01 October 2020 12:42
People urged to 'dig deeper' and 'do more' to recognise Black History Month People celebrating Black History Month have been called on to do "a little bit more" and not treat the event as a box-ticking exercise. Speaking about Black History Month and what the event has meant in recent years, Josephine Melville, chair of the South Essex African Caribbean Association, said it can sometimes be a "sad state of affairs" and that it is usually a case of "lets tick the box for the month and then that's it." As Black History Month begins today, campaigners are calling for the topic to have a greater prominence on the national curriculum. Ms Melville told LBC: "I remember Sons coming to talk to me years ago when they were at school about their Black History Month event and I said 'so what are we looking at? Now, don't get me wrong because I love Beyonce and Bob Marley and of course they have recognition in their own right but we're talking about Black History Month… let's just dig a little bit further, let's just do a little bit more work. "Because unless we start to do that work with the young people, there's never going to be a change.
Ms Melville, who will be taking part in a number of events throughout October marking Black History Month, says after worldwide events this year including the BLM protests following the death of George Floyd in America, real discussions are already starting to happen. "It is Black History Month and we have to be positive BUT we have to realise that there is a major change going on right now and we have to be ready for it and I think the only way that we can do that is to start having those challenging, uncomfortable conversations and not being afraid." "Black History Month has been going for a very long time now… and there are many themes that can come out of it. "On the news we were hearing so much about the disproportionate effects that Covid was having and how many black people were dying… so in the community that had an even more powerful, ripple effect." Taking place each year, as the name would suggest Black History Month celebrates African-American history, from achievements to contributions, award winners to those who have overcome hardship. Why do we celebrate Black History Month and when is it? Black History Month in the UK takes place each October, starting on the first of the month and ending on the 31st.
As Afro-Jamaican physician and campaigner Dr Harold Moody (recently commemorated in a Google Doodle) discovered upon his arrival in 1904, many employers outright refused to hire black people. This, among many other events throughout his life in Britain, resulted in him forming the League of Coloured Peoples (LCP) in 1931, where "coloured" meant "the 'Negro Race, particularly those in Africa and the West Indies and under the rule of Great Britain". The LCP was set up to fight against racial discrimination, improve race relations in Britain and to form solidarity ties with black people worldwide. Among the ranks of the LCP were people like Sierra Leonean civil rights leader Constance Cummings-John and Afro-Jamaican writer and activist Una Marson, who directed a play called At What Price in 1933 which featured players like Stella Thomas, the first African woman to be called to the English bar, and a young Arthur Lewis, who would later become the first and thus far only black person to gain a Nobel Prize in economics. Racism was such an issue for black people in Britain that there were a number of black anti-racist organisations nationwide aside from the LCP, including the International African Service Bureau, and the Coloured Workers' Association.
Itoje said: "Danielle is a young British Nigerian woman, who has been campaigning the government to change the laws to make life more accessible for disabled people within Britain. In terms of positive role models in the community using dance as a way to influence, educate and inspire there aren't many better examples than Omar." George said: "He's a 24-year-old poet from South London, and has persisted through personal tragedy to make the case for change." Rose said: "He runs and is the head of our local community black radio station in Nottingham. He said: "I nominated Sade Banks, because, well as our country enters debates around equality and inclusion certainly in my sector there's one name this is called over and over again to help us negotiate this moment in history and that's Sade Banks. Evaristo said: "She set up the magazine in 2015, the year she graduated from Bristol University, because she was frustrated with the under-representation of people of colour in the media. Lord Woolley said: "Swarzy Macaly to me epitomises a young black British role model. She's always wanting to give young people a voice." They have run summer clubs where they have taught fashion, engineering skills and showcased talent - all with the objective of helping young people to find positive ways to channel their energy and improve their lives. nominated by Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, also co-founder UK Black Pride She said: "Tina is deeply passionate about the struggles of girls and women, who works tirelessly to educate, inspire and empower others and give them a voice." Amfo said: "I am proudly nominating as a change-maker during this month of October. Amechi said: "Akala's life and work are seminal sources for anyone striving to understand the human condition and how race and racism, which have defined so much of our history and continue to define our collective future. Adams said: "Over the last 20 years Chris has run boxing clubs in the Kent area where recreational activities are somewhat limited, to encourage young people who are at risk of engaging in negative behaviours to have a place to go where they matter and they have something to channel their energy." Educational campaigner and founder/CEO of social enterprise The Black Curriculum Lavinya Stennett Harriman said: "I am so proud to be nominating Lavinya Stennett for everything she is doing with the Black Curriculum. Enninful added: "Lavinya is special because she believes in the power of education and the arts to ultimately transform the lives of young people. She said: "I couldn't not nominate Papa B my other half-body who at home and outside commits to making, especially black young men, feel really empowered. nominated by Patrick Hutchinson, personal trainer and "hero" of the Black Lives Matter protests He is now going to schools and corporate settings telling his story and empowering young people, young men, and especially young black men." Alison is an inspirational leader, change maker and I am delighted to nominate her a voice for the future, to celebrate black history month." Celebrities hand over their Instagram accounts to Black women for Black History Month UK In honour of Black History Month UK this year, Black women and white women are teaming up for the #SHARETHEMICUK campaign. The campaign aims to "magnify Black women and the important work that they're doing by taking over the Instagram accounts of prominent White women with strong audiences." READ MORE: Selena Gomez and Shawn Mendes give their Instagram accounts to black activists to educate fans Share the Mic UK: Celebrities team up for Black History Month UK Instagram takeover. Black women taking part in the #SHARETHEMICUK campaign this year include Booker Prize winner Bernardine Evaristo, TV presenter June Sarpong and Exist Loudly founder Tanya Compas. They will be taking over the Instagram accounts of white celebrities, including reality star Kourtney Kardashian, actress Gwyneth Paltrow and designer Victoria Beckham. We look forward to learning more throughout the month as the #SHARETHEMICUK campaign unfolds.