Celebrating Black History Month 2022

by Evie Darrell, Personal Development, Behaviour and Attitude Officer.

We’re proud to be supporting Black History Month this October.

Below we answer the question of ‘What is Black History Month?’ followed by why it is important to celebrate and recognise. We also discuss this year’s theme of Health and Wellness. 

Links to Fundamental British Values: Individual Liberty, Tolerance of Differences.

Black History Month 2022

What is Black History Month?

Black History Month, also known as African American history month, was first celebrated in the UK in 1987 which was the 150th anniversary of the Caribbean emancipation. Many events will take place across the month of October including but not limited to: a slavery exhibition at the Bank of England, a remembrance for black service men and women, fairs, speeches, and performances. It provides an opportunity to reflect upon and celebrate the diverse histories of those from Caribbean and African descent and their contributions towards social, political, economic, and cultural development within the UK.

Why is Black History Month important?

There is still systemic racism, and it is important we take every opportunity to acknowledge and address this. The spotlight allows conversations to take place around racism, slavery, and rights. It is also a celebration of activism, and the accomplishments of black leaders and inspirational individuals.

What is the theme of this year's Black History Month?

 Black Health and Wellness. This will also shine a spotlight on the inequality in the healthcare system that still exists today. For example, Covid disproportionately effected the BME community. The NHS believes there is no one reason for this, but a culmination of historic systemic racism. Additionally, research has shown that young black boys are more likely to experience severe mental health problems and be sectioned under the Mental Health Act. World Mental Health Day 2022 is on the 10th October 2022, and so could be an ideal opportunity to recognise this disproportionate impact.

Further information- NHS England — Midlands » Tackling racism and other types of discrimination

How did Black History Month Start?

In 1960s America, the Civil Rights Movement was gaining traction for the rights of Black citizens, and this evolved into Negro History Week, which has since evolved into Black History Month- this was passed in Congress in 1986, and has been law in America since then.

Why is Black History Month important for everyone to acknowledge, regardless of race and skin colour?

Racism and inequality still persist, and it is everyone’s duty as a society to campaign for change and to be allies and call out inequality as it arises. It is not enough to not be racist, we all have a duty to reflect on any micro-aggressions we may exhibit and be actively anti-racist. 

Fact!

America celebrates Black History Month in February, but for the United Kingdom this is in October- why is this? It is February for America as this is the birth month of Abraham Lincoln who issued the Emancipation Proclamation and Frederick Douglass who was an abolitionist and author. 17 years later, when Black History Month was first celebrated in the United Kingdom, it was decided to celebrate in October as this is near the beginning of the academic year to provide both inspiration and an opportunity to learn.

Further Support

Black History Month Organisation – Find out more 

Black Minds Matter – FAQs (blackmindsmatteruk.com)

Mind – Young Black men – Mind

Nafsiyat- Intercultural Therapy Centre – Nafsiyat Intercultural Therapy Centre

Wellbeing Connect Services- Advocacy Support – Wellbeing Connect Services

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