15: Oral History Project - Valerie Mason-John
Our Oral History Project is a platform for people to talk honestly and openly about their experiences of race and racism throughout their lives, including while in our care.
As a charity committed to becoming anti-racist, we continue to learn from our past, including our mistakes.
We are grateful to everyone who contributed to this podcast, for sharing their honest experiences.
The conversations have sometimes highlighted examples where our practice several decades ago did not meet the standards we adhere to today. We are wholly committed to listening and learning from the lived experiences shared here in these podcasts.
Please listen to this with an open heart and an open mind.
Today we have another conversation between 2 generations.
Valerie was born in 1962. Like Marine and Julienne and - who you heard in previous episodes - she also spent some of her time in care in the Barnardo’s girls village in Barkingside in East London. Now, she’s a well known author and public speaker, and her TED talk on bullying has over 360,000 views on Youtube.
Stacy also spent time in the care system. She’s 19 in this conversation, making her 37 younger Valerie. She’s actually the younger sister of Irene, who you’ve also met in previous episodes.
We hear Valerie share how she ended up in prison aged just 15, Stacy explains how she and her sister ‘reclaimed their blackness’, and together they talk about how their time in care has shaped them as people.
The purpose of this type of conversation is to give 2 people, one older and one younger, the chance to compare and contrast a shared life experience - specifically, spending time in care as women of colour.
It gives each of them an opportunity to swap some of the wisdom and knowledge they’ve gained on their respective journey’s, and allows us the chance to learn something too.
Disclaimer: as we are making an effort to keep the voice of the guests authentic, this episode contains language that may be considered offensive to some listeners.
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