• Marianne Cooper-vd Veen

Awareness - Final Editing

Written by: Iris Engelsman and Thomas Sykes.

Final editing, checking content on spelling/grammar/layout and design: Marianne Cooper-van der Veen, Hedwig Hibma and others.


"We don't see guys like you on a bike like this". That's what the police said to Thomas Sykes when he was riding his e-bike in Groningen, the Netherlands. They made him proof that it was his bike, which was not a problem at all, but he never got an apology. The instant thought that came to his mind was that where he's from (Washington, USA) this is called racial profiling.


Thomas has his own barbershop and hears stories like this from his customers all the time. The stories vary from being stared at, abused, refused or ignored just because of their appearance, origin, sexual orientation, disability, social position, opinions or believes.


Author Iris Engelsman and Thomas Sykes decided to combine their forces and started interviewing people in Groningen about their experiences with and reflections on discrimination. All with the intention to make people aware of what's going on in the city. Thinking they can stop discrimination would be unrealistic and naive... But if they can have a positive influence on the opinon or behavior of just one person it would already make a difference. Start small, take baby steps but think big!


It was an honor and a privilege to be a part of this project and I hope to work on more projects like this in the future. It's a topic that needs attention and spreading awareness is needed in order to make a change in society!