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Showing posts with the label Racism

Councillor's early memory of racist attacks, safeguarding lives as social worker and recent loss of family members to Covid

Mumtaz Khan began her journey in Tower Hamlets where she learnt the tools to serve her community through social work and then as a local councillor in the East End.  During the pandemic, she lost her father and mother in law. This is her story. Early Life in Tower Hamlets Mumtaz and her five siblings, along with their mother, arrived in the mid 1970s to join their father,  to live in Spitalfields, Tower Hamlets.   They emigrated from Bangladesh to make Britain their home.  ‘There was a huge   struggle for my father to get us into the education system. There was a long waiting list. I also came at a time when east London was not the same east London that we were able to walk around quite safely these days,’ says Mumtuz. Fear, attack and racism She remembers the brutal killing of Altab Ali in 1978 by white racists which was a turning point for Bengali struggle in the East End.   The place where Altab Ali was killed was a minute walk away from where Mumtuz lived. ‘Dad kind of given us qui

Teacher: a hidden gem who sacrificed everything to care for parent during pandemic

Obie Matin was shunned for marrying a white man. Yet, she cared for her parents to their last moment.  BENGALI CULTURE & A NAME Obie Matin’s full name is a little bit complicated she says. In Bengali culture, people would know her by her nickname: Obie. But her  formal name  is actually Lubjana Matin. Nobody  calls her Lubjana except during graduation or in any formal occasions.  Everyone calls her by her nickname. There is complete separation between formal and informal life in Bengali culture. UPBRINGING AND RENT FREE ACCOMMODATION Obie was born was born in Britain.  When she was born there was seven years gap between Obie and her older sibling.  ‘I feel privileged of how I grew up, even though we never owned it. It was a massive house with a basement, a Victorian attic, beautiful house. And the terms and conditions were that my dad would have that home rent free, which is one part of the house for lodgings if he oversaw the rest of the property. So dad was fixing it up looking o

Fearless educator missed mother during pandemic and finds vaccine a beacon

Julie Begum talks about her East End upbringing, passion for education  and campaign to vaccinate everyone. EAST END UPBRINGING She was born in the Mile End Hospital in 1968 when her parents were living in a temporary accommodation in Tower Hamlets. Her brother was born 18 months after. They were given a council flat in Globe Town, Bethnal Green, London. She remembers that:   ‘We live in a block of flats, with a lot of other working class people…   I think there was only one other Bengali family on the estate at the time. And a black family and majority was white. And there was one mixed race family…To be honest, the only safe place was at home. We heard about people being attacked in their homes by racists. So it was, I would say a climate of fear really for a lot of Bengalis at that time. My father was bottled and attacked.’ There was a difference in response between younger and older generation within the Bengali Community from Julie's account. ‘Young men…decided to fight back a

Anti-racist fighter provided food packages to residents during pandemic

  A community campaigner fought against racism in the East End in life and during the pandemic he campaigned to feed local residents MAIUM'S EARLY LIFE IN BRITAIN ‘My dad had a vision for us to do well: to get good education and a good job,' said Maium. Maium remembers Bangladesh being overcrowded as a child. His initial experience of the UK was completely the opposite.  ‘Everything was different. It was beautiful and nice. It was very different from the country I was born in. Obviously, I was very young at the time. In Bangladesh, I was use to being with Bangladeshi people. When I came here I see a different variety of people.’ Maium came to the UK in 1984. He was 5 years old. Having lived in various temporary accommodations  in many parts of London, his family then settled in the  Isle of Dogs. They were the first few Bengali families moved in to the area at the time. RACISM IN ISLE OF DOGS They lived near a park. They would not go to the park for five years because of fear o