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My Redbridge by Cherrill Hutchinson of Black Woman Kindness Initiative

a group of black women from Redbridge sorting through art supplies

Three years ago, had you informed me that I would become the founder of a community organisation named Black Woman Kindness Initiative, I would have dismissed the idea and said you’ve lost your mind! Back then, it wasn’t within the realm of any plan I had for myself.

However, in September 2019, just before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Black Woman Kindness Initiative came into existence out of sheer necessity. Faced with the challenge of finding an organisation or community where I could connect with fellow black women and finding none, the frustration propelled me to establish my own.

My goal was to bring visibility, support, recognition, and inspiration to the women in Redbridge and, quite simply, a place to connect and share. We are always looking for collaborations with organisations that provide opportunities for women to participate in.

Fast forward to 2023, and what an amazing experience connecting and engaging with Colours of Redbridge at their Here We Share workshop! The women from the Wellbeing Hub, relished every moment of the experience from the instant they entered. The vibrant tea sets, and handmade sandwiches welcomed them, prompting one participant to say, “This is so special.”

Cherrill and Raquel, the leads at Black Woman Kindness Initiative at the Here We Share Workshop participating in an activity
Raquel and Cherrill, community leads of Black Woman Kindness Initiative.

Jordan and Sadia, the creative organisers, ingeniously designed the event to inspire everyone to share stories, ideas, and visions for a culturally inclusive Redbridge. It was exciting to imagine the prospect of living in a borough that, when you walk along the High Road, the vibrant and diverse cultures are evident. The variety ideas that were shared at the tea party from all the women reflected that we were ready to help create a more lively, happier, healthier, and creative Redbridge. Most important, the workshop emphasised the importance of active listening and providing a voice to those often unheard.

Being involved with arts and culture is such a holistic experience that not only enriches us but also contributes to the broader cultural fabric of the environment in which we live. It improves our health and wellbeing and provides a platform to explore and appreciate different cultures, promoting tolerance and understanding. Culture is intergenerational and opens conversations among individuals that ordinarily might not cross paths, bringing people together, and building stronger communities.

For me, it’s important to ask myself “What is my legacy?”, “What can I do to make change?” and even broader than that “What legacy does the borough of Redbridge want to leave behind for the generations to come?”. I believe this can only be done effectively through arts and culture.

Find out more about Black Woman Kindness Initiative: www.bwkindness.com.

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