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Naomi Lundie-Smith wins place at Grand Final

10 Nov 2020

2020 is an unprecedented year with change and adapting to the new being key features for all of us. This year Jack Petchey’s “Speak Out” Challenge! Will not take place at Cambridge Theatre, instead we are live streaming with pre-recording speeches broadcast from a London film studio on Tuesday 1st December.

From the 20,000 young people who took part in the “Speak Out” Challenge! this year, we are thrilled to announce this year’s Grand Finalists, some of whom became Regional Champions and some Digital Final Champions. In no particular order, please meet the first of our Grand Finalists.

We are delighted to share our ninth Grand Finalists, congratulations Naomi Lundie-Smith.

At the Waltham Forest Regional Final, Naomi Lundie-Smith of Frederick Bremer School became the champion with a speech titled ‘Likkle but tallawah’. Her speech is a passionately told story of her heritage, personal history and the journey of bravery undertaken by her Grandfather to travel from Jamaica to the UK to forge a new live in an unknown land. ‘Likkle but tallawah’ she explains, means ‘small but mighty’. 

We asked Naomi, why do you think it’s important for young people, like you, to share their stories?

“I think too easily, especially in this day and age, it’s become more and more common for people to look down on Generation Z as if they are or have done any better than we have. It hurts me, especially in London, when assumptions are made about teenagers, the news definitely doesn’t help the stigma surrounding young people. In the world we are constantly told to voice our points, but when we do we are depicted in the news as wild animals, starting riots and disrupting the day to day lives of others. My point is, how do you (the older generations of this world) expect us to run a marathon if nobody ever gives us the opportunity to learn how to walk? When we did ask we were told that we were being too loud for their liking. I think things like “Speak Out” Challenge! are great because we can disrupt the peace and make as much noise as we want. Who knows, maybe someday a speech will be said at the finals that matches Martin Luther Kings’ skill, start tidal waves in peoples lives and change people for the better.”

How could this experience help you further any passions, or career ambitions you have?

“I’ve always really enjoyed spoken word, song-writing, acting and poetry. All of these things need a person to have confidence in themselves which can be hard sometimes. Confidence is so easily knocked and can effect people for years. The Speak Out Challenge has really helped me gain back the confidence that I lost and that new confidence will help me if I decide to go down the route of public speaking, poetry, song-writing or whatever my heart calls to. If you walk into a interview room with your head held high and you speak clearly, making every point a point worth listening to then they will surely remember you.”

And finally, how would you like people to think / act differently from hearing your story?

“My story isn’t my own, but my grandparents’. Their story, despite being unique to them, no doubt happened to hundred of other people. Separately, they moved away from their island in the sun to the island of rain and sleet. Already different for their accents and the colour of their skin, the only thing they could do was stand their ground or go home. I am so proud to be able to say that they stood their ground, both of them, when the world really tried to throw them back down. When people hear about my Granny and Grandad’s story, I want them to know that your background never defines you. The speech is called ‘Likkle but Tallawah’ because, despite being in the minority, they were as strong as forty armies. And yes, though  the world has appeared to progress, it is important to remember stories like my grandparents’ are still happening today and we must never for a second forget the past because it shapes the future.”

Share Naomi’s story.

Help spread the messages of these young people, attend the Grand Final. Register now for this free event using the link below.