Includability Committed Employers - The Forestry Commission's REACH (Race Equality and Cultural Heritage) Staff Network invites you to their launch event with guest speaker Richard Stokes, Culture and Inclusion Manager at Avon Fire and Rescue Service and Author.
In 1988 Richard Stokes became the first Black Queens Guardsman. Against all odds he joined the elite Brigade of Guards. He was a Grenadier Guard at 16 years old.
Despite this perfect honour, Richard’s life in the army was far from perfect. Fighting conflict was one thing, fighting racism was quite another. Ironically, Richard was adopted into a white family in 1969 when he was 9 months old. His family showed him love and compassion but that was not enough to protect him from society. Facing name-calling and hatred, he always felt the odd one out. He struggled with identity, was confused about cultural nuances and he yearned for a sense of belonging.
In Richard’s teenage years his curiosity got the better of him. He made a bargain with his dad, Brian. Richard would remain in the army in exchange for finding his birth mother.
Richard’s remarkable story is recounted in his new book Trooping the Culture, which is available on Amazon. In his talk, Richard will highlight why race equality is everyone's business, weaving in aspects of his own life and career journey to date.