Redbridge pensioner in fight to tackle racism
- Credit: Archant
An 88-year-old Redbridge pensioner is tackling the issue of racism worldwide – using his late wife’s X-rays to send out a clear message.
Joe Kraven, working with Hainault IT expert Adrian Ajibade, has produced images which have been sent as far as South Africa - to the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg.
The message has been supported by several leading figures at national and local level, including Leyton Orient footballer Kevin Lisbie, Redbridge councillor Alan Weinberg and former Bolton Wanderers footballer Fabrice Muamba.
Mr Kraven, of Elderberry Close, Ilford, said: “Everybody is totally the same. Some people think they are better than others – we see it everyday with fights on the streets, fights on the football terraces.
Mr Kraven’s message through his image is that each race is exactly the same.
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“It does not really matter if your Chinese, Asian or black,” he added
“I experienced racism when I was a child in the playground because I am Jewish, through education we can change this.”
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The image was developed four years ago after his wife Cissie’s x-rays were mistakenly sent to his house after she had died of pancreatic cancer.
Mr Kraven adds: “I knew what the x-rays were as soon as they arrived. At first I was afraid to open them.
“When I finally did, I left them on top of a newspaper and went to bed. When I got up in the morning I saw how the print was visible through the x-ray.
“The image showed a family where one half was black and the other was white so I thought of making a poster with an anti-racist message.”
Mr Kraven insists he is no artist but enjoys being creative. He hopes to attract support from other anti-racism organisations for his campaign.
Mr Ajibade, 45, of Hannards Way, says his senior project partner has become something of a father figure to him.
“I call him dad,” said Mr Ajibade. “Apart from the anti-racism message we are extremely close. We do have a father-son relationship apart from the skin colour and different mother, of course.”
Mr Ajibade says after initial success in spreading the message four years ago, the project does now needs some new direction.
He added: “Any publicity we have is good. The Recorder covers a very ethnically diverse community, so hopefully we can get some recognition for this.
“It is not pushed for commercial gain. It is just so we can get that message across.”