Not a day passes without the thought of my dearest brother piercing my thoughts and impacting my feelings, whilst influencing my opinions and choices in all that I do.
My grandmother always says there is a time to talk and a time be still, a time to laugh and a time to cry, a time to weep and a time for joy. My grandmother told my brothers and I many things that will stay with us all forever. Her old Jamaican fables, moral stories and old sayings all meant something and as the years passed they all manifested themselves for us to understand. They were life’s lessons. The way, in which she lives her life with love, courage, inspiration, goodness of spirit and humor (that would make your side split) encouraged us all to live with goodness and love in our hearts. This example was used as my brother’s life foundation, also an example for the rest of our family to follow (including my own). The most important thing she taught us was love (not only) each other, but also how to extend that love to others (as it spoke volumes of ones character).
Robert was the pinnacle of Love. Either you loved what he said, loved the way he made you feel, loved his person, loved his style, or for many of his friends that knocked my parents door – just loved him. He was the shining light in so many eyes, for he was chosen; you felt his presence when he entered a room and he carried himself with a classy, straight approach that many respected. I grew with Robert both marveling and in awe at both my brothers Christopher and Robert; daily, watching them making a difference in the World. The love we shared (as brothers) was on no other level I can compare, the two of them both the left and right of my heart.
It pains each day to know he is not enjoying the world, in which others take for granted and that he is not out there in the world proving his worth, his love and determination, setting standards for other young people to follow.
Working through all the pain and agony of losing my dear brother, I did not want anyone associated with me not to know who he was, not to remember his name. I wanted the name Robert Levy to signify something more than just a statistic or someone who you remembered once a year with tears in your eyes. I desire for his name to signify hope, a new way and guidance for the younger generations.
My skill is, I can talk for Britain and inspire, I have my grandma’s ability to make you feel good and I can express my love for my brother directly from my heart, therefore I had the opportunity to start delivering presentations into schools talking about my brother Robert and who he was. With my work with other educational establishments (The British Council, European Union, Windsor Fellowship and local Government to name a few) I was able to refine a few educational programmes, which became effective tools for change and impact with young peoples wellbeing.
Our educational programme was analysed and evaluated using a NHS emotional wellbeing assessment to understand both its success and methods, to which it be recommended that the programme should be rolled out throughout all East London schools. Inspired Futures and our staff have the necessary experience, professionalism and the engagement to continue the wonderful legacy of my brother.
Inspired Futures will try to harness and implement all the qualities Robert was raised with and instill it into the young people who engage with our organisation.
My brother Shaquille; what I would give to have a conversation with my baby brother only God knows. He was a young man you could never say no to, even if you wanted or needed to, all he would do is look at you with them big beautiful eyes and you would have no choice but to give in.
Shaquille was the youngest of six siblings for 13 years then our baby sister was born and, gaining the opportunity to be a big brother and oh what a great big brother he was. Watching him care for his sister at such a tender age opened us up to a side of Shaquille that made us so proud.
Shaquille was always smiling and doing funny things. He was a private person who liked his own space and he idolised his big brother. He would show his affection for us on an individual basis either by playing fighting or at the same time giving us sloppy kisses. Shaquille was my baby and will for ever be, I remember when he was one my mother put his cot in my room, this young king would wake up climb out the cot ready to play I would just go and make him a bottle, 7 ounces every night. When I told my mother that’s what I used to do she said no wonder he was so fat because she didn’t know I was feeding him at night.
He was a prank ‘star with a passion for football with his favorite team being Manchester United. He was a lover of food and wouldn’t hesitate to try anything new. Even though he was only 13 most of his friends would come to him for advice and guidance. He was an old soul and had a lot of wisdom. His morals were strong, he would never allow any one to be harmed around him.
There was this one boy who was In the year above him at school that was being bullied, Shaquille took it upon himself to wait for that boy everyday after school to go home with him so that no one could trouble him. That’s the kind of person he was, a true Angel. If I had to describe him in one word it would be ‘Love’ he was the true definition of love.
Years have gone by since he left us but it still feels like it was yesterday, at times I find myself just sitting here imagining what he would be like what he would look like would he have kids, a million thoughts run though my mind. But one thing I do know that he would have been is a great young man who would have been doing great things for his community. So in his honour I will inspire the young people of today, helping them to see that no matter what you’re going through today the future is bright and the world is their oyster.
The passion Shaquille had for life has not died and through Inspired Futures we will carry on that passion and help every young King And Queen to reach their full potential.
Zakiya Smith xx