Fabulous morning at the Rio Cinema with Up Your Street people and my group the Buildings Exploratory Seniors showcasing their authentic films. The four short films showed moving images and stills of the Hackney BEE group, the buildings and spaces they visited and was filmed and produced by a professional film maker. We visited Clissold House Hackney, Shoreditch Church, and Hoxton Hall (aka ‘Oxton ‘All). There was a great soundtrack and lovely old time songs from the group participants.
What a cheer roared from we the audience at the end! Then Questions and Answers came.
I was burning inside and don’t know how I found the courage to grab the mike. Then the question just fell out of my mouth! I asked how the BEE managers would reach out to a more ethnically diverse community. I stated that “it can’t just be white history”. I heard the tuts. I understand the resistance from peers but that attitude needs reform because otherwise we all miss opportunities to share rich memories and experiences of settlement in shared environments. Buildings are always a catalyst for memory and memories gel communities and give identity to neighbourhoods.
Every funded charity must report back to its funders and tick off check-lists and you can bet the words “ethnic and “diverse” pop up. Any engagement of any community has to engage everyone. My question was relevant and respected by the answer. The answer was a version of “We’re trying”. BEE has been operational since 2007.
Importantly and urgently history should be everyone’s history and other people have bigger mouths than I do in order to push forward the construction of an oral history which embraces all the memories and contributions of every culture in London. Meanwhile we’ll plod along divided with Black History Month. What else do you see?
Then we went to Pie ‘n’ Mash in Hoxton Market. Mmm! Parsley sauce and jolly good company.