A Fife mother-of-two who has endured racist abuse throughout her life is bringing the Black Lives Matter campaign to Fife.
Mercy Kessy is organising a peaceful rally, which will take place in Dunfermline’s Pittencrieff Park from 1pm on July 30. It will feature poets and musicians in a celebration of diversity.
The 23-year-old, of Ballingry, moved to Fife from Tanzania when she was seven, and said racial abuse aimed at her while living in Scotland made her feel “different” and “ugly”.
She said: “In primary school an older boy called me the N-word. I’ve had KKK screamed at me.
“I have always felt different and growing up it gave me a lot of issues, mostly just because I felt ugly.
“I was five months pregnant and had someone from out of a window say ‘go home’.”
Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, and the hope of a better world for her two-year-old twin sons to grow up in, she is campaigning for better representation for black people and for diversity awareness to be embedded in the school curriculum.
“The thought of my children having abuse screamed at them and being told to go home, or if somebody doesn’t fancy them and being told ‘maybe it’s because you’re brown’ fills me with so much sadness and frustration.”
At a protest in Edinburgh, Mercy said she heard many similar stories to her own and added that racism was an issue everywhere.
“I feel it’s not an issue which has been brought home. It’s still an issue that people think is happening elsewhere,” said Mercy.
“I thought, I’m going to be the one to bring it home because it’s an issue here too.
“We all need to come together as a community. The more we come together the more we can make our voices heard. We need more representation and I feel this is the way to get it.
“I want people to go away from the event and feel hopeful. It’s a celebration of everybody’s differences and how far we’ve come.
“The main message is that we belong here and this is our home.”
Mercy has been in touch with Fife Council and Police Scotland about the event and said government advice about social distancing would be adhered to.
She believes educating young people is vital to addressing racism in society, and said Britain’s black history should be taught to secondary school pupils.
“We need to teach them that everybody is different and everybody comes from lots of different places, and that this is normal and beautiful,” said Mercy.
“During the early years is when you learn how to see the world. What you learn while growing up and making friends will set you up for how you deal with situations for the rest of your life.
“In primary school there should be a big focus on teaching children how to interact.
“When you introduce children to these subjects, it’s not sensitive unless you’re racist.”
A BLM Fife Facebook page has been set up to share information about the event.