Introduction by The Forest Editor Aiden:
"We've found kindred spirits in local conscious collective Chill Mill who connect the community not just through music, but also with workshops covering creative arts, mental health and social justice to support disaffected youth and marginalised communities in Newham.
As we're navigating through a cost of living crisis, Newham will be adversely affected with its higher proportion of lower-income households being the hardest hit. As community support is needed more than ever, Chill Mill will be coordinating a series of workshops to be hosted at Tracks this Autumn which we'll be announcing soon so stay tuned. In the meantime, here's an introduction to Chill Mill's changemaker Surya Brown who with her school friends have set-up a girls group at Stratford's School 21 to tackle racism and sexism."
Hi, my name is Surya Brown, aka DJ Tigeress. I'm 12 years old, female, and the youngest Chill Mill DJ playing Afrobeats at Tracks each month with my Dad and his friends. My biggest passion is Girls Empowerment.
Growing up in East London as a mixed race female has its challenges and obstacles that I face. Let me name a few:
- Constantly being asked where I'm ‘really’ from.
- Being underestimated because of my gender.
- Always being slotted into different stereotypes.
In other words: Racism and Sexism!
I figured, If I was experiencing this, other girls could be experiencing the same thing as me.
As a result, my friends and I decided to set up and organise regular girls empowerment meetings (G.E.M.) at our school - School 21, based in Stratford. During these weekly meetings, we put aside 5-10 minutes and use them to get things off our chests. Afterwards, we explore possible solutions for problems that matter to us.
For example, we created a culture day event that allowed all students from year 5 and upwards to celebrate their cultures by wearing their countries flags or the colours of their flags and bringing in food from their culture. This event has been postponed until yr 8 October for bigger planning.
As I end my description of myself, I would like to mention to who I am incredibly thankful. I would like to thank all the people who have criticised me and singled me out because of my differences, and told me that I couldn't go far.
You guys have seriously helped me strive forward and helped me prove you wrong.
I would also like to thank my mum Sonia, for inspiring me to be radical, not take no for an answer, and to not let people dumb me down because of my culture, race and gender, plus thank you to my Dad George for introducing me to DJing and believing in me.
I would also like to thank Aiden for allowing me and the Chill Mill team to DJ at Tracks.
Thank you for reading. x
You can catch Surya aka DJ Tigeress playing for Chill Mill at Tracks every month including this Sunday 21st August, 2pm-6pm.