Former Portsmouth midwife is honoured for her work fighting for racial equality

A FORMER midwife who helped deliver countless babies in Portsmouth is today being celebrated for her tireless work battling for racial equality.

Wednesday, 30th December 2020, 7:00 am
Marie Costa, 82, has spent decades promoting race relations across the city and campaigning for equal rights. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Marie Costa is among the city’s top citizens being honoured for their community spirit in this year’s News Year Honours list.

Arriving in Somers Town in 1969, having immigrated from Nigeria in 1957, the dedicated midwife helped care for hundreds of babies across the city.

Now 82 and retired from her healthcare role, Marie has turned her gaze to promoting race relations, equality and women’s rights, as the founder of the city’s African Women’s Forum.

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After hearing about her recognition on The News Year Honours list, the delighted pensioner said: ‘I’m surprised and flabbergasted.’

Marie recently created the Windrush Generation Exhibition at the city’s library. The exhibition chronicled the story of Caribbean migrants who migrated to the city in the post-war era and the multicultural influence they have brought to peoples’ lives.

She also campaigned to bring an end to female genital mutilation in the African community and led the recent Mandela 100 community project to promote multiculturalism and eradication of racial prejudice.

While Marie’s work has been restricted due to Covid isolation she remains as passionate as ever about promoting peace and equality – particularly in our city’s schools.

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She said: ‘It’s really important to educate the next generation which is why we do a lot of work in schools. We run workshops looking at African arts and culture and have produced a workbook which can be used in all subject areas.’

Marie feels the significance of education is ‘more important than ever' this year in light of the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement.

She added: ‘The death of George Floyd has mobilised people across the world to demand change. George Floyd’s life has not been lost for nothing.’

Her new year’s wish is to ‘see a cure for coronavirus and a world where people respect each other for who they are’.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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