Sabina Nessa: Group marks anniversary of teacher’s murder

One year ago, on 17 September 2021, Sabina Nessa walked through a park to meet a friend for an evening drink.

She was 28 and a primary school teacher. She did not arrive. Her body was found the following evening.

A year later, the fear of being murdered by a stranger has led to one group campaigning for change.

Those in the group did not know Ms Nessa. Or Shadika Patel or Maria Rawlings , or Sarah Everard, or sisters Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman.

But they do know what it is to be a woman. More

Peppa Pig: First same-sex couple for children’s show

Loved by pre-school audiences in the UK, US, Australia and Latin America, Peppa Pig is arguably one of the most recognisable – and popular – cartoon animals in the world.

It is perhaps no wonder, then, that the programme’s decision to introduce its first same-sex couple has made waves.

During an episode titled Families, which first aired on Tuesday on Channel 5 in the UK, where Peppa Pig is made, the eponymous character was introduced to friend Penny Polar Bear’s mothers.

While drawing a portrait of her family, Penny explained: “I live with my mummy and my other mummy. One mummy is a doctor and one mummy cooks spaghetti.”

The programme, created by British animators Mark Baker and Neville Astley, has been running since 2004. This is the first time in its 18-year history a same-sex couple has been featured. More

Jack Dunne: Exeter Chiefs lock hopes to inspire other LGBTQ+ men

An imposing 6ft 8in lock is nothing new in the Premiership, but Exeter’s Jack Dunne will be the league’s only openly LGBTQ+ player when he makes his debut for the club.

The 23-year-old summer signing from Leinster follows in the footsteps of Gareth Thomas and former Saracens back Sam Stanley, as well as current Premiership referee Craig Maxwell-Keys and long-serving Welsh official Nigel Owens.

“Hopefully once there are one or two more people it will start to feel that this is something they can say and it won’t be a big thing,” Dunne, who identifies as bisexual, told BBC Sport.

“Hopefully it would be good for other gay or bisexual men to see people like me and hopefully it’ll give them a bit of confidence to be able to be who they are.” More

Soul Cap: Afro swimming cap approved after Olympic ban

A swimming cap for afro hair has been approved for use in top-level competitions.

The specialised covering – designed for thick, curly hair and styles such as dreadlocks, weaves and braids – was banned from last year’s Olympics.

Manufacturer Soul Cap described the approval from governing body Fina as “a huge step in the right direction”.

“We’re excited to see the future of a sport that’s becoming more inclusive,” it said.

Fina executive director Brent Nowicki said the announcement “follows a period of review and discussion on cap design between Fina and Soul Cap over the past year”, in a statement reported by the Metro. More

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – September 2022

World Alzheimer’s Month is the international campaign every September to raise awareness and challenge the stigma that surrounds dementia. The campaign was launched in 2012 and World Alzheimer’s Day is on 21 September each year.

With that in mind we have chosen Jim Broadbent as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month.

Jim is an actor, graduating from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art in 1972.  He first came to prominence in television comedy in shows such as Only Fools and Horses and Time Bandits with his breakthrough role coming in Mike Leigh’s Life is Sweet.  His notable roles since then include Bridget Jones’ Diary, Hot Fuzz, The Iron Lady, Game of Thrones to name just a few.  He has played Horace Slughorn in the Harry Potter film series and Samuel Gruber in the amazing Paddington films.

He has received many awards including an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in Iris, a BAFTA for Moulin Rouge and Longford and an Emmy for The Gathering Storm.

He was awarded an OBE in 2002 but declined stating that there were more deserving recipients than actors and that the British Empire was not something he wanted to “celebrate”.

Jim is an Ambassador for Dementia UK and in 2018 presented a BBC Lifeline Appeal, in which he spoke movingly about his own mother’s experience of dementia, as well as highlighting the life-changing support that the Dementia UK specialist nurses are able to offer families facing dementia – in communities, GP practices, hospitals, care homes and hospices, and on the Admiral Nurse Dementia Helpline.

To find out more about Alzheimers’ Month see here https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-involved/world-alzheimers-month

To find out more about Dementia UK see here https://www.dementiauk.org/

To find out more about Jim see here https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000980/bio  

‘Inclusive Barbies are a major step in my life’

“It’s a major step in the toy industry and in my life. It made me feel proud of who I was.”

James Stewart is among those celebrating the new Barbie dolls that are being released today.

Mattel, the company that makes them, has released a range of more diverse dolls.

For the first time, Barbie is seen with a hearing aid, a prosthetic limb and a wheelchair, while a Ken doll has the skin condition vitiligo.

James, who has the skin condition, says it “felt quite surreal” to hold. More

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – August 2022

International Youth Day is on 12 August and with that in mind we have chosen Meghan Willis as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month.

Meghan, at 14 years old, is the youngest member of Wales’ para swimming squad for this year’s Commonwealth Games being held in Birmingham.

Meghan will race the SM10 200 metre individual medley for swimmers with upper limb deficiencies and has risen rapidly in the last year, qualifying as one of the top eight swimmers in the Commonwealth in her event.

She helps other young people with upper limb deficiencies through her work with the charity Reach and is determined to inspire others to become active through sport and live their lives without limits. 

She is also a young water safety ambassador for the Swimming Teachers Association (STA) promoting ability over disability.

To find out more about Reach see here

https://reach.org.uk/ .

To find out more about Para Swimming and the Commonwealth Games see here

https://www.birmingham2022.com/sports/swimming

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – July 2022

Disability Awareness Day is on 17 July and with that in mind we have chosen Francesca Martinez as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the month.

Francesca is a comedian and disability campaigner.  As a comedian, she has toured internationally, including sell-out runs at the Edinburgh Festival, the Melbourne Comedy Festival and the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal.

As a campaigner, she spent a year getting the 100,000 signatures required to trigger a debate in Parliament on welfare reform and its effect on disabled people. Using her award-winning humour, Francesca, who has cerebral palsy, talks passionately about facing fear, the profound power of positive thinking, gaining the right perspective and questioning society’s values in her critically acclaimed memoir, What the **** is Normal?!, which was nominated for The Bread and Roses Radical Publishing Award.

As a youngster she was a regular in the BBC children’s drama Grange Hill, becoming one of the first disabled actors to have a significant role on a popular TV programme. In November 2016, she was the guest curator at Sheffield’s Off The Shelf Festival of Words, which featured a day of inspirational talks and events. She also teamed up with Network Rail to launch a new campaign to improve disabled passengers’ experiences of travelling by rail. Another recent highlight for was supporting Frankie Boyle on tour.

For International Women’s Day Able Magazine published their top 10 most influential women with a disability which included Francesca.  She is patron of a number of charity including the Misfits Theatre Company.

To find out more about Francesca see here https://www.francescamartinez.com/bio

To find out more about Disability Awareness Day see here

https://www.disabilityawarenessday.org.uk/show/

April Ashley: Transgender pioneer’s ‘spectacular legacy’ to be celebrated

The friends of transgender pioneer April Ashley are to celebrate her “spectacular” legacy in her home city.

Liverpool-born Ashley, who died in 2021, was one of the first people to undergo surgery and went on to become a famous model, restaurateur and actress.

Her personal papers document everything from dinners with David Hockney to correspondence with Elizabeth Taylor.

Her friends Lou Muddle and Bev Ayre said a new archive would show who she really was and “not just the myth”.

The pair, who are both from Liverpool, were tasked by Ashley to sort through her belongings after discovering she “kept absolutely everything”.

Ms Ayre said Ashley had been “truly spectacular” and was “family to us”, though she admits that closeness came with more than a touch of stardust. More

Windrush Day: Queen praises pioneers as Waterloo statue unveiled

The Queen has praised the Windrush “pioneers” for their “profound contribution” to British life as a statue to them was unveiled.

The monument, at Waterloo Station, pays tribute to the thousands of people who arrived in the UK from Caribbean countries between 1948 and 1971.

It depicts a man, woman and child standing on top of suitcases and was revealed to mark Windrush Day.

The government gave £1m to fund the statue, designed by Basil Watson.

In a message to mark the occasion, signed Elizabeth R, the Queen said she hoped the statue would “inspire present and future generations” as she sent her “warmest good wishes on this historic occasion”.

Windrush Day marks the arrival of Caribbean immigrants to the shores of Britain on 22 June each year – the day HMT Empire Windrush arrived at Tilbury Docks in 1948. More

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