Wonderful Women Interview #22 – Zakiya McKenzie

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.

Zakiya McKenzie

 Zakiya Mckenzie is a single mom of a beautiful little boy. She was nominated for her commitment to increase the involvement of Black and Minority Ethnic communities in Bristol’s environmental sector. Zakiya is also a broadcaster on Ujima Radio, is studying for a PhD with University of Exeter, and has worked with Up Our Street on a range of community research projects.

What advice would you give your younger self? 

I really wish I could go back and say ”listen to mommy and daddy – they probably know what they’re talking about. Hug everybody a little bit longer.”

Also, “Stick with Track training – the discipline and daily perseverance will serve you well later in life.”   

And, “You’re not ugly, really, you’re not.”

Which women have inspired you? 

My mother – May I inherit half her strength.

My 90-year-old grandmother who is still a community activist in Portland, Jamaica.

Reggae artiste Jah9 – she is unrelenting in using her voice to advocate for truths and rights (especially women) in the purest, most sweet reggae music way.

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

I would like to see more Black women owning businesses, running big projects and in front of students in the two big universities in Bristol.

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

Reading The Crick Crack Abstract by Jamaican Gladstone Taylor opened multiple streams of creativity for me. 

A woman wearing a white shirt and black cardigan stands with her back against a white wall. She has short black hair and smiles at the camera

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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