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The Identity Issue #5

In Magazine by The KOL Social

The Identity Issue #5

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Editor's Letter

When I was in secondary school, I forgot I was black. In my eyes I was just another suburban kid with homework being my only real angst in life. That was despite the threat of being suspended if I dared to wear my hair in braids and somehow I never made it onto the netball team despite playing at district level. It just never occurred to me that I was any different to my best mate – the very blonde – Melissa or my swimming pal Claire whose ginger hair caused her as much grief as my own, after a dip. Why would I? I was just a kid.

That was until one Sunday I found myself upon a Pentecostal church in the midst of leafy Hampshire. For the first time, I encountered a large group of Black people who had gathered from miles around. I returned week after week, not because I was particularly religious, but to be surrounded by those who looked like me. Just like many of those present, it was all about identifying with a group.

We seem to be doing the same thing in our workplace whether that is down to racism, misogyny or some other bias. Identity has many layers to it which affects the way we develop our affinities. Whilst progressive companies are doing much to introduce inclusion initiatives, for others it feels more about the optics and less about real measurable change. Achieving diversity should not be viewed as the goal but the outcome of maximising a company’s performance by understanding the power of seeing a situation from different perspectives. I hope that you enjoy this edition of The KOL Social magazine which aims to bring you alternative views from a range of people who can share their unique experiences.

Marcia Degia

Publishing Editor

Featured Contributors

The Identity Issue #5

Lisa Bent

Features Editor Lisa Bent

Lisa Bent joins The KOL Social team as the magazine’s Features Editor. Her book, Symona’s Still Single, will be published later this year by Jacaranda Books as part of the Twenty in 2020 initiative, celebrating Black British Writers. Lisa regularly hosts events, awards and Q&A’s.  All about the devil is in the detail; her research found that, despite the common belief that yoga originates from India, the practice stems from ancient Egyptian civilisation. In other words, the origin of Yoga is from African culture. Read Yoga’s Twisted History on page 31.

Kunle Olulode

Prior to being one of the first black board members of the English Heritage Trust, Kunle Olulode admits that he already had a thirst for historical knowledge and, as Chair of Camden Council’s Black History Forum, he had an interest in the Blue Plaque scheme. In 2003, he witnessed Nelson Mandela pay tribute to Ruth First and her husband Joe Slovo who had been exiled from South Africa to 13 Lyme Street. Kunle would be part of similar ceremonies such as marking the lives of many great British citizens. Also the director of the charity Voice4Change England, he explains that much can be learnt about our heritage through English historical sites in First Word: There Is Black In The Union Jack on page 8.

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