Young Citizen: Goodmayes teenager gives inspiring speech at Barnardo’s Black History Month event

PUBLISHED: 07:00 01 November 2019 | UPDATED: 09:01 01 November 2019

Marisa Olusemo, 16, speaking at Barnardo's Black History Month event. Picture: Piers Allardyce

Marisa Olusemo, 16, speaking at Barnardo's Black History Month event. Picture: Piers Allardyce


A Goodmayes teenager who gave a passionate speech about the importance of equality at a Black History Month event for children’s charity Barnardo’s is this week’s Recorder/Rotary Young Citizen nominee.

Young Citizen Awards has launched again for 2019.Young Citizen Awards has launched again for 2019.

Marisa Olusemo, 16, was among 150 guests who attended Barnardo's Honouring our Past, Empowering our Future reception at the University of Westminster's Fyvie Hall in Regent Street on Thursday, October 24.

At the event, which was attended by a number of celebrities, Barnardo's showcased archive photographs of black children supported by the charity more than 100 years ago.

This was followed by a thought-provoking discussion on the challenges faced by black youth today.

Marisa - who is a young carer to her mother, Jacqueline, who has diabetes - spoke about the support she has received from Barnardo's Young Carer service, ever since she was referred to the service, run in partnership with Redbridge Council, shortly before Christmas in 2018 by her school.

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At the time, Marisa was experiencing a lot of anxiety due to her caring responsibilities and needed support.

Each Tuesday, Marisa is among several young carers to visit Barnardo's Young Carer Service which is run from its hub in Ilford. Marisa said: "I appreciate the support that Barnardo's has given to young people for more than 153 years, especially for people of colour who still face racism and challenges.

"Barnardo's helps me feel that I'm not alone in the struggles I go through in life."

The Young Citizen series celebrates the young people of Redbridge. Each month a winner is chosen from the nominees, the finalists will be invited to the Mayor's Community Awards night in March and the overall winner will be announced.

The winner will receive £100 from Redbridge Rotary Club and will, along with the runner-up, go through to the national Young Citizen final run by Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland.

You can nominate any person from Redbridge, as long as they are under 25, by emailing

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