What Black History Month means to me...
We asked our staff, clients and STAR diversity group what this celebratory month means to them. You can watch and listen to their responses here.
Aileen Edwards, Chief Executive Second Step
Thank you so much to all involved in leading Second Step’s promotion of Black History Month. Celebrating our Black communities is so important and this month is an opportunity for each of us, especially those in the majority population, to deepen our knowledge and understanding. With the Addressing Racism work the organisation is currently undertaking we want to ensure we develop a more inclusive and collaborative culture at Second Step.
Temba Mahari, Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Officer
For me Black History month is about celebrating my heritage as an African, Black, British citizen. Growing up here in the UK pretty much most of my life has brought me closer to understanding my identity as a black man and has made me realise that despite all the hurdles that life comes with, I am blessed to be black. Many sacrifices have been made by my family and other black people therefore it is always important to take some time to acknowledge and celebrate this month with EVERYONE!
Jada, Business Development Administrator
Black History Month is a time when I feel the Black experience is consciously made as part of the narrative, highlighted, appreciated and explored. I love how films and books are brought to my attention spurring me on to learn more and delve more. However it's bittersweet too as, for me, it shouldn’t be just a month. Schools should have books and teach a history that does not whitewash and relegate Black history to the shadows. There shouldn’t be this struggle for Black voices to be heard and valued and appreciated. For too long Black history has been neglected and reinterpreted but when I see the excitement and the effort people take to partake in this month, I feel camaraderie and pride.
Jasmine, Bristol Wellbeing College Tutor
I love black history month as a celebration of my culture, and a learning opportunity for everyone. My school history lessons didn’t recognise or mention the contribution and achievements of people of colour in the UK. I find the rich knowledge that is shared this month empowering. Although, black history month is wonderful I’m looking forward to black history not feeling condensed, we should teach, celebrate and learn from all history consistently.
Mobs, Senior Recovery Coach
It’s fantastic the way we bring our different experiences together and showcase how we are navigating this society & the wider world as Black British.
The present and future are very important but I wish young people knew about all the majestic history I learnt of at school in Nigeria- up until A levels -about the ancient empires of Mali, Songhai, Benin, on to the slave trade, the scramble for & partition of Africa until fight for independence from great children of the soil like Kwame Nkrumah, Nelson Mandela and Nnamdi Azikiwe.
Sajid, STAR Diversity Group
Black History Month raises the profile of people of colours heritage and history in the UK through education, arts and culture with the goal of helping people to better understand the diversity of present day Britain and improve social cohesion across the country
Pat Rose - Senior Health Link Worker
From Benjamin Franklin. “Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are”
Rodney, Support Assistant
For me Black history months means the symbol of blackness is not a symbol of shame; it is a symbol of greatness
Cyp, IT & CRM Administrator
‘To realise your dream, you need to wake up’ Black History Month is a remembrance of everything our forefathers had gone through and overcame. For me, it about understanding that they went through tremendous struggle, persecution and sacrifice and that because of their struggle I enjoy the rights I have today.
Ben, Recruitment & Student Liaison Officer
To understand why Black History Month is important, we need to remember that an accurate depiction of what happened in an event will always need to be told by more than one voice, and we have to be content with a degree of discordance in the variations of accounts. As much as we would like them to, historical perspectives don't have to agree. That isn't their function. The reason for their existence is to prove the differences needed to arrive at a fuller understanding of events.Black History month is important because it brings a much needed focus to voices seldom listened to when trying to understand the history of how we arrived at where we are today