Parent organisation of Community Links, Foundation and Bridging the Gap

Black History Month Q&A: Cadia Douglas

Cadia Douglas photographPlease can you tell us about your role and a short summary of your career at Community Links?
Hi, my name is Cadia and I am the Senior Complex Needs worker at the Changes service. The service provides specialist support to men and women with complex needs who offend or at risk of offending.

I started working for community links in 2014 at Brigid House Hostel while I was completing my degree. I started as an agency worker and was later offered a part time position. I spent 2.5 years in that post and then moved over to the Changes service in 2017 as a complex needs’ worker. In 2021 I applied for the Senor position and was successful in my interview.

What does Black History Month’s theme Saluting Our Sisters mean to you?
Saluting our Sisters to me means that we are letting others know about the work/ contributions that black women have made but it has not been spoken about. It’s about remembering them (past and present), it’s about saying “Hey this is what they did, this is how they contributed to how society is now or how they paved and continue to pave the way for other black women.”

Did you have a role model growing up? Tell us about them.
My role model was my mum and grandma. I was born in Jamaica and grew up there so my experience may differ from others born in the UK. I did not witness racism or discrimination due to the colour of our skin, but I did experience discrimination due to poverty. My mum worked hard to rise us out of poverty, she left Jamaica and came to England, and I remember her talking about the treatment she was receiving from society. As I lived with my grandma, I saw how hard she tried to make sure that myself and my cousins had the basics and were happy.  My mum went on to complete her degree and then her masters.

Why is it important to recognise Black History Month?
To continue to raise the attention on the contributions that black people have made to the world. It honours black people from the past and those living today. It is also important to help the younger black generation to know what their peers have done, and this will help them to want to do the same.

What would you say to young Black women coming into the workplace now?
It may feel hard at times, you may feel deflated at times, you may feel inadequate to your white peers at times, you may feel that you are being treated unfairly at times, you may feel that you are not understood or having to keep explain why you speak loud or why you use your hands all the time when speaking. But remember you are unique and you have a story to tell. Keep being strong.