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Time To Make a Change

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The word 'change' is stuck in my mind.

Not only as a result of the big event that made London the live stage of a global wake up call about female empowerment - Chime for Change - but moreover for the sense of urgency that the recent news has stirred in me. Negative episodes like the death of the soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich arouse fear and despair, but to widely condemn and utterly disdain Muslim community is not the answer.

Responding with hate doesn't help to fight the reasonable anxiety towards this extremely anti-social behaviour. On the contrary, this type of reaction simply destroys the progress made in building a bridge between different cultures. Never forget that it is a small minority causing the upset - generalisation of any kind is the result of a lack of information. History has taught us time and time again that the war against anything, whether it be drugs, gun crime or the war on terror results in more disfunction, fear and a general worsening of our quality of life.
Wherever you live in the world we have a right to be free, to express ourselves and live in peace. If we don't want to perpetrate the same mistakes then surely we need a transformation. The change starts from the act of an individual: from someone like you, from someone like me. 

At the Chime For Change concert, great and powerful cultural icons such as Beyonce and Madonna all gathered together at Twickenham Stadium as spokespeople for important human issues, pointing out the vital purpose of raising your voice for the right matters. Instead of being judgmental and stereotypical we need to focus on our potential and convey a resolution.
I am tired of witnessing humiliations and unfairness to a great proportion of the population.  

So as a replacement of my anger I chose to be creative and try to break boundaries that seem unbreakable. My journey started just over a year ago when my documentary on Racism and Homophobia, 'Britain's Gay Footballers', was aired on the BBC and was just the start of a campaign that I am running in the name of my deceased uncle Justin Fashanu.

A positive attitude is the key to fight and eradicate the ancestral plagues that are racism and homophobia and my fashion label, Black Heart, is launching soon with this specific aim: support and give a voice to the uniqueness in every single person.

Do not be afraid of fully expressing who you are, because out there, in the real world your heroes and your icons are doing that very thing. I allude to great sporting exponents like Robbie Rogers and Jason Collins.

Rogers came out as gay in February and to date he is only the second male footballer in Britain to do so after Justin. Twenty-three years have passed and the subject is still a sensitive one, but thankfully not as taboo as it was in the 1990s.

Collins, the NBA basketball player, publicly stated his homosexuality through Sports Illustrated website on April and constantly honours Matthew Shepard, victim of a gay hate crime back in 1998, by wearing number 98 on his jersey.

We all need to play our part and it is now clearly time for change. Only through the collective power of our voices can we make a change. It starts here. It starts now.

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