As part of my voluntary work on the Amplify Black Voices UK project, I have been running short portrait sessions with people who have stories they want to share. You can find Jessica's words below. Please take time to consider her words, and also check out the UK-wide project to learn more and discover more personal stories.
In 2017 my husband and I purchased our first home in a brand new development in Surrey. We were so proud of this achievement; having worked extremely hard over the years and sacrificing a lot to save a big enough deposit for it. At just 25 years of age at the time, we were ecstatically looking forward to start a family in our new home.
One evening, we were heading home after visiting some friends, at the traffic lights, as we made a right turn into the development, I noticed that the car behind us; which was initially going straight head, had at the last minute indicated to also turn right. It was a warm-ish day and so our windows were half way down. I didn't think much of it at first, my husband who was driving our car was completely oblivious of the car behind us. As we were slowly making our way down the development, I noticed that the car behind us was getting closer and closer. It was at that point, that I mentioned to my husband that I thought we were being followed. He initially brushed it off, stating that perhaps the driver behind was annoyed at how slow we were driving through the development (there is a 10 mph limit). When we finally pulled into our drive, the car behind us also stopped. A white man came out questioning us, his exact words were "What are you doing here? Why are you here?" We were a bit stunned, but I answered that we were home, the house in front of us was our home. He had a blank expression on his face, almost as if he didn't believe us. He proceeded to tell us that he was an undercover police officer, he flashed his badge and waited for us to open our front door before moving off. Before driving off, he blurted out "Nice neighbourhood isn't it, here! I didn't realise that people had started moving in" which was extremely hard to believe given the number of cars parked outside all the houses throughout the development. Once inside our home, I looked at my husband almost in tears, having realised that we had just being racially profiled by a police officer.