A Caribbean Community in 2066?

What about the Next, Next, Next Generation?

An article in the Economist magazine from earlier in this year entitled, ‘The Next Generation‘ explores the changing fortunes of the Caribbean community in the UK.  

And it’s an interesting read!  Not least because at my recent constellations workshop, there were some wonderful people who stepped up and challenged themselves to look at an extremely difficult subject, Caribbean people in the Diaspora and their relationship to one another.

We did it is in a slightly different way from usual, looking at the Caribbean community in the wider Diaspora now and where it may be in 50 years time.  Do you know what the outcome was, a BIG question, ‘Will there be a Caribbean Community in the UK in 2066?’

That’s powerful isn’t it, because it begs the question, what is left of the Caribbean Community in the UK?  Where is it now and in what pockets of London can we find it residing?  I left the workshop thinking about “what we mean by a Caribbean Community?”

A Definition of the Caribbean

Let me define what I mean by the Caribbean.  Peoples from different islands and countries, from Guyana and Surinam in South America to Trinidad, Jamaica, Barbados and the other islands in the region,  who all share a lived experience.  That may be in the Caribbean area or the wider Diasporas of the UK, Europe, Canada and the Americas.

In London, the traditional areas that Caribbean people lived in have become increasing gentrified and more expensive.  That means people have sold up and shipped out.  They have moved further away from the inner city, Hackney, Brixton, Shepherds Bush and yes, we are still there, but not in such great numbers.  This splitting is separating communities that have acted as a support and a guide for generations in the past.

Facilitating the Constellation

This was an interesting constellation to facilitate because I have been pondering on community, loyalty and family.  If a community is eroding and declining, what is our relationship to that and how will it impact the family structure into the future?

I see around me very strong communities, Jewish communities, Indian communities, Chinese communities, African communities, all for the most part, intact and strong.  Which does not mean to say that there are not issues and difficulties within these communities?  It’s just that I can’t see the Caribbean community so clearly, it looks further away, maybe I just don’t feel so connected?  It may be my personal experience, except for the fact that I am meeting more and more people with a similar perspective.

Community Change Over Decades

Yes, this has been happening for the last three to four decades, it just seems to have intensified, change is all around us.  Arguably the very concept of Caribbean community may no longer exist, as many of our parents move back home and their children (us) emigrate to other places.

So at the end of the constellation, I was left with a very powerful question, Will there be a Caribbean community in the UK in 2066?  And if there isn’t where will it have gone?  We can’t all have returned to the Caribbean, rather it looks like we may well have become completely assimilated. It’s an interesting idea with some ramifications for future generations. I will return to this question in later posts, for now, it leaves much to think about.

Until next time!

Roots Research

Retracing Ancestral Steps

Reconnecting to your ancestral roots and family heritage can be a wonderful way to honour, those who have gone before us and those that we are still in a relationship with.  In 2011 I started training to be a facilitator of Family and Systemic Constellations.  That journey started after my great-grandmother Margaret sent me a message from ‘Spirit‘ during a workshop.

In 2015 I left my mental health job and started on a personal journey researching my family heritage and reconnecting to my ancestral lineage.  I applied for a Professional Doctorate in Systemic Practice in 2015 and 2016 and then stepped off after realising that I had more personal healing work to do before I could commit to the course.

Over the past few years, I have retraced my ancestral steps revisiting Guyana the land of my parents birth and spending time in the Caribbean.  In 2016, I travelled to Burkina Faso on a study tour with Malidoma Some, Dagara Elder, author and gifted African Diviner.  During that trip I learnt more about African healing practices then I could have anticipated and I started ‘Remembering‘.  Everything felt familiar and comfortable, the traditions, the rituals, the people, I felt at HOME.

Obstacles in the Way

Along the way, I met obstacles, a cancer diagnosis, a struggle with depression and lack of motivation. Isolation much of it self-prescribed and family loss and bereavement. Finally, in January 2018 I arrived in Benin and stepped onto what I later learned was my family ancestral home, I had found ‘Roots’.  And it had taken over 50 years to arrive!

This post has been updated in 2018 as I finally commence the Doctorate that had eluded me earlier.  I have found that this personal journey is aligned to my professional path, I can’t separate them.  My Systemic Constellations practice is evolving into an African Healing Ritual.  I have found my professional creative voice in my writings and graphic drawings.  And in Benin, I found the indigenous wisdom that I have long searched for, a spiritual practice that is a form of initiation and a Rite of Passage into my future life.

Reconnection to my Ancestral Line

My starting aim was to reconnect with family members across generations and find out more about my family heritage and ancestral line.  But in the process, I realised that I was starting to ‘Remember’ lost history, forgotten ways of thinking about the world and I had found an indigenous world-view that I understood.

I started to look deeper into my ancestral family heritage, not only because I wanted to know more about my parent’s early lives, but also about how their choices had impacted my life.  I wanted to start healing the difficult aspects of my childhood that remained unresolved.  And I wanted to lay claim to a community life that had been left behind.

Starting to Remember

Have I managed to achieve all this?  Not fully, is it ever even possible to go back?  But I have begun a process of ‘Remembering’ that is impacting both my personal and professional life and it is these stories and reflection that I bring to this blog.  I have begun to embrace my ancestors and ancestral line as it has given me a new perspective on life, identity, culture and sense of belonging in the world.

After many years of searching, I have found a more peaceful internal personal and professional space to reside in.  And this blog ‘The Wisdom of the Ancestors’ is now the home of my personal voice and linked to my professional practice and academic path.

If you are reading this you too may be seeking a deeper connection to self, a place to belong in your family or community of choice.  You may just want to reflect on your current life and what it says about who you are in the world.  Or be building your professional practice, I hope these musings are useful on your journey!

Ashe!

SONYA WELCH-MORING

MODERN GRIOTTE

Tracing African Roots

Exploring the Ethnic Origins of the Afro-Diaspora