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Opening Address

Welcome to the first Day of Celebration of Mixed-Race Achievement. A day I have looked forward to for many years.

For too many centuries, mixed-race individuals and families have been margialised by society. Caught between the races, those with a mixed racial background have never being recognised for their own individual diversity. As a result they have been denied their place in history.

Today we can see mixed-race individuals all over the media; we can watch endless sensationalist documentaries about how mixed relationships don't work and how mixed-race individuals are confused. In some instances, both statements have been proven to be true but these examples are only a small part of the mixed-race experience.

There are many relationships that do work and have stood the tests of time in proof. There are many who are not confused about their identity and many despite disapproval have made positive contributions to society.

I formed Intermix because I wanted to change society's perceptions of the mixed-race experience. This Day of Celebration is intended to raise awareness of the positive side of that experience which until now has been unacknowledged.

Although today is about celebrating the positive side of our identity, we must not forget those who still face hardship because of their racial background. Some would have you believe that, in the 21st Century, mixed-race individuals have the best of both worlds but for many, that statement could not be farther from the truth. With more than 4,000 mixed-race children in the UK care system and thousands more world-wide facing difficulties everyday because of their dual heritage, there is still a long way to go before the mixed-race experience is accepted as an equal part of society.

There is no doubt the mixed-race population is growing both in numbers and age. The Census 2001 lists more than 700,000 adults between the ages of 16 and 60 in England and Wales alone.

Today we can show we are not all victims and children, that there are those of us who have already made outstanding contributions to society and that we are prepared to stand together and take our place as an equally valuable part of society.

Bob Purkiss, member of the TUC Executive Committee, couldn’t have put it better when he said, 'We must make sure that mixed-race families are made more visible so that the growing number of mixed-race children do not have to face a society which sweeps their experiences under the carpet.' It's time to roll back the carpet. If we can still produce positive role models whilst sitting on the margins of society, imagine what can be achieved in an inclusive society.

In an ideal world, we would not have to define ourselves by our racial identity. We are all mixed to some degree but it is not an ideal world and more often than not, those who do not fit into society’s idea of what is acceptable, are excluded. It is not just an obstacle for us as mixed-race individuals and families, it is an obstacle the whole world must address because until there is equality for all, there will be no true growth and we as human beings will not move forward.

I hope that you enjoy this event, make new friends, learn something new and above all take away positive thoughts.

Founder Sharron Hall

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