Shoes I can never fill

Hi, it’s nice to check in as always. I don’t do enough writing these days and being honest I’d like to see that change. It’s a natural bias of mine. A gift from my father and one of his sisters my auntie Blossom. Earlier this evening I had to republish a blog post I wrote way back in August 2022 following the sudden and tragic death of my dear friend and fellow cop watcher Ahmed Fofanah. You can read what I said at the time about that brother Ahmed here.

Ahmed was one of the Bristol Copwatch core team and writing about him as I have written about my dad in the past tense is something I’m still navigating. He sat on the Co-PoWER project community engagement panel not just as a Bristol Copwatch representative but most importantly as himself. When it came to his own journey and fight for justice I can still hear his strong voice as if it were yesterday.

When I think about our lived experience of the police at their very worst it’s fair to say that we had a lot in common. I guess it’s one of the reasons we made friends. We connected and we got on well even though that friendship developed primarily through supporting Ahmed and his family it was heartwarming to see it grow after that point and to hear his voice when he said how he wanted to help others navigate journeys that they never wanted to make.

I guess that’s why when Co-POWeR asked us if we could recommend anyone for the community engagement panel we just had to suggest Ahmed as the most suitable person we knew. I mean who else could it of been? I feel honoured to be heading to Leeds tomorrow for the Co-POWeR final conference. This is something Ahmed would have done. These are shoes I can never fill. I miss my fam just like I miss my dad.

Ahmed at his home in July 2022 with Co-POWeR photo courtesy of Co-POWeR

It’s going to be an important couple of days at the conference in Leeds and I just would like to say thank you to Co-POWeR not only for their vital work examining the impact of COVID-19 and racial discrimination on Black, Asian, and minority ethnic communities in the UK during the lockdown and the pandemic but for hearing our dear friends voice when it needed to be heard the most.

To me, this event is about celebrating the resilience of our communities and exploring how we can overcome such conditions in the future of course to myself, his family, and to Co-POWeR it is also about remembering our dear friend Ahmed Fofanah taken so suddenly from us when he had so much to give. If anything I take a great deal of solace in knowing that he told me to keep doing what I’m doing and to keep fighting for justice just like my dad always did, and because of this I rejoice and raise my fist. Thank you my brother for your contributions and vital work. These are shoes I can never ever fill.

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