermath of the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic undoubtedly brought unprecedented strain on the British educational system, disadvantaging further those who were already left behind – many of whom were Black and Minority Ethnic students (BAME), or EAL Learners (English as an Additional Language). It was our privilege at the ADF to have played a part in giving EAL Learners an opportunity during the summer months to catch up with their learning before their return to school in early September.
During the summer holidays, Heego After School Club was chosen to deliver the tuition and teaching necessary to get our EAL Learners back on track – the ADF Chairperson having a strong belief in the educational ambitions Heego After School Club champions. In collaboration with the EMA department of Milton Keynes Council (Ethnic Minority Achievement), the service Heego After School Club provided was funded for two weeks directly by the EMA. The success of the project meant that Heego After School Club was awarded a further week of funding by the EMA to continue the services provided.
By the end of their intensive course, EAL Learners felt motivated and prepared for their school journey. We were proud at the ADF to see so many BAME and EAL students confident – with future plans to become policemen, doctors and lawyers – giving back to society in appreciation for what we helped provide them through our partners at MKCF, Trubys Garden Tearoom, the EMA branch of MK Council and through Heego After School Club.
Overall, the ADF managed to support five intensive weeks of learning for EAL Learners in Milton Keynes. Around 40 young people from many different backgrounds (including, but not limited to, Italian, Romanian, Somalian and Pakistani) were enrolled in the course Heego After School Club prepared for them. In the future, the ADF looks forward to working closer with Heego After School Club to ensure the success of BAME, EAL and native learners – providing education and opportunity to disadvantaged members of the diaspora and those further afield.