Living With Loss During The Pandemic

(Contributions included from Churches United)

The COVID-19 pandemic has left many people around the world unable to be with a loved one when they die, or unable to mourn someone’s death in-person with friends and family. There are other types of loss including unemployment, not making enough money, loss or reduction in support services, and other changes in your lifestyle. These losses can happen at the same time, which only complicates or prolong grief. This prolonging delays a person’s ability to adapt, heal, and recover.

What To Do Immediately After a Knife Attack

#SeriousAboutYouth via BBC Bitesize

In the unlikely event that you are ever a victim of, or a witness to, a knife attack there are some practical steps you can take to make sure that you and those around you stay as safe as possible. While it would be perfectly natural to panic when someone has just been harmed, time is important. Street Doctors have this vital advice to follow immediately if you ever experience or witness a stabbing:

1. Keep yourself safe
By safe, means out of harm’s way. If there is an active argument or crime scene and it’s not safe to stay with someone who’s been hurt, get to a place of safety such as a shop, cafe, restaurant, gym, youth centre or police, ambulance or fire station. Go to where there are adults or members of the public. When you’re safe, call for help by dialing 999. Ask for an ambulance.

  1. Apply pressure to the wound
    First check there is no sharp object in the wound. If there is no sharp object present you can apply pressure directly to the wound. If you have something to wrap around your own hands, such as clothing or a scarf, etc. you can use that.
    If a sharp object is present DO NOT remove it. If you can do so without hurting yourself, you can apply pressure by placing your hands to the sides of the object on the person’s body, and pushing down. Keep your hands a safe distance from the sharp object.
    Applying pressure might cause discomfort, but the more pressure you apply, the greater your chance of helping a blood clot to form and preventing further loss of blood.

3.Keep calm
We know that this would be a really stressful situation but if you can, be as calm as possible and stay on the phone with the ambulance staff. They can offer you real-time help.

4.Emergency first aid
If the person is not breathing, perform chest compressions by placing your hands on top of each other and pushing down in the centre of their chest (aim for 30 compressions at a rate of 100 compressions per minute). If you’re unsure what to do inform the ambulance staff on the phone will help you.

Public Relations standing in the midst during Black History Month

by Jennifer Valentine-Miller

The Heritage Fund has seen, in 2020, an increased focus and discussion on issues that particularly affect black people and communities across the UK. From the emotive and significant Black Lives Matter movement, to the disproportionately adverse effects of coronavirus (COVID-19). Corporate Management are discussing these issues and are trying to find solutions or seek advice, because the impact on the mental health and well-being of black leaders and their colleagues can sometimes be overlooked.

My story: During Covid-19 day I work for a backroom NHS organisation who commission services for NHS staff and patients in England. I work from home on an administrative/front-of house basis (through-out the day I receive most the of calls, give out information, log the calls on a spreadsheet for analysing purposes).

It was in 2014 when I obtained a BA Hons degree studying various leadership and management styles within not-for-profit organisations. During that time I started badgering the communications “comms” team about opportunities to “move up” from my current position. I did not want to pay for another degree i.e. Masters degree, so I approached the communications manager again and it was then she introduced me to the Chartered Institute for Public Relations (CIPR) in order for me to gain professional recognition as well hear from professionals whose specialism is within all aspects of society. However, it was a Financial Director at work who realised I was a disgruntled BAME employee and advised me to further my online platform called Healing Relations PR and consider becoming its “Director”; allowing me to move away from a ministry to a business.

Some of the projects and campaigns I have worked alongside are:
*S.A.Y. (serious about youth) the Conference – (campaigning for longer jail term sentences for groomers and for those who fatally wound a young person).

*The NHS England Stop Smoking Awareness campaign.

*Issues in sport including racism and bullying (working alongside Sports Chaplaincy UK)

*Supporting my neighbourhood against anti-social behaviour

Faith Schools – Are they providing a clear picture?

By Jennifer Valentine-Miller

Jennifer’s school photo 1978

I attended senior school (Comprehensive) in the rom the 1970s to early 1980s. Many conversations at school- reunions constantly feedback the same message “our school let us down”, and Faith school students also say the same thing.

At school I obtained attainment pass certificates in Religious Studies and Social Ethiics. In the long term those studies were not relevant when applying for jobs especially when applying for positions – unless I wanted to enter a vocation like social work. There were, to my happiness, theatre studies and sports activities which I was encouraged to partake in because it was part of my school’s curriculum. When I attended drama classes (where I gained a O/A level pass) plus netball tournaments and tennis matches, Head of School would only exclaim that outside activities were a “distraction” and affecting my other exams; especially Mathematics (so that I could get a job in a bank). Distractions also included my Duke of Edinburgh awards (in Gymnastics). That is why I aimed to salvage a BA Hon degree and other Higher Education qualifications as a mature student – of course it would have been ideal to have gained an apprenticeship when I left school. However, I always felt a sense of disapproval at interviews. Should I blame my school for my disillusionment?

Campaign groups like “No More Faith School .org uk” are asking for public funding towards religious groups in order for them to evangelize to children who are disillusioned when they leave school having completed their time as Lower 6 or Upper 6 students.

And it seems according to reports that Faith schools are having a “negative impact on social cohesion, foster segregation of children on social, ethnic and religious lines, and undermine choice and equality” (No-more-faithschools.org). In other words, the report is saying if you attended a faith school it does not look good on your CV to the “outside world”. The anti report goes on to say that, “children living in England deserve the best – the law expects schools to demonstrate that they are encouraging pupils to take a respectful and tolerant stance towards those who hold values different from their own. Ofsted acts robustly and impartially to ensure all children in England receive a good education.”

Following on from ongoing claims of sexual exploitation within schools – leaders “have not ensured that safeguarding procedures have been sufficiently robust to keep pupils safe at all times,” inspectors found.  Also, school’s leaders have not ensured that all staff employed at the school has routinely undergone the necessary vetting checks, which compromises pupils’ welfare.“  (Secularism.org.uk 2019).

The charity Child Net insists that the importance of Faith Schools lies in it being able to opt-out of teaching subjects contrary to their religious beliefs, such as information on homosexuality and contraception. The compulsory parts of sex and relationship education from Year 7 (primary school) teach children about reproduction, sexuality and sexual health – including decisions around abortion.

Campaigners insist that pupils from faith schools fail to develop their own beliefs independently. I have no qualms with that. My argument is to support their pupils with after care, especially those who like religious studies, social ethics, theatre, and… Physical- Sciences or in my era it was called P.E. (physical education).

Today, senior leaders preclude the teaching of certain protected characteristics of students leaving school could be defined in the Equality Act. According to the Equality Act 2010, protected characteristics are aspects of a person’s identity that make them who they are. It’s worth noting, while this legislation doesn’t offer protection for revealing protected characteristic e.g. religious beliefs.  Moreover, it’s  unlawful to treat an employee or apprentice differently if they reveal they attended a Faith school – alas, it still happens.

Success, Love, & All – The Theatrical audio 🎁

Audio production (11 mins 30 secs)
by
Ravenpheat Productions

Success, Love and All written by Jennifer Valentine-Miller is listed under the short play category. The play has a sports theme with an inspirational message. The voice actors performing are Alexandria Stevens, Shane Stevens, Norma-Jean Strickland and Eric Bond.

Awesound have helped release the production onto its platform and it is now available for audio play and download ($5.50). 🎁 The discount code DEUCE40 allows for a 10% discount. This offer also applies outside of the US territory.

Arsenal defy the odds and revive a dismal season

Photo Copyright Arsenal.com

 Arsenal beat London rivals Chelsea to win the FA Cup inside an almost empty Wembley Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Mikel Arteta’s side came from a goal down to win 2 – 1 and lift the trophy for a record 14 times. Prior to the showdown, Arsenal were positioned 9th, their lowest position since the 1990s.

Fans who gathered at the Box Park outside Wembley stadium said, “at our best the club are Invincible and at our worse we win the FA Cup.” The fans know that their team have a long way to go to match Manchester City and and Liverpool – however will in the meantime, enjoy the August 1st weekend.

Was Book of Exodus the beginning of Brutality?

Many of today’s generation have disowned the Book of Exodus

Edited by Jennifer Valentine-Miller

The journal “Letting Moses Go: Hurston and Reed Disowning Exodus” by Joshua Pederson rework Moses as the Israelite saviour of the Israelites who when reworked is a foreigner who leaves his adopted people in the desert and wanders off to write new stories. The author, Reed, however goes further by saying Moses “wreaks havoc”, and was very violent, and his legend bears little resemblance to the Biblical myth. The book itself says that the Israelite history to the African-American history can no longer serve as a positive model for blacks. It goes on to question the worthiness of the Hebrews and their leader; and the integrity and importance of the Israelite God. The Book of Laws are seen by many as savagery and the Book of Covenant (Exodus 21: 1-23:33) has kept foreigners under the bondage of slavery and, Moses himself was forceful with his law(s) of brutality.


One Evangelical evangelist has responded by saying: “I assume the person in question is referring about the children of Israel when Moses freed them from Egypt? If yes, the children of Israel became rebellious and started to complain, they wanted to go backwards to Egypt to being Slaves again instead of being free. This is after the first sign of hardship in the wilderness! The Israelites were so accustomed to being slaves they failed to understand and appreciate that God through His servant Moses had set them free. They preferred and missed the garlic and onions. Food. Instead of forming a true relationship with God. They also insulted God and built idols and performed many abominations in the sight of God. Just like today people fail to comprehend Jesus came to set them free.
God instructed Moses to let the Israelites know that they could chose life of death? God gives everyone to opportunity to exercise their own free will to chose to serve him, worship Him or not too. Was Moses brutal to the Israelites? I think not. No, the children of Israel were brutal to God.”

A Statista Research Report for the USA

The trend of fatal police shootings in the United States seems to only be increasing, with a total 429 civilians having been shot, 88 of whom were Black, as of June 4, 2020. In 2018, there were 996 fatal police shootings, and in 2019 this figure increased to 1,004. Additionally, the rate of fatal police shootings among Black Americans was much higher than that for any other ethnicity, standing at 30 fatal shootings per million of the population as of June 2020.

Police brutality in the U.S. since the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014, police brutality has become a hot button issue in the United States. The number of homicides committed by police in the United States is often compared to those in countries such as England, where the number is significantly lower.

Black Lives Matter is a movement formed in 2013, has been a vocal part of the movement against police brutality in the U.S. and will always respond to the killings of black men and women by police. On another note, Heart disease remains to be the highest cause of death amongst both Black and White people in the United States of America.

(Statistics published by Statista Research Department, Jun 5, 2020. Photo:DerbyTelegraph.co.uk)

Millie Small: Pioneer and Icon

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Millie Small (6 October 1947 – 5 May 2020) wax a great revelation to the WindRush’s 1st generation, during a time when the dancehall and music was the rage around London. Her music lives on through their children; like me. (Jennifer Valentine-Miller)

The journey of Millie Small was steered initially by Coxone Dodd’s label, then Chris Blackwell’s Island Records. “My Boy Lollipop” put Island Records on course to become an influential record label with an excellent musical reputation. In 1964 it was the fuse for Jamaican SKA music, her track went Global making history & developed the foundational structures of Jamaican Reggae Music. The Record Collector Magazine reported that the no. 1 hit singe was “equivalent of Elvis’ Heartbreak Hotel or the Sex Pistols’ God Save The Queen. The song popularised a sound previously considered to be on the margins of mainstream consciousness”.

After leaving Island Records in 1970, she recorded for legendary reggae label Trojan Records, where her first single was a cover of Nick Drake’s “Mayfair”. However, it was the b-side that attracted greater attention “Enoch Power”, it was a defiant response to Enoch Powell’s inflammatory, anti-immigration “Rivers of Blood” speech. Small’s lyrics captured the mood of the UK’s Caribbean population, and also received a rapturous response when she played the song at the Caribbean Music Festival at Wembley Arena, a month after its release. Her iconic “Millie and Boyfriends” album, Small was never able to replicate the success of “My Boy Lollipop”, scoring only one further chart hit with “Oh, Henry”. Despite, she continued to tour and record, and appeared frequently on pop shows like Juke Box Jury and Ready Steady Go. Chris Blackwell from Island Records is quoted to have said, “She was such a sweet person, really a sweet person. Very funny, great sense of humour. She was really special,”.