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The annual celebration was introduced to the UK by Akyaaba Addai-Sebo, a Ghanaian Special Project’s Coordinator for the Ethnic Minorities Unit of the Greater London Council. Visiting the US in the 1970s, he was inspired by Black History Month US, which is held in February, and initiated Black History Month UK in 1987.
Black History Month UK not only celebrates the achievements of black influence within society such as black scientists, inventors, artists, etc. It also aims to challenge racism through education, especially with regards to the contribution that black history has made to British society. The past is so important as it not only tells us about yesterday but also illuminates what happens today and explains how the past has shaped where we are now and how that links to unequal power relations that need to change.
Black History Month UK opens opportunities for people to gain knowledge of British black history not only about racism and slavery but also to highlight black achievement.
It is inspiring to see the coming together of all diversities for this celebration and being able to acknowledge that African and Caribbean people have been a fundamental part of British History. It also helps to raise awareness of what we can do to contribute to putting a stop towards racism and educating both adults and children about African and Caribbean history and culture.
This year’s theme, "Time for Change: Action Not Words", encourages this coming together, not just for the month of October but ongoing, and is about joining together and not being an active bystander. Being an active bystander means being aware of inappropriate behaviour and choosing to do something about it. This year asks that when we see something, we say something.
At TPP, we adopt the AID method (Action, Impact, Do). This approach empowers individuals to call out an Action (what was said/done), explain the Impact (how it made you feel) and encourage how someone can Do things better (next time you could ..?)
There have been many important steps forward in recent years, and many workplaces are working hard to improve policies, educate their people, and achieve meaningful outcomes. It is essential this continues so it can make a real and impactful difference.
Follow the TPP LinkedIn page for the latest information on Black History Month 2022.