October is Black History Month, a month of recognition and celebration of Black heritage and history and the contributions and achievements of Black people.
First celebrated in the UK in 1987, Black History Month was originally founded to recognise the contributions that people of African and Caribbean backgrounds have made to the UK over many generations. Now, Black History Month has expanded to include the history of all Black people in Britain.
Black History Month is also an opportunity for people to educate themselves and learn more about the effects of racism and how to challenge negative stereotypes. This article by Catherine Ross, Editor of Black History Month 2020, explains why Black History Month is more important than ever this year and why we should continue to celebrate Black history outside of the month of October: www.blackhistorymonth.org.uk/article/section/bhm-intros/why-black-history-month-is-more-important-than-ever-this-year/.
In celebration of Black History Month, two of our colleagues – Ola Tony-Obot and Edward Garwe – have shared what Black History Month means to them.
What Black History Month means to me – Ola, Social Worker at Together for Children (please see download below)
What Black History Month means to me – Edward, Social Worker at Together for Children (please see download below)
At Together for Children, we recognise that we need to diversify our workforce and ensure that Black and other ethnic minority backgrounds are better represented amongst our staff team.
Next month, we launch our first BAME Network Meeting for BAME colleagues at TfC. The BAME Network is open to all staff from Black and ethnic minority backgrounds and heritages, and those with a positive interest in driving forward race equality within TfC. The BAME Network will meet on a monthly basis and will:
Ensure TfC maintains a safe and positive working environment for BAME staff and eliminates racial discrimination for employees and users of our services
Support the organisation to develop and maintain a representative workforce and raise the visibility and profile of the contribution that our BAME staff members make within TfC
Provide a forum where staff can share their experiences and any issues affecting their work and professional development
This month, we will be encouraging our Social Care staff to sign up to upcoming seminars delivered by the British Association of Social Work about anti-racist practice in social work. We’ll also be sharing with them ways in which they can learn about Black History and partake in celebratory activities.
Our Chief Executive, Jill Colbert, tells us: “I am delighted that we are celebrating, recognising and profiling our BAME colleagues during Black History Month. We need to build a culture across the organisation that values difference and diversity in every sense. I think we can now see that the work we have done over the last three years to create the conditions for those values to flourish is adding value. However, there is more we can and will do.
Our workforce is at the heart of the services we deliver to children, young people and families in Sunderland and in order to reach their full potential, there must be no fear of discrimination or prejudice. We all want to play our part in instilling the belief in children that career opportunities or experience of work should not be predetermined by ethnicity, nationality or colour.
I know my professional and personal life has been greatly enriched by the generosity of my BAME colleagues over the years and I know that in Together for Children we will continue to learn and grow to be an organisation that stands at the vanguard of the equality movement .”