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For Black Leaders Awareness Day we spoke to Annie Gibbs an inspirational leader who founded Amour Destine, a charity aiming to unite and empower women. She shares the importance of black leaders in society and her advice for black care experienced young people, aiming to reach their goals.

Black Leaders Awareness Day takes place every year on the 18th July and was created to highlight the importance of black leaders and the impact they have made throughout history. It is vital we ensure that we understand and acknowledge the impact these leaders have.

For Black Leaders Awareness Day, we spoke to Annie, the founder of Amour Destine, a UK based organisation that aims to unite, inspire, and empower woman to create their own destiny. Amour Destine helps black women affected by traumatic care experiences, cultural harmful practices, domestic abuse and sexual violence, work towards building the lives they desire.

Annie spoke to us about the importance of black leaders and shared advice for black care experienced young people.

You are recognised as an inspirational leader, to you, what is the importance of black leaders?

When I think of leaders, I think of people who are not afraid of being themselves. Being in a society where we have such a diverse range of people, for us to be able to forge a way forward for ourselves, allowing our authenticity to shine through. Being able to create and not just change our own situation, but also inspire others to also take that path – I think that’s important as a black leader.

Growing up, I didn’t have much representation in terms of my cultural heritage, although there are black people who I may have been around or placed with in foster care, it is not the same. It’s different from being connected to your actual personal heritage. Being a black leader is about leading with love. Knowing that we are leaders, we deserve to have our voices heard, we deserve to be able to communicate that we are leaders, and we deserve to be respected. When we want to advocate for change in this world, then we know it’s impactful and that’s what I see leadership as, it’s about making that change. It’s also about those that are coming up behind us now.

We have an easier experience of being a black individual in the UK, because we had our freedom fighters that were fighting for us to be able to amplify our voices today. If we didn’t have those black leaders back in the day, we wouldn’t have the opportunity to be able to shout and say this is what we need in our communities. Now, we are the diversity fighters of our time. Hopefully, the next young people that come up behind us, won’t need to shout. We can be that rainbow in the cloud, it is about knowing somebody can look at me or somebody else and know who a black leader is. Know that she did it, so I can do it too.  

What advice do you have for black care experienced young people, aiming to reach their goals?

Know that you are greatness, that you were created with purpose. You might feel like you don’t really understand who you are, know that nobody is the same, we are all different and we have all been there at some point in our lives. We’ve all gone through a journey to learn more about who we are and if you can connect deeper with who you are and love who you are, you can achieve anything you want in life. Loving yourself is the most important thing. Once you learn how to love yourself, you will be able to teach other people how to love you too.

When you’re able to achieve whatever goals and set whatever goals you want to achieve for yourself and know that you have every capability to achieve those goals, know that you belong and reach out. Reach out to people like me and other care experienced people because there is a community out here. We understand, we might not fully 100% understand your journey because we are all different, but, we do have a connective understanding and we want you to know how valuable you are. Please reach out to communities and stay connected to your heritage. Especially if you’re someone who may be placed in a home environment, that is not even representing that you’re black. Know that you have every right to ask to be connected to communities that represent your culture, because culture is very important to how you reach your goals in life, as it allows you to see and understand who you are.

To hear Annie’s inspiring message about finding the Rainbows in the Clouds, check out this blog post.
To find out more about Amour Destine from Annie’s own words, take a look at this blog post.

Picture of Annie by: Home Office

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