Wonderful Women Interview #18 – Larna Bernard

Bristol Women’s Voice Wonderful Women Awards were presented as part of our International Women’s Day celebrations on the 3rd of March. We celebrated over 50 women from across Bristol  who had been nominated for their contribution to their communities.

Larna Bernard

Larna received a Wonderful Women Award for her commitment to equality, empowerment and justice for all. As well as volunteering for a homeless charity, she has orchestrated women’s walks throughout Bristol and organised Bristol’s First Black History Quiz where people from all across the city were invited.

What advice would you give your younger self? 

Pursue developing a habit of timeliness as if your life depends on it.    

Which women have inspired you? 

Tina Turner

Nina Simone

Maya Angelou

Ellen Wilkinson

Queenie Francis – My Great Aunt

Dawo Quashie – My Grandmother

Aunty Princess

What do you want to see change for women in Bristol? 

Economically many women are suffering. Their artistic and nurturing skills are not enough in this man-skills centric economy. I want entrepreneurial programs put in place to support their businesses so that they can have a decent standard of living and not have them forced to take a part time jobs with poor pay that they do not want.

I am speaking here specifically of women of African origin whose parents were the Windrush generation.

Is there anything that you have read, seen or listened to recently which has inspired you? 

 Generally, I love to read or listen to women and men who have pulled themselves out of a hole. We all have the ability but at times we are overwhelmed. There’s nothing more inspirational than hearing of others who were at a low point which was lower than ours and how they pulled themselves out of it. Word for word it may not be you, but you normally find some gem hidden amongst all of the words – something to inspire you and to help you tackle your own issues. Three books that come to mind are:

  1. Brave Enough to Succeed by Valorie Burton
  2. Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
  3.  When by Daniel H Pink

What hopes do you have for your local community in 2018? 

I would like to see the scourge of homelessness leave our great city.  The problem is clearly related to drug taking and this is the root cause that has to be tackled first. Of course, there are other reasons for homelessness but many in this situation turn to drugs as a source of comfort.  If we do not deal with these issues the City will deteriorate. Everyone can do something. Donate clothes, volunteer at shelter, buy The Big Issue, volunteer for befriending, don’t be a NIMBY when a shelter is being developed in your neighbourhood etc. We cannot rely on politicians alone.

Bristol Women’s Voice are marking 100 years since the first women in the UK were given the vote with ‘Deeds not Words’ a year-long programme of events across the city. Find out about Deeds not Words events in Bristol here

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