Parent organisation of Community Links, Foundation and Bridging the Gap

Black History Month

For Black History Month this year, we’ve asked our incredible services to host an event to educate, celebrate and understand Black History. We particularly want to focus on Black Britons as part of the Black History Month’s ‘Proud to Be’ 2021 theme. We all know the big players in Black American history, who were pivotal in the fight towards equity, but it’s important we educate ourselves on Black History in the UK to be able to fully understand where we are now.

The world has changed over the past year, since we all sat in lockdown watching the media cycle the pictures of George Floyd slowly dying with a knee on his neck. The outrage and protests that followed inspired a generation to make their voices heard and pointed a spotlight on the inequalities still happening here in the UK.

At times it’s difficult to talk about racism in the UK, in part because some believe the UK to be ‘not as bad as America’ and therefore not a topic we need to focus on. The systematic and institutional racism in the UK is the parts of society we don’t always want to acknowledge. It comes from laws and systems put in place when the trade of Black Africans was rife across the country. As the country has evolved into the 21st century, many parts of society which continues to oppress Black people hasn’t.

Black people are still oppressed in our schools, our workplaces, in our legal system, in their day to day lives in the UK. A mother worried to pop their shopping in the top of the pram in Tesco’s for fear of being accused of theft, boys not wearing black tracksuits or their hoods up for fear of being suspicious, girls having to explain their natural hair in school and wearing ‘acceptable’ styles to fit into an outdated school policy…

These few examples are only symptoms of a much bigger picture. Black History Month is a stark reminder that what we do now, how we choose to conduct ourselves and our country, will one day be part of Black History too. What history do you want to be part of? It’s time to educate ourselves and our children so that the history future generations study, is the history of change and equity.

Emily Brenson – EDI Coordinator.