FOLLOWING the district’s first anti-racism demonstration, where crowds heard an emotional account of a mixed race woman’s experiences of racism in the Tyne Valley, another resident has shared her story.

Assistant podcast producer, Jenna Green, who is of English and Jamaican heritage, has lived in Tynedale for nearly 15 years, having moved to the area from North London to be closer to family.

But despite being born in the UK, she claimed she was often told to ‘go back to her own country’.

She said: “Throughout living here, I’ve experienced numerous racial slurs and faced experiences that to this day, I haven’t even told my parents about for fear they would think it was their fault.

“I’ve watched my older brother face similar, if not worse, issues to the point where he no longer enjoys coming home. I think that is the most frightful part, the fact that racism prevents Hexham from being a home.”

Jenna, who studied social policy and crime specialising in race and ethnicity at university, said she had even been verbally abused en-route to the demonstration on Hexham’s Tyne Green.

She added: “Having to trail through threads of comments which, subliminally or overtly, express how unwelcome some believe people of colour are in this town only serves to highlight just how much of an issue we have. I can’t express the mental trauma it places on people, like myself, to whom such comments apply.

“Perhaps racism isn’t a problem to the majority in Hexham, but whilst it remains a problem for members of our community, the problems of the community are the problems of us all.

“To not see that racism exists in Hexham is a wonderful privilege and a goal we can work towards allowing everyone to share.

“Racism is not intrinsic, it is taught and adopted, therefore to overcome it, it needs to be abandoned and ‘unlearnt’.

“We live in such a beautiful place it doesn’t deserve to be infiltrated by hate or home to discrimination of any form.

“I’m really thrilled to have a group such as Hexham Against Racism and to see all of the wonderful work being done. I think the passion for change and the desire to see difference is fantastic.

“Personally, I feel the best way to tackle racism in Hexham is to promote unity, positivity and inclusion by celebrating Hexham’s diversity.”