When we first heard concerning the 21-year-old interval poverty activist Amika George breaking obstacles together with her organisation, Free Periods, pleasure and inspiration went hand-in-hand in our hearts. Pride, as a result of Amika George additionally has Indian roots. We felt impressed as a result of to do what she did as a brown girl within the United Kingdom will not be a straightforward job. So, when the information got here out of her turning into the youngest recipient of the Queen’s Birthday Honours, it was a reason for celebration of younger ladies the world over, particularly younger Indian ladies and Indian-origin ladies who’re thriving as immigrants and residents of different nations the world over.
Free Periods was began by Ms George in April 2017. She was simply 17 then. She began the organisation after she learnt concerning the college students within the United Kingdom who must abstain from going to highschool a number of days each month on account of lack of entry to menstrual hygiene merchandise.
She additionally led a protest exterior Downing Street in London which had 1000’s of supporters, and greater than 2.7 lakh signatures on a petition on Change.org, demanding the UK authorities present interval merchandise freed from value for all college students who avail free college meals.
However, based on a current submit on her Twitter deal with, when Ms George came upon that she was slated to obtain the Queen’s birthday honours, she felt “reluctant” to just accept the MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire). In a submit on Twitter on June 12, 2021, Ms George wrote: “Being offered an MBE was surreal. I felt so lucky to be able to represent young people and everyone who has supported @free_periods, but the associations with empire made me reluctant.”
Being supplied an MBE was surreal.
I felt so fortunate to have the ability to characterize younger individuals and everybody who has supported @free_periods, however the associations with empire made me reluctant.
I wrote about my resolution to just accept it for @britishvogue ????https://t.co/L2FUuVfhPmpic.twitter.com/aFnEyv7Idi
— Amika George (@AmikaGeorge) June 12, 2021
She additional elaborated on this sentiment in an article she wrote for British Vogue. She shared with readers how studying about Britain’s colonial historical past and the aftermath of the Partition and the Indian freedom motion made her really feel uncomfortable with the concept of accepting the Queen’s Birthday Honours. Upon pondering on “racist exploitation, economic extraction and a continuing legacy of global division”, Ms George mentioned how the “empire” could possibly be essentially the most “shameful word” that she could be completely attaching together with her identification.
But quickly after, she additionally realised the impression that her acceptance of the Queen’s honours may have. In the first-person account for Vogue, she wrote: “I’m accepting this MBE on behalf of every single person who supported, signed, protested and donated to our cause. I don’t see it as a reward for my personal achievements; it’s an indication of our generation’s irrepressible energy and hunger for transformative change… So, perhaps, as a young person of colour, I don’t have the luxury of rejecting this MBE. The opportunity to represent my community and my family, to draw attention to the lack of colonial history in our education system, and highlight the stark underrepresentation of young people in political spaces, is one I can’t let slip by.”
Her Indian roots is a robust a part of Ms George’s identification, as is testified by this tweet.
My British-Asian identification is one thing I struggled with rising up, as I skilled numerous cultural confusion and the sensation of ‘belonging nowhere’ continued into my teenage years.
Now, my identification is the factor I’m most happy with. pic.twitter.com/LORgIFrhGo
— Amika George (@AmikaGeorge) October 24, 2020
In her Vogue first-person account, Ms George talked about her grandfather, who reminded her of the “long line of uncelebrated activists who have refused to let adversity slow them down, who have served their communities, often with no recognition or reward, and found strength and compassion even in the bleak face of racism, prejudice and cultural dislocation.” She mentioned she dedicates her MBE to them.
Ms George has impressed us not solely by being the youngest recipient of the Queen’s Birthday Honours but in addition by the use of her reasoning behind accepting the honours.