Tuesday 31 October 2023

Black History Month 2023 - A contribution


I wrote this at the beginning of the month on invitation from George House Trust, a community charity that has provided HIV support, advice, and advocacy services to improve health outcomes since 1985. For some administrative reasons yet to be determined, it was not published.

However, minutes before Black History Month 2023 runs out, I have decided to post my contribution to my blog.

Black History Month 2023

Black History Month to someone who is not involved in activism would sometimes appear in one’s consciousness as a commemorative event to which one has been invited and so presenting an opportunity to meet with the community and share experiences.

Yet it is quite easy to absent oneself from many of the attendant issues when one has had unusual privileges and enjoyed many things that are not easily afforded others.

In 2023, the theme of Black History Month is Saluting our Sisters, I think about my Greater Manchester community as I walk along Oxford Road and see a significant black face Sir William Arthur Lewis (1915–1991) who was an economist, a 1979 Nobel Prize laureate and Britain’s first black professor, at the then named Victoria University of Manchester.

In present times, Erinma Bell MBE DL has worked within our community to help reduce street and gun crime, her work is highly commended, and she gave the Manchester Annual Legal Service address at the Manchester Cathedral in 2022.

Diane Modahl MBE was an athlete in the 800m category and once a Commonwealth Games champion as well as twice a medallist. She is involved in a lot of charity work to help the youth in Greater Manchester.

What is evident is there are a lot of unsung heroes and heroines of black heritage who are contributing significantly in areas of education, sports, business, healthcare, the clergy, charity work, and other spheres of endeavour. Many of them seek no recognition but need all the support to help make their contributions to the community positive, lasting, and successful.

What Black History Month means to me is seeking out these exemplary people as role models and examples of what is possible and achievable to ensure that the resplendent tapestry of British history of which the persons who people this nation of all races and most especially of every kind of global African descent is not lost in the reading of the milestones that shaped this nation.

In Saluting our Sisters this year, and recognising the many unmentioned yet outstanding women in our local communities and beyond, the relevance of each Black History Month is again assured with a sense of belonging and pride, we know that Black history is also British history.

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