Motivational speaker and poet, Andreena Leeanne, visited North Notts College to raise awareness of the issues facing society in regard to equality and diversity.
Andreena was born in Barnet, London, and spent the majority of her youth living between here, and her grandmother’s house in Jamaica.
She has battled many personal challenges in her lifetime, from her identity and mental health, to homelessness and childhood abuse. In October 2020, she released a book called ‘Charred: A survivor speaks her truth to inspire’ which consists of a series of poems published by Team Angelica and was later shortlisted for a Polari First Book Prize in 2021. Her poetry provides insight into some of the things she has experienced and how they have shaped her into who she is today.
During her presentation, Andreena started by speaking about intersectionality, which is a term used to describe the interconnected nature of a person’s identity. For example, this could include their race, sexual orientation, gender identity, nationality, or disability.
Andreena stated: “If we recognised the challenges that people face as a result of the intersections of their identity, then we can start to understand them better as a person. Coming into college can help educate people from a young age and help them realise support is available to them. My hope is that everyone who sits in one of my speeches comes away with an open mind and starts being more inclusive.”
She went onto speak about authenticity and how important it is for everyone to be their true self; regardless of what other people think. This will help to inspire other people to be more authentic and trust will be built along the way. Andreena also highlighted how important it is to stand-up against oppression by taking positive action to support marginalised groups, such as LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, plus).
Childcare student, Millie Hanson, said: “Today has opened my eyes. There are millions of people in the world, all with their own stories and experiences. I think it is important to embrace every person that we meet with kindness and respect.”
Want to know more about Andreena and her stories? Check out Her book ‘charred’, which is available in the Learning Hub!