My Name is Kris Blake.
My dad is from Kingston town, Jamaica and my mother is from Hackney in London making me half Jamaican. My eldest Sister is 48, my second eldest sister is 45, and the other eldest sister is 31.
By the age of 5, I started to experience how the colour of my skin would make me stand out, and not for the right reasons. I felt I couldn’t control my thoughts or behaviours, I felt very different and mixed up. I would try and explain to the teachers but to be honest, they didn’t seem to care and in 1995 I was diagnosed and statemented with ADHD at the age of three. I remember feeling really upset and frustrated as I already felt different due to the colour of my skin.
I always knew from quite early on in life that I was different from others. I felt that I was treated differently due to my colour and having ADHD. I was the problem child, and this followed me right through my schooling.
I ended up being bullied in primary and secondary school for being different. I was not accepted by the other black or white communities as I was a mix of both races, something I couldn’t control but still had to pay the price. By the age of 8 I already got myself a name as the naughty kid in school.
We decided to move to Wales in 2008, where things seemed to look better, but for me my problems became a lot worse. I was excluded from main school at 13 years old and at this point I was targeted as a threat even though I had done nothing wrong, I believe this was because of the way I looked, because of the colour of my skin. I believed that I fitted what the police were looking for.
I then became a victim to the local police again. I can't but believe that this was down to my skin colour. If something had happened, and the description was a “dark lad” the police would arrest me no questions asked and this led me to losing faith in the system and I ended up feeling that the police were against me, something I never wanted to happen, but the way I felt treated, it seemed the only route, even though I knew it was wrong.
After a while, I hated being the person they made me out to be and knowing I was good at heart, I knew that the only way I could change people’s mindsets was to prove them all wrong . I started Boxing to keep me off the streets and active; that seemed to work as it led me towards joining the army, a decision that was the best I had ever made.
At 21, I had my first-born son, and it was when my wife had told me she was pregnant, I had to make a stand not only for me but for my family so they would not have to go through what I did growing up. My wife was also exposed to racial victimisation quite early on in our relationship, which is why she then understood why I was the way I was.
The army changed my life for the better but sadly I was medically discharged. I was told I would not be able to walk again, but I knew that the trauma I had experienced growing up would give me the resilience to overcome this barrier and 6 months down the line I was up on my feet and eager to show people what I could be. Soon after, I had a call from my sister asking if I would like to try MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) so me being the person I am, I joined. Shortly after joining I had my first debut fight and won.
I was then picked to represent the UK in MMA something that coming from my background filled me with pride.
After representing the UK in the Europeans, I then started to look for work as I had a family to provide for. I then had my second child and things were looking up until I was made redundant from work and this point anxiety and depression were setting in. I knew I had to do something about it before it was too late, I knew I wanted to be back in uniform and wanted to work with children but I didn’t know how to get there and I wasn’t having support from anyone guiding me or showing me how to do it .
I received a phone call one day from a childhood friend who was in a position to help, and he recommended me to his company MPCT. I always knew that working with young people and “giving back” to others would bring me purpose and happiness, and I was right.
I was back in uniform. I was also helping young learners from all different walks of life and most of all I was now being the person I needed, when I was in school.
It has taken me a long time to understand that racism is not my problem, it’s the problem of the racist and I am pleased to say that I now get to work in an environment that positively displays and champions, diversity, equality and inclusion for everyone . If we work together to educate people about different races, cultures and background we can make the work a better and happier place to live.
“It’s not the beginning that matters it’s the ending”