Sign up with your email address to be the first to know about new products, VIP offers, blog features & more.

Tag Archives racism

10 Black History Month Events to Attend in 2019

Black History Month was first celebrated in the United Kingdom in 1987. It was organised through the leadership of Ghanaian analyst Akyaaba Addai-Sebo. He had served as a coordinator of special projects for the Greater London Council (GLC) and created a collaboration to get it underway.

Black History Month happens in October every year. Although it started 30 years ago, I never felt like celebrated the month as I should. Which for me has always been a shame. Throughout historyblack people have been discriminated against and treated badly because of the colour of their skin.

This year I wanted to dedicate my blog to Black History Month. I want to shed light on the good things we are doing as a community. I will be posting a blog feature called – Black History Month: 10 Black Bloggers Making Modern Black History

Today I want to share a few Black History Month Events that will be happening across the UK.

10 Black History Month Events in 2019

1. Launch of Civil Service Wide Black History Month Celebration 2019 – London

Interested in Civil Service? The Civil Service Race Forum and the BEIS Faith and Minority Ethnic Network (FAME) are bringing to you the launch event for Black History Month 2019. With a theme of ‘Involve to Evolve’, join us for a day full of keynote speeches and panels. It will address important questions of how we should be tackling race issues. To evolve the Civil Service into a more representative, diverse and inclusive workforce. For more info and tickets.

Cost: Free

Date: 1 October

2. Black History River Cruise 5th October – London

A three-hour cruise along the Thames from Temple to Vauxhall to Greenwich. There will highlights on the hidden African/Caribbean history on display. For more info and tickets.

Cost: £36

Date: 5 October

N.B I will be going to this event myself. If you would like to join me please do let me know.

3. Black History Month African-Caribbean Fusion Festival – Portsmouth

The African-Caribbean Fusion Festival will be held at the University of Portsmouth Eldon Building from 12:00-5:00 pm. It is being organised by the Portsmouth Black History Committee. A day to celebrate the heritage, culture and diversity of the local African-Caribbean community. For more info and tickets.

Cost: Free

Date: 5 October

4. What’s Her Story? A Black History Month Workshop – London

Black Women’s History- What’s Her Story? aims to raise awareness of the key African and Caribbean female figures in British history from the Roman era to the present day. Through discovery and discussion that celebrates these women’s lives and their contributions to our history. For more info and tickets

Cost: Free

Date: 15 October

5. One Africa Networking – Birmingham

One Africa Network (OAN) will be holding an event for like-minded business professionals and entrepreneurs in Birmingham. Attending our monthly events is an excellent way to strengthen relationships, share innovative ideas, insights, career and new business opportunities. Opportunites to speed network with other delegates and share inspiring ideas. For more info and tickets

Cost: Free

Date: 25 October

6. Comedy Shutdown Wolves Wolverhampton

Check out some of the best Urban Comedians in the great settings of the Belgrade Theatre Coventry. On the night you have the ferociously quick-witted Kane Brown. The veteran comedy Host Kat B, Smash Entertainz from Belly Buss Comedy and our favourite Auntie Maureen Younger. For more info and tickets

Cost: £15.00

Date: 26 OctoberWolverhampton, 19 October Leicester and 18 October Coventry

7. ”African Cultural Event 2019” Cambridge

Cambridge African Network, as part of its celebration of Black History Month 2019, is hosting a full day two-part family event. For more info and tickets.

Cost: £0 – £13.52

Date: 12 October

8. Telling Tales: Black History MonthNorthampton

From poets to storytellers, The University of Northampton and the wider Northampton(shire) community is filled with artistic talent.

On October 28, will be celebrating some talent with the latest session of Telling Tales, the Library’s very own Telling Tales: Black History Month. For more info and tickets.

Cost: Free

Date: 29 October

9. Pressure – London

Celebrate Black History Month with our screening of Britain’s first black film. Set in 70s London, Pressure tells the story of Tony, a bright school-leaver and son of West Indian immigrants, who finds himself torn between his parents’ church-going conformity and his brother’s Black Power militancy. A vivid account of the cultural tensions between the Windrush generation and their children, now native to Britain, Pressure is powered by raw, authentic performances and political bite. For more info and tickets.

Cost: £8.50 for under 25s £5.00

Date: 9 October

10. Discussion Panel – Saying it Proud, Saying it in Black – London

50th Anniversary celebrations for Bogle-L’Ouverture. Publication for a radical London-based publishing company founded in 1968 by Guyanese activists Jessica Huntley and Eric Huntley.

Chaired by Beverley Mason, this discussion with guest speakers Eric Huntley and Leila Howe will explore the radical power of Blackness. Black publishing and the role of bookshops in the Black community.

Cost: £10.00

Date: 6 October

A Bonus Event: My Experience With {Pastor Of Comedy} MCOJB – Kent

An award-winning international stand up comedian, event host, Master of ceremony, actor, an entertainer and mentor. Mc OJB is a household name, and humour merchant. He began his comedy career in the university, where he got his name Pastor Of Comedy and has since graced stages with international comedians like Julius Agwu, Senator, Alibaba, Gordons D Berlusconi, AY (Ayo Makun), Comedian Accapella, Bovi to mention a few. For more info and tickets.

Cost: £20.00 VIP £50.00

Date: 13 October

Will you be celebrating Black History Month this year? What will you be doing? Do you have any events that you would like to share?

Share this article

Guest Post: Experienced Discrimination in Sydney

Welcome to the first shared story of discrimination while travelling. When I read Rakiya story I totally emphasised because I myself went through a similar account when I travelled to Australia. I will have to save that story for another day, for now, please take the time to read: Have you ever experienced Discrimination While Travelling: Sydney

Arrival

After a 14-hour flight, I knew this was going to be the start to a great vacation. I always say, “long flights lead to beautiful destinations.” However, this time I was greatly mistaken. I had the worst experience with Sydney customs.

Airport

I felt they were racially profiling my boyfriend and I because we were the only people of colour. They pulled us away as soon as we grabbed our luggage took us to a private search looking through all our bags piece by piece. I wasn’t offended with the search of the luggage more so of the questions they asked my boyfriend and me. They asked questions like much money do you make a year, have you done any drugs recently such as cocaine, methamphetamine, or heroin, can you afford your stay here? After asking those questions of course I had an attitude with them. I felt those questions were inappropriate, and not what I am typically used to going through customs.

Conclusion

I do believe Sydney customs are racists. As they checked our bags they noticed there was nothing illegal or questionable. This was the worst customs experience ever! So, please be aware of the customs in Sydney.

If you would like to read more of Rakiya story then please have a look at her website – The Sights of Sydney.

You may already know that I have now opened my blog to share other stories of discrimination while travelling. If you would like your account to be shared, please follow the link – Have you ever experienced discrimination?

Share this article

Things You Should Know If You’re Wrongfully Arrested Abroad

Going on a holiday usually involves a nice getaway for a few days of work. For me at least. It usually means I experience a view of a city or spend some time by the sea. Travelling for me is not only my form of escape but a time to educate and refresh myself for my return home. It never ever involves being arrested for a false accusation.

On the 1st of August, I was invited by my boyfriend to meet his parents. In the trip, I knew I wanted to see the sites of Athens. What I experienced still till this day has left me humiliated and traumatised. How things can be massively exaggerated and blow out of proportion is beyond understanding. If you are yet to read the full story please read the full story – Arrested at the Acropolis: What Really Happened. 

There is guidance already on what one should do if arrested in a foreign country. After the ordeal of what I went through, I would suggest every single person that travels to read them. They can be found on this link – Help if you’re arrested abroad 

Protect yourself if you are arrested:

In all the countries I have been I have never ever been arrested! I feel it’s essential to know the following things below:

  • Know the number of the British Embassy for the country you are travelling too
  • Do not sign anything unless you fully understand what is being asked.
  • Contact your local embassy immediately
  • Request for a lawyer and a translator
  • Always have some form of identification with you on your person
  • Never argue with the local authorities
  • Tell the truth
  • Importantly stay calm and comply with the authorities

Looking back at the incident now, I don’t know how this could have been avoided. It could have happened anywhere and to anyone, but it occurred to me in Greece Athens, a country notoriously known for racism.

The Golden Dawn was a party that sat in the Greek parliament; and one of most far-right parties in Europe. While the party itself rejects the fascist label, it nonetheless espouses all core fascist- and more specifically Nazi- principles.

Five things you should be aware if you are ever arrested in a foreign country.

You can call the British Embassy

The first thing to do if you can is to ring the local British Embassy. There is an emergency contact number which you can also contact if the local embassy is closed. Unfortunately, I was unable to get through to the embassy at the time. One, I was hysterical and two my phone wasn’t allowing me to make calls.

When you do speak with the embassy, be sure to explain to them what happened clearly. They will advise you on what next to do, make them aware of where you are currently. The embassy can also arrange for friends and family to be informed. So be sure to identify someone you deeply trust.

Do not argue with the authorities (comply)

Comply with whatever the authorities ask you to do (within reason). This can be difficult if there is a language barrier. Do not sign anything you do not understand.

I was able to know what I needed to do next through signals. If they make signals for you to move or they are pushing you out of a site. I would advise you to comply and not argue.

Ask for a Translator 

According to the Acropolis, Police Station was convinced that they couldn’t provide me with any legal advice or a lawyer. This made me extremely uncomfortable, but there wasn’t much I could do at the time. I was very fortunate that my boyfriend agreed to translate the statement. If you can get a professional please do so.

Ask for Legal Support  

As a British Citizen, if arrested, you’re entitled to a lawyer and a translator. I, unfortunately, didn’t to receive any of these benefits until I was presented at court. Once you have contacted the British Embassy, they should be able to consult with what you should do next.

Remain calm  

This has to be the most important advice I can give you. You won’t really know or understand what is going on. In such an ordeal, many people will be telling you different bits of information. Try and remain calm in shock, you won’t understand what is going on.

If possible, try and remain calm because it can be terrifying. It was most certainly the scariest thing I have ever experienced in my life. Moreover, I hope and pray that I never go through such an incident again. What helped me the most was having the love and support from you all. It really assured me that your prayers would be rightfully answered.

If you know you have done nothing wrong, then you have no reason to be at fault. I was able to speak the truth and immediately acquitted.

Thank you for taking the time to share, read and show your continued support. You may already know that I have now opened my blog to share other stories of discrimination while travelling. If you would like your account to be shared, please follow the link – Have you ever experienced discrimination?

Share this article

Arrested At The Acropolis: What Really Happened

There are several different versions of the story, and I only want to tell the truth about what happened to me in Athens. So, before I start, I want to state the facts of what happened:

  • On 1st August 2019, I went to the Acropolis temple with my boyfriend and his sister as we took pictures, I was grabbed by a woman and pushed out of the site. I was not once asked to leave or given any warning.
  • There was absolutely nothing wrong with my dress, I was arrested because a false accusation was made against me.
  • I was wrongly accused of a breach of sexual decency due to Karkos Anastasious, making a false statement that I lifted my dress twice.
  • The Acropolis site said they had video evidence of this. The surveillance never was presented to the police, me or the court.
  • I was acquitted.
  • I am now in the process of suing Karkos Anastasious for lying and racially targeting me for something I didn’t do.
View this post on Instagram

On the 1st August 2019, I was falsely accused for a ?????? ?? ?????? ??????? by a guard at the Parthenon Acropolis site. ⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣ In his statement he said that I lifted my dress and flashed my geneitals twice to young children and adults that where sightseeing. This was complete fabrication, he also said that this was recorded on their surveillance camera at the site. This was never shown to me or the police when he gave his false statement.⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣ I spent the next 24 hours in police custody and was eventually taken to court to explain the truth. The judges could clearly see I was innocent and I was acquitted immediately. ⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣ I am now being trolled on social media for speaking the truth. I understand people are entitled to their opinions as I am also, and I will continue to say that this was racism at its finest because other people where dressed similar if not in lighter outfits and I was targeted. I was not asked to leave I was screamed at in Greek and bunded into a room and was not told what I had done in English. I was lucky that my bf was able to translate to me what was being said. ⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ Please understand that this had nothing to do with what I was wearing, I don't think it is a crime not to wear a bra. I was arrested because I was falsely accused of something I didn't do. ⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣ I would like to thank those that have supported me in such a traumatic incident. I can't express to you how terrified I was for something I would never do. ⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣Please let the truth be told. ⁣#TravellingWhileBlack⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣

A post shared by Adebola of #MyBreakingViews (@mybreakingviews) on

ARRESTED IN ATHENS

Two weeks ago, a guard at the Parthenon Acropolis in Athens wrongly accused me of exposing my genitals to children, leading to a traumatic series of events involving handcuffs, a charge of sexual indecency and more than 24 hours in custody at a Greek police station.

It has been an incredibly difficult past few weeks and to say that I’ve been shaken by this ordeal is a mild way to put it. There have been many different, sometimes false interpretations of what went on that fateful day, but here I am finally, presenting the truth.

THE ARRIVAL

My boyfriend Solomon and I arrived in Athens, El. Venizelos International Airport on 31st July at around 9.15pm after a 3-and-a-half hours’ flight from London’s Luton Airport. We were tired from a full day at work but mostly excited to explore the city we had been planning to visit for months.

Athens was where Solomon grew up and where most of his family still lives. They emigrated to Greece from Nigeria shortly after Solomon’s first birthday in search of a better life. Seeing his excitement when we arrived was an emotional moment for me.

It was obvious in his face as we sat on the x95 bus that he had a lot of fond memories growing up in Greece, and I was grateful to be sharing this special moment with him. Solomon had told me many stories about growing up in the birthplace of democracy. He told me that Athens was a city that truly expressed itself, which was evident by the endless number of graffiti engulfing the streets. I was truly excited to get to know this city more intimately.

The trip was also meant to be extra special as it was when I would meet Solomon’s parents for the first time. I am not going to lie, I was very nervous at first but they welcomed me with open arms and Greek Hospitality which made me feel truly at home.

THE ACROPOLIS

While we were planning the trip, we knew that visiting Athens’ iconic monuments were on the agenda. My trip was only for 3 days, so I prioritised seeing the Hellenic Parliament, the Acropolis and Plaka.

The Acropolis is an ancient fortress which sits atop a rocky hill in Athens. In English, ”acro” means the highest point while “polis” means city. It’s a beautiful site which homes a number of historically significant ancient Greek buildings and architecture.

I was so excited about visiting the site that I went to Boohoo and got a long halter-neck white dress. The idea was to dress like a Greek Goddess. It was the perfect dress, especially for the sometimes unbearable Greek heat (think 40 degrees 104 Fahrenheit!).

We embarked on our sightseeing trip mid-afternoon on 1st of August the second day we arrived. We then made our way to the Acropolis after a fruitful visit to the parliament. At the Parliament, I was impressed by how they were able to sustain the heat in their uniform.

When we arrived at the Acropolis, we were advised not to walk to the top of the site as it was too hot, so we went to do some other sightseeing around the area. From the architecture to the natural landscapes and the company that I had, everything about Athens was lovely and inspiring.            

At about 5.30pm, Solomon, his sister Rhoda and I headed over to the Acropolis. I had already seen lots of different pictures on social media and was excited about going over to see the historical site. I had learned that the Acropolis was built for the Goddess Athena, so I knew my outfit honoured that and was appropriate.

We headed straight to the top, taking pictures along the way. There were lots of laughs and even more photo-taking. We stood in front of the Parthenon, taking turns to take pictures. After Solomon posed for photos, it was my turn to pose for the camera. As I was posing, I felt my whole body being aggressively grabbed.

CHAOS AND CONFUSION

I wasn’t sure what was going on but tried my best to keep my cool while I was forcefully escorted by a woman and 3 to 4 other guards with walkie-talkies. In my confusion, I asked for an explanation in English. Instead of being answered, I was screamed at in Greek.

At this point, Solomon and Rhoda started speaking in Greek while I was still being escorted down the rocky and unbalanced terrain. I understood nothing and was confused but still didn’t think much of it.

I finally got to the bottom of the Acropolis and was shoved into a small room. I started to worry but wasn’t too panicked. It’s probably just a solvable misunderstanding, I thought. But when Rhoda burst into tears and said ”you’re a liar!” in English, I knew something was wrong.

Rhoda then explained to me that the guard said we were taking pornographic pictures and I literally burst out laughing at the absurdity of his accusation. I’m free-spirited and adventurous, sure. But Pornographic pictures? Umm, last time I checked, nipples are still banned from Instagram and that’s where all my pictures end up.

I quickly noticed a police car but did not believe that it would be for me. I was becoming restless and confused. Solomon had already shown the pictures to the staff, which were clearly far from pornographic, so I didn’t understand what else they wanted. Rhoda then explained that we should wait for ”CCTV evidence” of me taking pornographic pictures, evidence the guards said they had. I knew this wasn’t true and was happy to run along with their lies.

After about 5 mins or so of waiting for the purported proof, the guards asked for our IDs. As we did not have our passports with us, the guards said they could not show us the footage.

The police were already walking towards us and I started to get scared.  When the police came they continued communicating in Greek, so I left Solomon and Rhoda to deal with the police on my behalf. When I explained that I didn’t speak Greek, they told me in English that we had to give our phones and come to the police station to verify our identities and to search for the alleged ”pornographic pictures”. They said it will only take 5 minutes. I knew I had done nothing wrong, so I complied. I handed my phone to the police officers and was driven to the police station.

GREEK POLICE & CCTV FOOTAGE THAT NEVER WAS

An hour passed at the police station and I started to ask questions: When will we be leaving? When can I get my phone back? No one, not the eight officers surrounding us, answered my questions.

After asking them repeatedly, one officer finally explained to me in English that a guard at the Acropolis had alleged that I had flashed myself. The guard said that I had opened my legs wide to show my genitals to the public. I rejected this accusation and insisted that this was a lie, but the police officer said that the guard had CCTV evidence. I said that if I was under arrest that I should have at least have my rights read out to me, a lawyer and a translator. He assured me I wasn’t being arrested and told me to continue to wait for my phone to be thoroughly checked.

While I was waiting to get my phone back, Solomon’s parents arrived at the police station and were shocked and perplexed by the accusations. After three hours of waiting, I finally got my phone back.

But that did not mean I was free. At this point, I saw the Acropolis guard – my accuser, Karkos Anastasious, walk into the station. He was there to make his police statement. I hoped and prayed that he told the truth, figured out it was a misunderstanding and apologised. But I was dead wrong.

After Karkos Anastasious left, Solomon, Rhoda and I were brought in by police officers into a room separately to verify our identities. Finally, this is almost over, I thought.

One by one, the police brought Solomon, Rhoda and I for questioning. When it was my turn, I was asked in broken English to show the pictures I took on my phone. I complied and even showed them the Deleted Photos folder on my phone. I was then told to sit down and wait.

As I sat there, 4 or 5 officers began speaking to each other. I didn’t understand what they were saying but picked up on the word “Arrest”. 30 minutes in, I messaged Solomon.

Solomon looked upset and confused before he told me:

In a quiet tone Solomon said  “Ade, they’re saying you have to stay in custody. The guard made a crazy accusation about you and they are arresting you and you have to go to court tomorrow.”

This was when I made the first tweet informing the world of my arrest.

It would be a lie if I said I didn’t cry. I cried so much that I became hysterical.

What do you mean I’m staying here? What did I do to deserve this? I didn’t flash myself, I promise you! I pleaded and begged. I didn’t understand why someone would make such a lie up!

I started to ask for the video evidence while sobbing and screaming. Solomon tried to calm me down, explaining to me that there was no evidence, and that, I can request for it when I’m at court and tell the judges what had really happened.

With tears in my eyes, I begged for a translator. I did not believe what was going on nor what Solomon was telling me. I still clung to the hope that perhaps, he had mistranslated but the officers simply responded with a shrug, informing me that there is none. Some moments I thought Solomon was lying and at other moments I genuinely believed the whole ordeal was a nightmare. I could not fathom what was going on.

I tried contacting the British Embassy, but my phone wouldn’t make calls (I later found out that EE had turned off my outgoing calls in Europe).

IN CUSTODY

I was in deep shock. ME, going to court? I had never been to court a day in my life and today I was going to stay in a cell and be heard in court in a foreign country. Solomon, who tirelessly continued to speak in Greek to the officers on my behalf, explained to me that as there weren’t enough beds and since I was crying and seemed shaken by the ordeal, the officers would allow me to stay at the police station while I was in custody. Solomon asked to stay with me, and he was allowed to.  I didn’t feel like it was his role but as I didn’t know what I was being accused of I asked Solomon if he would translate the statement made by my accuser, Karkos Anastasious.

In his statement, he said that he had walked over to me, asking me to leave. He said that instead of leaving the premises, I lifted my dress and flashed my genitals to adults not once, but twice. Of course, I had done no such thing.

Solomon and I sat in the station from 6 pm on 1st August till 10 am the next day. In that time, I slept for less than an hour without any food.

The conditions at the police station where I was detained was disgusting. The toilet had no light, no tissue and was filthy. At one point, Solomon offered to accompany me to the toilet with his phone flashlight so I could see, but he was immediately instructed by officers not to. As I couldn’t use the toilet without any tissue anyway, I held it in.

At 10 pm, Solomon left me to get some food and tissue paper. I was crying a lot despite his best attempts to calm me down and make the hellish affair as comfortable as possible. He even pushed some chairs together so we could lie down and get some rest.

But I wasn’t able to calm down. I had so many questions, but no one to answer them. I was glad that I still had my phone, which I used to communicate with friends and family about what was going on. In the time we were held at the police station, several different police officers entered the office, smoking with different girls. It didn’t look like they were working, but I decided to stay as quiet and inoffensive as possible and try to get some rest.

Being a black female travel blogger, I decided that sharing this was important for people to understand what it’s can be like while travelling black. I prayed and prayed that whatever this was, I would wake up from this nightmare. I could not understand why someone would make such a disgusting lie about another person. I could not come up with any reason except for that I was being targeted as a black woman.

I was told that I would be taken to court at 8 am the next day, but at 8.30 am my fingerprints were taken by a police officer, which required black-ink all over my hands. Solomon then told me that he wasn’t allowed to go with me to court and that he would have to leave soon. This brought me to tears, so he decided to stay a little longer.

The thought of being left alone with people that didn’t speak English terrified me. I had heard already of a Nigerian man, father of two, that was held in custody February this year, and didn’t come out alive. I only thought the worst for myself. I was scared, terrified even. I started to enter a downward spiral of all the worst things that could happen to me. All routes of that spiralled to images of prison or death.

Solomon then broke the news to me that I would need to be put in handcuffs while being transported to court. I began to cry again.

9.30am came by, more than an hour after I was meant to be in court. When it was time for Solomon to leave I kept a brave face on as crying would only oblige him to stay. At approximately 10 am, the British Embassy called me explaining that I needed to call a lawyer from a list they had sent me via email and that my boyfriend needed to bring me my passport.

All the calls I made to the listed lawyers either didn’t get through or it was to a lawyer that didn’t deal with criminal law. At this point, I felt so alone and in an utter state of panic.

Moments later, a man came into the office, speaking Greek. One of the officers prompted me to follow him. To my surprise, I wasn’t put in handcuffs, which calmed me down a bit. I followed the officer to a small car where two men were cuffed together in the back seat of the vehicle, prompting a fresh bout of tears to spring from my eyes.

The prisoner who sat in the middle of the back seat tapped my knee in an attempt to provide some comfort, which I appreciated. I continued to beg God to get me out of this in one piece.

I was taken to what I believed to be some sort of prison, and we were all put into one room. The room had my stomach-churning. The room was a yellow-painted wall with stains all over it and smelled revolting. The benches we had to sit on were shabby with stains on them. I had never seen anything like this before.

There were around 50 to 60 other alleged criminals in the room, with many of them smoking and speaking on their mobiles. Less than five of us were women and two young girls were handcuffed together. I sat next to the young girls while a man stared, licking his lips. I felt extremely uncomfortable and did my best to cover myself with my bag.

There was a group of men who walked in with no shoes on and with bruised arms and legs, which scared me even more. Every time I started crying, the other prisoners continued to encourage me to be calm with a thumbs up. I was there for nearly 3 hours while we were called upon one at a time to take our pictures and fingerprints. I was also increasingly desperate for the toilet but refused to go as there was no light, and the smell was nauseating. Although I had a watch on, I stopped keeping track of the time as it was only making me more anxious. I was supposed to be at the beach and I was meant to be going home the next day. Instead, I was sat in a cell for something I didn’t do.

Eventually, I was put in handcuffs. I wasn’t cuffed to another person. Thank God, I thought. At this point, I was trying to count the small blessings in such a horrid situation. There was only one great thing about that cell and that was leaving for my next hurdle.

ACQUITTED IN ATHENS

On my way to court, I was asked by another prisoner if I was ok. I nodded with the hope not to have to speak to anyone for fear of trouble. I stayed quiet, I wanted out of this situation, and the only way to get out of there was for me to keep silent and keep out of trouble.

When I arrived at the court, Solomon was already there calling out positive affirmations to me through the window of the coach I was sitting in. “We are going home today, baby!,” he shouted.

I burst into tears, fighting it was no use. He had also come with his family. Getting off the coach in handcuffs and having his family see me in cuffs was such a shameful experience: Within 24 hours of meeting my partner’s parents, they were seeing me in handcuffs. I wanted the ground to swallow me up whole and make me disappear.

Solomon and his family followed me into an area where all prisoners were being kept. He wasn’t allowed to come and talk to me but called my name to wave at me and tell me that he had found me a translator. I lifted my cuffed hands to wave back. I was so worried because I hadn’t been able to get a lawyer. My friend Debbie had been messaging me about one, but my battery was weak. I finally spoke to my translator that told me that I had to remain patient.

Another hour or two had passed when all prisoners were led to a courtroom. My boyfriend and his family stood outside right behind me with words of encouragement and supportive smiles. I felt reassured to have his family behind me as well as the love and support I received.

One by one, a prisoner was led out of the courtroom. I didn’t know where they were going, but the room slowly emptied. After an hour or so, all of the last few prisoners, including myself, were instructed into another room. I saw 3 judges sat at the far end of the court in front of us. One by one, a prisoner was called to stand in front of the judges.

When my name was called to stand in front of the judges, I gulped and took a deep breath: my legs were shaken, and my belly was turning. I stood up in front of the judges, to tell the truth. My translator asked me a few questions like where I lived and what I did for a living. I explained this in detail. I was asked how do I plead to the charges. Athough, Solomon had already explained to me what I was being charged for I still wanted to confirm with the translators who tried to explain them to me. I denied all charges and requested for video evidence to be shown where I was doing this and for the guard that made the false allegation. He was called on twice but didn’t come to the stand. I then explained that I would never intentionally come to a country and disrespect it. I was only trying to honour the Greek Goddess with my outfit. I told the judges that I had witnesses with me here today that can testify against what the guard said.

At this point, the translator asked me to hold on as he said I didn’t need to explain myself further. I WAS ACQUITTED! I didn’t even hear what had been said. Time had frozen for me. The translator explained again that I was free to go. I was in a standstill for a split second, and I looked up and burst into tears. My God had seen me through. I was proven innocent and free to go. I was innocent! I am innocent!

Writing this to you was raw for me, and involved many rounds of fresh tears and crying. In some ways, it has let me realise some pain I am still holding on too.

I stand by my belief that I have experienced racism, and I now want to use my platform to help other people that have experienced discrimination while travelling to share their story. I was targeted as a black woman and I am sure I am not and will not be the first person to be targeted this way. There are many others, not just in Greece and other countries that have been targeted while travelling.

GRATEFUL

I have to say how eternally grateful for those who have supported me. Honestly, thank you. I am in absolute awe. You showed me what a great community we are in. I have many specific people to be thankful for mainly: Nomadness, Eulanda and Omo, Ardil (for legal advice), Marty and Debbie, my sister Renee and my family (who called the British Embassy for me). There are many others who have lent me their helping hand and honestly can’t thank them all enough. The support I received was truly overwhelming.

To those that were against me, I hope you have taken the time to read on what really happened and judge for yourself from a fair and objective manner. Either way, thank you for reading to the end – you now know the full truth.

Please note: I know my story has been shared on several platforms including, The Sun, The Daily Mail, Fox News, The Mirror, Open TV and many more. I want to discredit anyone who believes I was paid for my story. I do not intend to be paid for this tragedy. My only intention is to tell the story as transparent as possible.

Share this article

We need more speeches like that of Jesse Williams

Let’s face it, we have all experienced racism at some point in life – whether you are white, black, yellow or green.

Memories…

I remember so clearly as a young child growing up in a predominately white area; recall knocking on my friend’s door for him to come out and play. I could see that the TV was on but no one came to the door. To cut the story short, my friend came to me the following day at school to apologise and say that his brother hated black people and that’s why the door wasn’t answered. I was only 11 then and simply laughed it off. What else could I do?

This short story brings me to discuss The BET awards that happened last week. More and more events have become more politicised! Isn’t it just great? It goes with exactly what I’ve been saying- which is, everything is politics … (within reason of course) There is a sense of black politicians arising, standing and becoming more and more unapologetic. I wish I had the sense to do at that young age. So because of my failure to stand up for myself when I had the chance, I’ve decided to open up a new page of political entertainment. So do read on.

Last Sunday was the BET awards, which had a lot of shocking performances. Beyoncé (my queen) and Kendrick Lamar’s opening performances. Ushers performance “Don’t trump America”. There was an underlying message being clearly displayed here don’t you think?

Jesse Williams who plays Jackson in the famous series Grey’s Anatomy spoke with integrity, displaying facts calling out and stating that we are not alone.

I watched his speech more than once. When he won his humanitarian reward, his speech was more than powerful, it was political. It stood for the political movement of black lives matter and touched me when he said:

“What we’ve been doing is looking at the data and we know that police somehow manage to de-escalate, disarm, and not kill white people every day. So what’s going to happen is we are going to have equal rights and justice in our own country, or we will restructure their function in ours. …

Yesterday would have been young Tamir Rice’s 14th birthday. So I don’t want to hear any more about how far we’ve come when paid public servants can pull a drive-by on a 12-year-old playing alone in a park in broad daylight, killing him on television and then going home to make a sandwich. Tell Rekia Boyd how it’s so much better to live in 2012 than it is to live in 1612 or 1712. Tell that to Eric Garner. Tell that to Sandra Bland. Tell that to Darrien Hunt.”

He spoke up not just for the audience that stood up and clapped for everything he said but everyone of black skin (like myself) that still today fights the prejudice, discrimination and hatred of racism!

You don’t need me tell you he was right because you know that he was! It is about time that we unite and speak out for what is right! Using music to get the message out is just one of the ways we can do that. There, of course, needs to be more said and more done, we still have a long way to go and we can do it!

We, therefore, need more speeches like that of Jesse Williams.

Peace peace. Thank you, Debra. Thank you, BET. Thank you Nate Parker, Harry and Debbie Allen for participating in that {video}.

Before we get into it, I just want to say I brought my parents out tonight. I just want to thank them for being here, for teaching me to focus on comprehension over career, and that they make sure I learn what the schools were afraid to teach us. And also thank my amazing wife for changing my life.

Now, this award – this is not for me. This is for the real organizers all over the country – the activists, the civil rights attorneys, the struggling parents, the families, the teachers, the students that are realizing that a system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do.

It’s kind of basic mathematics – the more we learn about who we are and how we got here, the more we will mobilize.

Now, this is also in particular for the black women in particular who have spent their lifetimes dedicated to nurturing everyone before themselves. We can and will do better for you.

Now, what we’ve been doing is looking at the data and we know that police somehow manage to deescalate, disarm and not kill white people everyday. So what’s going to happen is we are going to have equal rights and justice in our own country or we will restructure their function and ours.

Now… I got more y’all – yesterday would have been young Tamir Rice’s 14th birthday so I don’t want to hear anymore about how far we’ve come when paid public servants can pull a drive-by on 12 year old playing alone in the park in broad daylight, killing him on television and then going home to make a sandwich. Tell Rekia Boyd how it’s so much better than it is to live in 2012 than it is to live in 1612 or 1712. Tell that to Eric Garner. Tell that to Sandra Bland. Tell that to Dorian Hunt.

Now the thing is, though, all of us in here getting money – that alone isn’t gonna stop this. Alright, now dedicating our lives, dedicating our lives to getting money just to give it right back for someone’s brand on our body when we spent centuries praying with brands on our bodies, and now we pray to get paid for brands on our bodies.

There has been no war that we have not fought and died on the front lines of. There has been no job we haven’t done. There is no tax they haven’t leveed against us – and we’ve paid all of them. But freedom is somehow always conditional here. “You’re free,” they keep telling us. But she would have been alive if she hadn’t acted so… free.

Now, freedom is always coming in the hereafter, but you know what, though, the hereafter is a hustle. We want it now.

And let’s get a couple things straight, just a little sidenote – the burden of the brutalized is not to comfort the bystander. That’s not our job, alright – stop with all that. If you have a critique for the resistance, for our resistance, then you better have an established record of critique of our oppression. If you have no interest, if you have no interest in equal rights for black people then do not make suggestions to those who do. Sit down.

We’ve been floating this country on credit for centuries, yo, and we’re done watching and waiting while this invention called whiteness uses and abuses us, burying black people out of sight and out of mind while extracting our culture, our dollars, our entertainment like oil – black gold, ghettoizing and demeaning our creations then stealing them, gentrifying our genius and then trying us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit. The thing is though… the thing is that just because we’re magic doesn’t mean we’re not real.

Thank you.

Racism is still live!

Share this article