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Ashley and Witness in Lozells
What's happened to my streets?
By Ashley Blake
Ashley Blake was born and brought up in Lozells. He asks the question 'what's happened to my streets?'
Lozells is where I grew up, Church Street the family home. Youngest of six, three boys and three girls and a single parent, my mum Patricia.
Ashley in Villa Street Park
My garden backed onto Villa Street Park where I spent hours playing with my best pal at the time Ranjinder Singh, I spent more time round his house than I did my own. Lozells was a great place to live. But over the years it's changed - and I'm not sure why.
Soul food shopping
It's a question I've been asking myself ever since I moved out of Lozells aged 23. I'm still connected to the area, I get my hair cut there every week, some of my old school pals still live in the area and whenever I fancy some good old fashioned soul food my mum taught me to cook, I shop for the fresh ingredients all along Lozells Road.
They'd have us believe this weekends events is a race-war, black on Asians and vice versa, this I find hard to believe and I met a number of people who feel the same.
Looking for the truth
I took a walk around my old area on Monday, not as a reporter for the BBC but as someone saddened by what's been reported in the press, I guess like most, I was looking for the truth.
A gospel singer and friend of mine, Witness, agreed to meet me in the park I used to play in, Villa Street Park looks much better now than I ever remember it looking, floodlit basketball courts, acres of freshly cut grass and a colourful children's play area with loads of climbing frames and soft flooring to bounce on if ever you fell off. Never had that when I was a child!
'Welcome' at Villa Street Park
It was good to meet up with Witness, he sees what I see, the good in people. We part company and I make my way out of the park, I see on the entrance to the park the word 'Welcome', but it's also the same word written in many different languages, this sums it up for me.
I'd spent the day speaking to just a few of the people who live and work together in this community, a multi-cultural community that I feel proud to be a part of. We can live together in harmony, I know we can - 'cos I've done it.
last updated: 06/08/2008 at 19:09
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