Black History Month Magazine 2020

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By Catherine Ross

By Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP

14 CONFRONTING AFRIPHOBIA By Jacqui Burnett (Cllr)









By Donna Fraser

By Elliott Rae



By Jordanne Robinson


58 INTERVIEW WITH MARK ELIE By Drew Kulow and Keri Seymour





PUBLISHERS: Ian Thomas, Abdul Rob MANAGING EDITOR: Ian Thomas EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Lynda Louise Burrell EDITOR: Catherine Ross PRODUCTION MANAGER: David Ruiz PRODUCTION ASSISTANT: Mohammad Sadegh DESIGNED BY: Becky Wybrow ADVERTISING: Ayana Hussein


80 THE ZONG PROJECT By Reverend Alton Bell



Welcome to Black History Month Magazine 2020 2020 has held a mirror up to the world and forced many to see the reality of racism in all its guises. From Black people dying disproportionately in the pandemic, to the horrific murder of George Floyd and no justice for Breonna Taylor – the 26-yearold emergency medical worker killed by police in her own home.

In the UK, the scale and impact of institutionalised racism has been laid bare, with young Black men stopped and searched 20,000 times in London during the coronavirus lockdown (the equivalent of 1 in 4 young Black men), along with Black MPs, barristers, senior police officers, sportspeople and many more. #BlackLivesMatter protests around the world sparked a commitment among many individuals and organisations to educate themselves about Black history, heritage and culture – as part of understanding racism and standing in solidarity against it. If that commitment is to transcend beyond social media into real change, everyone, from all communities, needs to embrace Black History Month as a starting point for exploring, discovering and celebrating Black history, heritage and culture – both past and contemporary. From the incredible achievements and contributions, to the many untold stories and barriers to progress – the day-to-day reality of institutionalised racism. Crucially, this year’s Black History



By Catherine Ross Editor of Black History Month Founder Director, Museumand The National Caribbean Heritage Museum Month is a time to shine a light on our shared British history and tell the whole story honestly and truthfully, to decolonise and reclaim history, and tell stories from the perspective of all people – not just the rich white men in power. The felling of contentious statues and monuments is just the start, now it’s time to ask communities how colonial objects and symbols are used to tell the true story of history. Black History Month 2020 is also a time to look forward and celebrate the here and now – and the future possibilities. In years gone by, October has been the only time of year when the UK talks about the achievements of Black people in Britain. Hopefully,

the events of 2020 will be a catalyst for Black history to be shared much more widely – in museums, galleries, schools, universities, public spaces and communities. Black people have always made history and always will – but it’s equally important that Black people take the lead on how that history is discovered, explored, researched, recorded, archived, curated, exhibited and shared. That means supporting Black-led heritage organisations and professionals; making national and local institutions much more accessible and representative; and empowering communities to define and share what Black history means to them.

‘Black History Month 2020 is a time for people to come together and hopefully learn lessons for the present and the future.’ Black culture isn’t just a commodity to be appropriated and monetised, and Black history isn’t just a month to be ticked off a calendar dominated by a white-washed version of history. Black History Month 2020 is a time for people to come together and hopefully learn lessons for the present and the future. It’s a time to honour the commitment to learning and standing united against racism. It’s a time to reclaim history and re-imagine how our shared history will be told in the future.

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MESSAGE FROM THE PRIME MINISTER BORIS JOHNSON For countless generations people of African and Caribbean descent have been shaping our nation’s story, making a huge difference to our national and cultural life and helping to make Britain a better place to be.

It is this contribution of black British people that I am proud to be celebrating this October. That contribution is overwhelmingly apparent today in the energy, talent and dedication of business leaders, lawyers, academics, musicians, artists and many more. This year we have seen the heroic efforts of all the frontline workers and the doctors, nurses and medical professionals who have been tirelessly supporting our NHS throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Of course, there is much more work to be done to ensure that every person of every skin colour, background and creed has the opportunity to succeed, and to stamp out discrimination and racism. I understand the force and depth of feeling that has been expressed following the death of George Floyd in the United States, and share the determination of all those seeking a more equal and just world. That’s why I have set up a Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities to make the progress so many have called for, and to bring about lasting change. But I also believe that alongside tackling the substance of the problem, we should be giving due praise and recognition to all those who have played such an important role in helping to positively shape modern Britain and our modern Commonwealth. Because it’s a great shame that more people do not know more about Paul Stephenson or Mary Prince. Or that they haven’t heard about the many brave black servicemen who served in the World Wars – from those grappling in the mud of the Western Front, to the valiant Caribbean pilots and aircrew in the Second World War, and the heroes who fought further afield, in places such as Burma. Or even that they

know so little about the Windrush generation, from the nurses who were there at the very start of our NHS to all those who helped rebuild our country after the war. A key part of the Commission’s work will be to look at how we ensure society is more aware of the significant role people from different ethnic backgrounds have played in our shared British history. Let’s use this Black History Month to celebrate not just the achievements of people today, but of all those who have shaped our nation. Let’s raise up those names. Let’s remember their acts. And let’s celebrate them – because black British history is all our history.

KEIR STARMER LEADER OF THE LABOUR PARTY This month we celebrate the huge achievements of Black Britons and the Black community.

I have immense admiration for the Black Britons who have helped shaped our country’s history and culture. Iconic figures like Mary Seacole, whose heroic service as a nurse during the Crimean war inspires us today in the fight against Covid-19. And of course, my friend Doreen Lawrence, who has done so much in fighting for justice for her son Stephen. And I pay tribute to Diane Abbott, Bernie Grant and Paul Boateng – the first Black Labour MPs elected to Parliament 33 years ago. We are proud of the achievements of these towering figures. Their tireless campaigning has paved the way for brilliant Black Labour MPs, who I am proud to work with in my Shadow Cabinet and across Labour’s front and backbenches. Any self-respecting Arsenal fan who remembers the 1990’s like




October is Black History Month - a time to celebrate the enormous contributions Black people have made to our country.

Their contributions have shaped our national identity and are evident in every field from literature, politics, science,

business, music and arts. Throughout this month, we remember icons from the trailblazing composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, to Margaret Busby - Britain’s youngest and first Black female book publisher. We also celebrate those who helped establish our National Health Service, joined the war effort, marched for justice and worked tirelessly to build a better world for all of us. Just a few months ago, the world watched in horror as George Floyd died at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis. The violence inflicted on him and so many other Black people across America is abhorrent, and it is time everyone woke up to the multiple injustices Black people face - and not simply in America. In the wake of George Floyd’s killing, the demand for justice, that Black lives matter, has reverberated around the world and a new generation of activists has arisen in the longstanding battle for racial justice.We must support these movements and help them provoke reform, in America, in our own country and wherever racial

I do would also include Ian Wright among their heroes. I’m lucky to live in and represent a constituency with a rich history of Black culture. I want my kids to know about that, and for all children to have the opportunity to learn about it – and not just in Black History Month. That’s why this week I called on the Government to ensure Black British history is taught all year round, as part of a truly diverse school curriculum that includes and inspires all young people and aids a full understanding of the struggle for equality. Black history is British history. I know this year has been extraordinarily difficult. On behalf of the Labour Party I want to pay tribute to all those in the Black community who have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, lost loved ones or have heroically kept our country going as key workers. It was clear from early on that this pandemic was disproportionately affecting people from the Black community. I asked Doreen Lawrence to lead a review into the impact of Covid-19 on Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. Alongside Doreen and Marsha De Cordova, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities, I have been pressing the Government to go further and faster on protecting those most at risk from this virus. Alongside Covid, we are at a historic point in the fight for racial equality. The Black Lives Matter movement shone a light on racism

injustice and racial discrimination raises its ugly head. The shocking reality is, systemic discrimination is a lived reality for Black people; we see it in classrooms, in offices and throughout the criminal justice system. For example, in the UK a Black person is 47 times more likely to be subject to Section 60 ‘Suspicionless’ Stop and Search than a white person. This is unacceptable. That’s why I have demanded that the government scrap that power once and for all. The last few months have made it clear that there must no longer be anywhere to hide for racial injustice: the curtain must be finally being pulled down on systems complicit in the oppression and dehumanisation of Black people. We can longer be content with the status quo, nor can we merely pay lip service to issues of racial injustice. It’s upon all us to start doing the honest, hard, uncomfortable work of dismantling anti-Black racism. As a party, we will continue to stand with Black communities and we will keep affirming the fundamental truth that Black lives matter.

in the UK and around the world. We need action now, not apathy. It’s why on becoming Labour Party leader, I personally announced a series of measures to improve diversity within the Labour Party, including increased representation across our MPs and councillors through the Bernie Grant Leadership Programme. But we also need to see action from government ministers. We need them to act on the repeated reviews and recommendations made over recent years. It was disappointing that in response to the Black Lives Matter movement they simply announced another Government review. There have been countless recommendations made to the government over recent years. Like Ethnicity Pay Gap reporting, or a national target to achieve a representative judiciary – as recommended by my friend and colleague, Labour’s Shadow Justice Secretary, David Lammy. They should be implemented now, not kicked down the road. We are at a historic point in the fight for racial equality and it deserves immediate action, not another review. Ultimately, I believe what we need is a wholesale race equality strategy to tackle the structural inequalities and institutional racism which still exists. Our nation’s diversity is one of its greatest strengths and we should celebrate that at every opportunity. I say thank you to all those in the Black community for helping make our country what it is today. BLACK HISTORY MONTH 2020


BY LYNDA LOUISE BURRELL Creative Director, Museumand - The National Caribbean Heritage Museum

THE CREATIVE GENIUS WHO HELPED BRING OUR IDENTITY TO LIFE It’s not every work event I go to that I meet someone who’s acknowledged as a legend by his peers. At a private viewing of Michael McMillan’s exhibition, Rockers, Soulheads and Lovers: Sound Systems Back in Da Day, on 19 March 2016, I had such an opportunity. The exhibition at the 198 Gallery in London was curated as a Blues Party. It was wonderfully nostalgic and immersive and the graphics and branding were amazing. I expressed my admiration of them to Michael, who said he’d introduce me to the person who designed them. I had never heard of Jon before that moment, but in the short five minute conversation I had with him, I knew I was in the presence of brilliance, a very affable and generous one. I plucked up the courage to assert my belief in the expression carpe diem and asked if he would help me, a newbie in the heritage world, to design a logo for a museum I had set up. At the early stage of its life, the museum needed a knock-out logo to grab people’s eyes, hearts and minds. I explained my ambitions and aspirations for a new kind of museum to Jon. A museum that would be inclusive and appeal to everyone, tell heritage stories in new and exciting ways, and create unique, innovative, must-see exhibitions and events. At that point, the museum’s name was The National Caribbean Heritage Museum,



and its tagline was Museumand, because I was envisioning a heritage organisation that would be a museum…but so much more. Jon grasped the idea immediately and said I should make the tagline part of the name. Then he focused on the word ‘and’. He explained how it would give us scope to grow and continue to share heritage in many different forms, and how it would be more powerfully presented if it was used as a symbol in our branding. Inspired! A true Jon inspiration! Whenever anyone comments on the museum’s name they say it’s genius and how powerful the ampersand looks dressed in colours found in many Caribbean flags and cultural identities. I’ve continued to apply the lessons I learned from meeting Jon following our chance encounter, including ‘always get the best person for the job’. I certainly did! Jon was an award-winning art director and graphic designer who worked on memorable campaigns for IBM, Virgin Direct and NHS Careers. A man of many talents, Jon was also an author, collector and curator who championed African culture and heritage and supported Black organisations such as Black Cultural Archives, Black History Month’s online and paper magazine, and of course, Museumand, The National Caribbean Heritage Museum.

‘We have found a fulf in the RAF, yo There are lots of diverse roles on offer at the Royal Air Force. Meet some of the individuals working in these exciting jobs…


I am Corporal Tanya Miller-Anderson, I was born in Jamaica and I have lived in Dublin, Ireland, before deciding to settle in the United Kingdom. I am a logistics Air & Ground Steward based at RAF Lossiemouth. Working as a Passenger Service Assistant at the Dublin airport, on one of my visits to the UK I saw the advert for joining the RAF and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to have a career in a military environment with the opportunity to travel. I joined in September 2008. And since joining I have been on detachment to Oman & the Falkland Islands. My highlights so far was being a part of Op Olympics and meeting various Royalties. My next role within the RAF will be in Recruitment and Selection, this will be an excellent opportunity as being a BAME Ambassador I will have access in recruiting individuals from ethnic background. I would say to anybody considering joining the RAF, it’s an amazing experience, there is numerous opportunities to develop and enhance your personal attributes. The RAF has pushed me in challenging myself while taking on new opportunities and discovering personal traits that I didn’t realise existed.




oday’s modern Royal Air Force is the UK’s aerial, peacekeeping and fighting force. It’s made up of impressive full-time Regulars and spare-time Reservists who come from hugely diverse backgrounds and work side-by-side to make a difference at home and abroad. When it comes to recruitment our focus is on attracting the best personnel, and ensuring that they’re well taken care of during and after the service in the RAF. The unique skills and values that diverse individuals bring to the RAF are an essential facet of our business and underpin all we do. Whether at home supporting our communities or overseas on operations, we know that our true strength lies in the diversity of our people. Whatever your academic background, there are a range of great opportunities in the RAF. Some require minimal qualifications; others require specialist skills, higher qualifications and/or a degree. The RAF has more than 50 available roles and multiple career development opportunities. We employ everyone from Chefs and Photographers, to Cyberspace Communications Systems Technicians, Linguists, Doctors and Pilots. One route to joining is as an RAF Apprentice – this offers you the chance to gain a UK-recognised trade qualification as part of a challenging and unique career. The RAF is a Top 100 apprenticeship provider, has the best apprenticeship completion rate of any national employer (over 99%) and is rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted. Not only will you gain a civilianrecognised professional qualification, but upon completion you’ll also have a guaranteed job in your chosen field. You’ll receive the very best training and as well as getting paid to learn, the chance to travel the world, play sport and perform a vital national role. Alternatively, should you have the appropriate qualifications, you could apply for a Commission and become an Officer in a wide range of branches including Engineering, Intelligence, Air Operations, among many others. Whatever your role, the Royal Air Force is committed to investing in every one of its truly valued personnel.

TO FIND OUT MORE Please visit our website

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Careers Information Service) for the North West/North Wales (January 2003-April 2006). To be able to engage with potential candidates and giving information on all the great opportunities available is priceless. The ability to change people’s lives, for the better was very fulfilling.

PERSONNEL SUPPORT FLIGHT SERGEANT NEAL STRICKLAND Where did you live? Birmingham (Handsworth). Why did you join? My parents were concerned that I needed to have a focus (parents came to England in the mid 50’s from Jamaica, instability around the mid 70’s in most inner-city areas) so they enrolled me in the RAF Air Cadets which I enjoyed. My interest in the RAF flourished from that point. What did you do before joining? I joined straight from school (Aug 78). What attracted you to the role? I am a people person so the varied opportunities within the role came very natural to me. Where have you been? I have had numerous roles in the UK served 2 tours in Germany (RAF Gutersloh and Ramstein Air Base). I have served in Italy and have visited the USA on a number of occasions. What’s been a highlight(s) so far? Being the Area Flight Sergeant (RAF

What will you do next? I am currently part of the RAF Specialist Engagement Team in the North. As part of a team, we go into diverse communities to explain the great opportunities available to those who would not normally consider a career in the RAF. What extra things do you get up to with the RAF? My passion was Basketball, I represented the RAF at Junior level than managed the RAF Women’s team for many years. We travelled extensively across Europe representing the RAF. What would you say to anyone considering joining up? Do your homework. There is no other job like it, it’s not just a job, it’s a commitment and a gateway to some massive opportunities. “Go for it” do not be disappointed by not fulfilling your dreams. How have you found the RAF? The numerous jobs that I have had has given me exceptional life skills, I have travelled and I have been tested many times. I have felt that I have been a valued and effective member of the team and family. The RAF has taught me a number of developed skill sets. The training provided is some of the best you can get. Without a doubt, if I had my time again, I would do it all again.


My name is Cpl Sonia Campbell aka Sony. Based at RAF Fylingdales, as an Air & Space Operations Specialist (ASOS). This involves the radar surveillance of UK Airspace and the Space domain. Born in Derby, where I lived for 5 years before migrating to Jamaica for about 10 years. I then returned to the UK to complete my education. After a spell of working odd jobs, I joined the RAF in 1999 at a Job Fair in London. This was purely by chance as I was curious with working underground in a bunker and carrying out the surveillance of the UK. It all sounded very covert and fascinating which was a big selling point for me. The fact I also wanted to travel and see the world, this was an inexpensive way of doing it and I have never looked back since. I have been all over the world on deployment, but the highlight for me to date is an operational tour of Afghanistan as part of Op Herrick and also having a life size cut out of myself in the RAF Museum at Hendon Air Museum. Anyone thinking of joining the RAF, I would say, do your research and don’t be scared to take a chance. The RAF provides a good lifestyle and once you get through the basic phase, there’s a lot of opportunities just waiting to be had. The RAF has helped build my confidence, develop so many new skills and has given me so many opportunities that I never thought possible. I love being in the RAF and sometimes wished I had joined earlier.



DIANE ABBOTT MP 33 years as a Titan of British Politics BY BELL RIBEIRO-ADDY MP


iane Abbott stands to give her maiden speech and make history as the first black woman ever elected into the House of Commons. It’s 1987. There are Tory men shouting and jeering. There are Labour MPs who regret her very presence in the House. This won’t be the last time in Diane’s career that she will



make history whilst staring the forces of reaction in the face. As well as going on to give award winning speeches, Diane would also become the first Black Labour leadership candidate, serve as the first Black shadow Home Secretary and become the first Black woman to represent her party from the dispatch box during Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs). Diane’s election in 1987 saw the start of a career that would make history and inspire hundreds of young Black women. Among them, one two-year old growing up in Streatham, who – unbeknownst to the both of us – would later be so inspired by Diane’s story that she would go on to work for her and later serve as an MP alongside her. I never dreamed that I would get the opportunity to work for a living legend, a trailblazer, and the first Black woman to enter Parliament. For a Black woman in politics there could be no better mentor. Diane’s honesty, integrity, tenacity and consistency continues to inspire me, and is the reason why I am pleased to call her a mentor, a colleague and most of all, a friend. For women in politics, life can be hard. For Black women in politics, doubly so. We have seen time and time again reports of the abuse that Black female MPs experience, something that Diane is no stranger to. For many of us, this abuse now takes place on social media, but Diane has experienced abuse on a multitude of platforms and from a variety of directions. The 1987 election in Hackney North and Stoke Newington wasn’t just notable for opening a new chapter in Black history, but also for overcoming the contempt of

her opponents and the dislike of her own Party. The contest for the seat quickly became nasty, with Diane facing hostility from opponents on the grounds of her race and receiving no support at all from some in the Labour Party. She even had a brick thrown through her campaign office window. Despite this, Diane went on to win her seat with a 19.8% majority – a majority that she has continued to build on ever since. Along with Keith Vaz, Paul Boateng and Bernie Grant, Diane Abbott demonstrated to Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic people across the UK that we can be elected into Parliament. Fast forward 33 years and we now boast the most diverse Parliament in the UK’s history. Whilst diversifying Parliament is an ongoing struggle, Diane’s historic election in 1987 marked the first successful steps and we are eternally indebted to her because of this. Having been an MP for 33 years, Diane has made some memorable contributions in the House, but perhaps none as notable as her contribution to the 2008 Counter Terrorism Bill debate. A speech that won The Spectator magazine’s “Parliamentary Speech of the Year” award and received further recognition at the 2008 Human Rights awards. A speech so powerful that, when set to follow it, Tory MP David Davies noted it to be one of the finest speeches he had heard since being elected to the House of Commons. Unwilling to be intimidated by Party whips, Diane offered a strong defence of civil liberties, something she has never shied away from in her 33 years in Parliament. In 2010, Diane decided to throw her hat into the ring and run in the Labour Leadership election, becoming the first Black woman to run for the position. She entered the election promising to address the issues left neglected under previous Labour leaders, particularly the issue of an immigration system that was, and still is, unfair and inefficient.

Though her leadership bid was unsuccessful, Diane has continued to stand up for a fairer immigration system. In 2015, she was vocal in her criticism of Labour’s “Controls on immigration” pledge – along with the grim accompanying mugs – and has continued to fight against the hostile environment perpetuated by consecutive governments. It was as Shadow Home Secretary under Jeremy Corbyn MP that Diane was truly able to bring the injustices of our immigration

system to light. The UK Home Office has consistently demonstrated a hostile attitude to non-UK born residents but perhaps never has it been more evident than when Theresa May was Home Secretary and then Prime Minister. The Windrush Scandal saw the Home Secretary purposefully mislead Parliament about deportation targets. To set these arbitrary targets in the first place is deplorable; to subsequently lie about their existence is unforgivable. Diane and her team, which I was proud to lead as her Chief of Staff, helped to expose the governments disgraceful behaviour. Though successive Home Secretaries have demonstrated similar hostilities, we can both count the resignation of Amber Rudd and securing the Windrush Compensation scheme as well as the Lessons Learned Review, as a consolation for some of the victims of the Home Office’s hostile environment. Another massive achievement in Diane’s political career took place most recently on the 2nd October 2019, when she became the first Black MP to represent their Party at the dispatch box during Prime Minister’s Questions. Her appearance at the dispatch box that day showed us that, although several glass-ceilings are in place to stop Black, Asian and Ethnic Minorities from achieving, Diane has been smashing them since 1987 and will continue

to do so, so that we don’t have to. Working for Diane has truly been the experience of a lifetime. The care and dedication that she puts into her role as a constituency MP is something that cannot be taught, but if it could be, then every aspiring MP should receive a lesson. With order and efficiency, Diane treats every constituent’s concern with the upmost importance, and this is something that I strive to emulate in my office. Not only does she embody what it means to be a good representative, she also demonstrates what it means to be a true socialist. From her election back in 1987 right up to present day, Diane has stayed true to her beliefs, regardless of what the party or parliament thought. Over the decades, she has maintained a principled, unfaltering stance on opposing austerity, war, cuts, racism and bigotry. She has consistently supported peace, Palestinian human rights and LGBT+ rights. Regardless of whether it was politically expedient or popular with press, parliament, or – at times – party, Diane has always stood on the right side of history, shoulder to shoulder with the oppressed. Diane is a titan of British politics, socialist hero, and a Black icon for the ages.

We are Community. The modern union For a changing world. We’re proud to be a campaigning union. Together we are tackling racism in the workplace and pushing for better policies to protect Black workers from coronavirus. We have a growing membership in every sector of the UK economy. The bigger we are, the stronger we are. Join us today.






ritish society, with its organisations, establishments and those who lead them, cannot change the past. They could however accept and publicly acknowledge the African Holocaust known as the “maafa” that was inflicted on people of African Heritage via the Mohomadon Enslavement, Transatlantic Enslavement and then the colonisation of Africa as a result of the Berlin Conference of 1884, which laid the foundations for European and Western national wealth creation. These systems have resulted in the UK Black community being most likely of all ethnic groups to have an average weekly income of under £400 according to Gov.UK While British society recoils at scenes from the United States showing unimaginable treatment of African Americans, the roots of the tree can be seen firmly in Britain and Europe, as it was the Roman Catholic Church who passed a Papal Bull to enslave indigenous people in the Americas and Africa. Descendants of those who were enslaved have never received any financial reparation, and the message from some quarters is ‘Sorry, but you are free now, get on with it.’ No systematic actions have been taken to address the massive inequity still existing for those of African heritage in Britain and further afield. As we navigate this historic Coronavirus Pandemic, many Black/African community activists have experienced being racially ‘gaslit’ whenever we fight or speak for the race we

CONFRONTING AFRIPHOBIA were born into (as defined by European/ Arab classifications). All too often, this is by individuals and organisations stating that they stand for equality. Black people have fought alongside many who have experienced different forms of racism, however - and it is grieving to say - those others only sometimes demonstrate they want the same equity for blacks as for themselves. The form of racism experienced by people of African heritage has been self-defined as ‘Afriphobia’ which is the prejudice, discrimination, fear, hatred and bigotry towards people of African Heritage and things African. Afriphobia is strongly interlinked with colourism and the hierarchy of racism. Those of African heritage have experienced Afriphobia not just from Europeans, but also from Asians. This can and will no longer be ignored, or quietly go unmentioned. All forms of wrong done to those of African heritage must now – is and increasingly is being called out, no matter who is contributing to the injustice.

Many in Britain repeatedly say, “We are not the US” and assert “All lives matter!” to close down calls for equity and liberation, which go beyond equality. The illustration shows that equality does not translate into equity, and in this world equity is about economics and money. The creation of racism was always about economic power and subjugation. As an African Heritage woman, I have seen and experienced first-hand, in so many ways, covert Afriphobia at work and in politics. British society and the current world order wants us for our strength, intelligence and creativity but do not demonstrate a wish for us to ever have equity with them, or build for ourselves in ways that do not increase their wealth like my ancestors did. This brings us to Windrush, where a generation of people who were told they were British were invited to this country to rebuild it after many had volunteered, fought and died in World War Two. The Government’s definition of those included in the Windrush Generation includes people of the Commonwealth from African nations, Australia, Canada, Caribbean Islands, New Zealand, South East Asia who migrated to the UK between 1948 and 1971. Yet strangely, the victims of the Windrush Scandal – the Government conveniently forgetting the citizenship given - have been predominantly of African and Caribbean heritage. I am so proud of the African Heritage youth in the UK, US and worldwide who have lifted their ancestors by ‘self-organising’ within the Black Lives Matter movement. When we were talking, singing, crying, stressed and traumatised by the Afriphobia we experienced on a daily basis, the younger generation were listening, learning and taking it all in. By Jacqui Burnett (Cllr) FMAAT, MCMI Vice Chair of the African Caribbean Community Development Forum Ltd (ACCDF) Chair of Luton Sankofa Committee



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Doreen Lawrence OBE I am proud to announce the launch of The Stephen Lawrence Day Foundation for Black History Month 2020


hen Black History Month was first celebrated in the UK, my son, Stephen, was 13 and dreaming of becoming an architect. Five-and-a-half years later he was dead, murdered in a racist attack just as his life as an adult was beginning. What do you remember about being 18? What a great time it is. But Stephen never got to experience that, nor to fulfil his



potential. Instead, when Stephen’s life ended, my fight began. I had one simple goal: justice for Stephen. But it was 1993 and it turned out that attaining justice for the murder of an innocent Black man was difficult. Far harder than I had imagined, for reasons that shouldn’t exist and which required time, persistence and insistence to be acknowledged. I was not able to fully accomplish justice for

Stephen, but I am proud that in overcoming the barriers I faced. Britain is becoming a fairer society than it was – although as recent events show, including treatment of the Windrush generation, we still have a very long way to go. Twenty-seven years on and not all young people have heard the name Stephen Lawrence or know his story. But 2020 has shown us that Stephen’s story – unequal treatment because of skin colour, and exposure of embedded prejudice in systems, structures and institutions – is as relevant today across the whole world as it has ever been. George Floyd’s murder opened many people’s eyes to the extent to which racial inequality remains prevalent. And research on pandemic mortality rates has created further awareness of how pernicious racial inequality is, and the wide but still little-understood consequences of it. Covid-19 mortality disproportionately affects the Black population, with Black males having the highest Covid-19 death rates of all. I nonetheless have great hope for the future. The tragedy of George’s death was met with an unprecedented and passionate response from people around the world for an end to racial inequality. It was acknowledged that this was ‘a moment’, one of those truly rare opportunities for a step change. Five months on, there is now widespread acceptance that we must all do better and, critically, this desire is accompanied by energy and purpose to make it happen. For those of us who have been on this path for decades. This is an extraordinary, unexpected, and meaningful place to have reached – and on which we must capitalise. We must redouble our efforts, think bigger, create more opportunities for more people. This is the purpose of my new charity, The Stephen Lawrence Day Foundation, which launches this month. You may remember

Theresa May’s announcement in 2018 that the 22nd April every year will be Stephen Lawrence Day. Marking this day every year – the day that Stephen died – will help keep the focus on racial inequality and celebrate efforts to remove it. The Day will also be a celebration of everything that Stephen was and could have become, and it will celebrate what is being achieved in his name. The Foundation will be the only home of Stephen’s legacy. We’ve structured our efforts around a virtuous circle of ‘3 Cs’ – Classrooms, Community and Careers. We want to inspire children to dream freely without barriers and to realise the absolute importance of education; we want to support and create new connections within all types of communities; and we want to work with big business to put Black men from low-income families on a path towards the Boardrooms of the UK’s most prestigious organisations. The ‘Careers’ element directly responds to Stephen’s ambitions for a professional career, but which he never got to realise. Instead, we will make that a reality for many thousands of others by creating our own multi-sector scholarship in Stephen’s name, in partnership with some very impressive founding names that will only

grow and grow. We believe this is globally unique. Our 3 Cs model will benefit all of society. This will be done by; raising aspirations, working within communities in new ways, creating real pathways to success. We will also develop the creativity, leadership skills and profitability of many organisations by exposing them to increased cognitive diversity. And while we’re starting in the UK, we have global aspirations to do everything we can to support greater racial equality.

“We want to inspire children to dream freely without barriers” How does Stephen Lawrence Day fit with the 3 Cs? Well, the 3 Cs model will create many programmes which will run 365 days of the year. Whilst the 24 hours of Stephen Lawrence Day itself will have many facets, including a celebration of everyone participating in the Foundation’s programmes, plus a multitude of individuals, schools,

communities, and businesses across the country! So much already happens in Stephen’s name. I am frequently contacted by people and businesses who are fund-raising in Stephen’s name, and now the Stephen Lawrence Day Foundation will be the home for everything that happens for Stephen’s legacy. We are formally launching the Foundation on October 22, exactly 6 months before Stephen Lawrence Day itself. The Stephen Lawrence Day Foundation will be the only Charity with Stephen’s name, with all activities, programmes and fund-raising supporting his legacy. The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust was the original charity I set up in Stephen’s name. However, I have not been working with them for several years. As, I am no longer associated with them they are shortly changing their name to reflect this. I have been lucky to have so much support from so many people across the country and beyond over the last nearly thirty years. As I embark on this new chapter, I hope many of you reading this, during this momentous and memorable Black History Month, will continue to support me through the work of the Stephen Lawrence Day Foundation. Baroness Doreen Lawrence of Clarendon, OBE


BLACK HISTORY MONTH Search for: to discover the interesting stories and history of some of our soldiers BLACK HISTORY MONTH 2020


Marcus Garvey famously wrote: “A people without knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots” Black History Month reminds us of where we are from, we what have achieved and the beauty and richness of our culture. This year’s Black History Month feels more poignant than ever. 2020 is the year we witnessed two viruses killing Black people: Covid-19 and racism. Many of our brothers and sisters were taken away from us this year – some before our very eyes. Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd to name a few. We saw hundreds of people from the Black community lose their lives to Covid-19 – many who were working on the frontline. We also said goodbye to those precious souls, like Dame Jocelyn Barrow whose work has left an indelible mark on the Black community in the UK. 2020 has truly tested us. It nearly broke us. …and yet, in the words of Mayo Angelou, still we rise. And rise we did but this year felt different. The younger generation from all backgrounds stood, knelt and shouted side by side declaring Black Lives Matter. They set a tempo for their inclusion and anti-racist melody watched and, in many cases, admired, by the world.



We saw statues of slave traders come tumbling down and emblems of Britishness and colonialism come under scrutiny and challenge. We saw parts of the UK get into what the late Civil Rights activist John Lewis called: “good trouble, necessary trouble”. Even in the midst of the backlash marches from far-right groups, we went higher. We saw five Black men led by Patrick Hutchinson, save a former policeman, Bryn Male. Newspapers showed Hutchinson carrying Male on his shoulder taking him to safety as he was knocked over by his colleagues as they made their racist chants. We are powerful people. There is strength in amalgamating voices to call out behaviours, actions and attitudes that are racist and discriminatory. Be that through employee networks for Black staff, or more influential voices such as Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, John Boyega, and John Amaechi. We need more organisations like Argos and ITV, rejecting complaints about their adverts or television programmes because they solely feature Black people or support the Black Lives Matter movement. I congratulate those leading race equality sessions helping white people sit with their discomfort as they explore the power of white privilege, the importance of white allies, and necessity for organisations to be anti-racist. Let us keep our collective foot on the accelerator. The road to race equality continues to be hazardous with many barriers and sadly, fatalities. There are those who want to sabotage our endeavours to prevent this agenda progressing. That is why this October, we remind ourselves of our history in the UK (which goes beyond the transatlantic slave trade). Our roots are strong; our presence is powerful; and our contribution should be celebrated.






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will have at least heard the names and stories of our Black heroes and contributors.

DR VIVIENNE CONNELL-HALL (PhD) Sociologist and Visiting Lecturer in Social History


or me, BHM means that for 31 days out of 365 days of the year there is an opportunity to say to everybody that will take the time listen, look at all that we have done. Although, you tried so hard to stop us, put all kind of obstacles in our way, yet we still contributed. We still participated and we are still here. Paradoxically, we must squeeze 100s of years of our story, the story of Black people, into 31 days that can never be enough time. There is an opportunity for a concentrated focus on Black historical input and achievement. It is also a period tinged with disappointment, when I reflect upon the limited time given over to this during the rest of the year. As well as to the extent of the whitewashing and omissions; for example, in the recent scandal surrounding the Windrush Generation, polls have shown that the majority of the population were partially or wholly ignorant of that aspect of British history. It is also a time tinged with disappointment, when I think of the limited time given over to our story, yet every year we still only talk about Jesse Owens, Garvey, Mandela and Mary Seacole, whilst their stories are beautiful and need to be told, we have WWI and II heroes unheard of, the story of William Cuffay, the Black Chartist, languishing only on Google.

We have contributed so much but go unrecognised. Because of this narrow focus the wider community still doesn’t



What does Black History Month 2020 mean to me?

Why is it important? Because Black history is British history. The cherry picking of history, the focus on only the palatable aspects of history, means that we are all poorer - poorer in thought and knowledge. We have presented history as Swiss cheese for years, with huge gaping holes, BHM is an attempt to fill some of those holes. It is also important because it allows the non-Black communities to learn or, at least, become aware of what essentially is part of their own history that they have been denied, given its absence from school’s curricula. The consequence of which is that history is being taught in a sanitised and exclusionary fashion. What am I doing? Until 18 months ago, I worked full time, as a subject matter expert in diversity and inclusion for six years. However, I have been involved in this sphere for most of my adult life - from equal opportunity to diversity - through various voluntary (external) and corporate activities within the civil service. For example, setting up and running BAME staff networks. This owes much to my cultural and familial inheritance.

“Black History is British History!” “Black people understand us. As I mentioned earlier, in the recent scandal surrounding the Windrush Generation, polls showed that most of the population didn’t know about this. The truth is what the symbolism of The Empire Windrush presents, is that Black people came here at the invitation of a Conservative government as much needed vital labour to rebuild this country after the devastation and ravages from WWII. Sadly, this vital piece of British history has been for many years until recently been left out of the school curriculum and off our TVs. We are now playing 70 plus years of catch-up to try and educate a new generation and remind previous ones at the same time.

should never forget that Africans had a history before slavery”

I am fortunate enough to be sufficiently informed in these matters, enabling me to teach my children (and 10 year old grandson) what the state has failed to do, saving them from such ignorance and instilling them with a sense of pride along the way. My aim, and that of my generation, is that all children

My maternal grandmother was a founding member of Marcus Garvey’s organisation, the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) that was first formed in Jamaica. I am proud that she served as Secretary for a regional branch in her Parish. Marcus Garvey, of course, was the Father of pan-Africanism and part of the UNIA’s philosophy was that “Black people should never forget that Africans had a history before slavery” and that’s the message that has been

passed on to my grandmother’s descendants as part of our socialisation. What is my wish? I would like to see the nascent campaign to debase and smear the objectives of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement fail. If these efforts succeed, we will continue to lament the exclusion of Black people’s contributions, the historical injustices perpetrated against them and the lessening of the price they have paid on the frontline of the Covid-19 pandemic. I would like BLM to flourish, bolster changes (or at least generate conversations) and to make Blackness visible; and shame on us if we allow this movement to wither. We need to shout from the pinnacles of society, all that we have done. The sharing of knowledge and revelation of lesser known facts shine a light on ignorance and offers us all an opportunity to eliminate group think, tackle xenophobia and reduce racism.

We as elders have to be the ones to teach the younger ones. There is an African saying that “when an elder dies, we lose a library”, I ask all who are reading this page to ensure that you are the library, that you have left your knowledge for others to use. I would like to see plans to mainstream Black history in history curricula, presented in historical and cultural contexts

and certainly no further attempts to dilute or rebrand BHM as “Diversity Month”. Racism and Xenophobia are born of ignorance; therefore, if history is imparted at an early stage in the education sector, then people will understand, for example, why the Empire Windrush brought Caribbean immigrants to this country and there would be no need for them to question what they see.

And, more importantly, the dissemination of outrageous stereotypes against a section of society would cease. Maybe in the future there will be no need for BHM, because our books and TV screens will show us as we are, contributors to world history and not just for 31 days but every day.

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2020 was undoubtably annus horribilis for Britain‘s Windrush Generation and their descendants. It was soul destroying as systemic racism wreaked havoc on the lives of Black British citizens, many of whom came to fight for this country during World War II, who helped with post-war rebuilding or continue to serve in the National Health Service and elsewhere. The Windrush Scandal broke in April 2018 and inexplicably continued into 2020, indeed it deepened. While Home Secretary Sajid Javid and more recently Pritti Patel publicly apologised for the scandal, the Home Office has done little of impact to ‘right the wrongs’ for Windrushers, many of whom are of retirement age and should be winding down. Instead victim-led organisations, like Windrush Action, are having to battle a Government that seems hell bent on prolonging their suffering. Take Windrusher Glenda Cesare’s case for example. She lost her job as a receptionist in a GP surgery because she could not produce a passport to prove her right of abode in Britain under the Government’s Hostile Environment. As a result she lost out on 10 years of employment and her quality of life suffered immensely. To ‘right the wrongs’ the Home Office has offered her a paltry £22,000 in compensation, £2,000 for each year of suffering! The Home Office and its ‘spokesmen’ like to say that the compensation scheme, published on 3 April 2019, is ‘accessible, fair and generous’. How could this be the case when only 143 claims have been paid out in total compared to 11,700 victims being given ‘some form of documentation’ by the Department since the scandal broke? And why is the average compensation payment only £7,365? Furthermore, why is it taking so long? Victims like Paulette Wilson have died waiting for compensation. Others have died after wrongful deportation, a practice that continues in 2020 despite accusations of human rights’ violations. The only thing being reliably delivered just now is a long line of independent reports criticising Home Office performance, not least Wendy Williams’ Windrush Lessons Learned Review, which shines a spotlight on the Department’s cultural deficiencies and the need for urgent reform. Sadly as the first Black Senior Civil Servant to work on policy at the Department I was urging such reform 20 years ago - and despite the passage of time nothing seems to have changed. Put simply the Home Office needs to understand that Black Lives Matter. It needs to speed up and pay up under




the Compensation Scheme. I implore anyone who thinks they are eligible to apply. It is the only game in town for victims to secure redress. We must make it work for them. The murder of George Floyd in the USA shone a spotlight on systemic racism and sparked global protests in 2020 and, rightly so, here in Great Britain. We have parallels beyond the Windrush scandal. Rashan Charles, a 20-year Black boy, who despite doing nothing wrong, was wrestled to the ground in East London in 2017 and held in a choke hold by a police officer until his body lay lifeless. Disproportionate use of stop and search and use of force against Black people by the police continues, as do inequalities in the Criminal Justice System more generally, disproportionate rates of exclusion of Black boys from mainstream schools, housing inequalities, job and economic inequalities, health inequalities and so on. The disproportionate number of deaths in minority ethnic communities in Great Britain from Covid-19, whether key workers, such as bus drivers, was another wake-up call. Then came the shocker that hospital deaths per 100,000 among British people of a black Caribbean background were three times higher than the majority White British population. This was yet another blow for the Windrush Generation and its descendants in 2020. To add insult to injury Windrush charities like Croydon African Caribbean Family Organisation UK, of which I am Chair, find ourselves delivering food parcels to elders in the wake of the Covid-19

pandemic which is crying shame given their life long contributions to wealth creation in Great Britain. The Government needs to move on from endless reviews and reports to delivering outcomes that make a positive difference to Black British lives and the improvement of society in general. To that end systemic racism must be challenged. That is why, with a sense of irony, I was proud to take the knee with Black Lives Matter protesters outside Home Office HQ earlier this year. Black citizens, supported by those from all ethnic groups who ‘get it’, need to sustain the momentum of Black Lives Matter protests to ensure that the annus horribilis of 2020 is never again repeated for Windrushers or other Black citizens here or abroad.

By Cllr. Callton Young OBE, Chair of CACFO UK, Member of Windrush Action

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Donna Kinnair

Realising the hopes of the Windrush Generation

Many young women arrived in the UK from the Caribbean with a dream to be a nurse. It was a dream that many had to wait a while to realise, for a reason most did not expect. Racism.

Quite a few of these young hopefuls got jobs in hospitals, not as nurses, but as “orderlies” as they were called then. These were the people who cleaned the hospitals. Disappointment may have been their immediate emotion but all used the opportunity to learn about hospital life, and the reality of life in the UK through the reactions and reluctance of many patients and visitors to seeing Black hospital workers. After many applications and requests for nurse training, the door was opened for some, but only as State Enrolled Nurses - a second-tier position below State Registered Nurses. Many young nurses worked their way up enhancing their employability and chances for promotion, but they were still blocked by racism most of the time. Their resilience, courage and determination sustained them. Roll on twenty years and in 1964, Daphne Steele was appointed the first Black Matron at a hospital in Ilkley, Yorkshire. Another 20 years on and another young woman started her training in Whitechapel, London. Her name - Donna Kinnair. Kinnair started her academic life pursuing a degree in mathematics, but took to nursing with enthusiasm and vigour. She widened her healthcare experience by working with HIV patients, and by working in an intensive care hospital setting and as a Health Visitor in the community. Kinnair was following in the footsteps of the pioneering Windrush Generation who became nurses and showed that their professional competence could extend outside of the hospital and upwards towards leadership. Kinnair didn’t stop there though. She continued her academic and professional development with a Masters’ Degree in Medical Law and Ethics and focused on child protection work, becoming an expert adviser.




“Nurses, in all settings and sectors across health and social care, deserve to know that their safety and wellbeing is paramount...”

A Windrush Generation descendant, Kinnair was making a hugely valuable contribution to Britain in greater ways than those who came to England to be nurses could have hoped for. She was showing what could have been achieved if racism hadn’t been a hurdle for Black nurses of the Windrush Generation. Kinnair held a number of senior positions in both the healthcare and education sectors, underlining her talent, passion, belief and years of hard work. Her roles included being Strategic Commissioner for Children’s Services, Clinical Director of Emergency Medicine, and a Director of Commissioning. Kinnair was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2008 – in recognition of her achievements and contribution to the UK. As an acknowledged leader and influencer, Kinnair was a member of the Prime Minister’s Commission in 2010, giving advice on nursing and midwifery. Being invited to teach medical law, ethics, and child protection in New Zealand, Russia and Kenya, as well as throughout the UK, confirmed her expert status and her skill of inspiring others. Kinnair soon rose up the ranks from Head of Nursing at the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) in 2015, to Director for Nursing, Policy and Practice in 2016. Then, in August 2018, she was appointed acting Chief Executive and General Secretary of RCN, before the permanent position was confirmed in April 2019. Kinnair’s professionalism and commitment to innovation and a quality service has had a tremendous impact already. 2020 has been a year in which her skills have been tested, as have those of the Government and others helping the country to deal with major and far-reaching issues. From the Covid-19 pandemic and its disproportionate impact on Black and Asian communities, to the urgent need for equality and inclusiveness in all areas of society – highlighted by Black Lives Matter protests around the world. Kinnair acknowledged these issues and how they impacted on Black nurses when she marked Windrush Day on 22 June 2020. “While it would be nice to think that the prejudices and barriers faced by the Windrush

nurses were firmly established as a thing of the past, the reality is that change is painfully slow. The results of the Workforce Race Equality Standard tell us that there is still much more work to be done to create sustainable change in organisations. Nurses still tell us about their experiences of racism and at RCN Congress this year we learned much about the importance of understanding the impact of race on health….” In 2020, protecting nurses from Covid-19 has been a difficult challenge, as has been identifying why Black and Asian people have succumbed disproportionately to the virus, compared to white people. Kinnair has shown leadership and is not afraid to be bold when it comes to ensuring the Government takes responsibility and responds to demands for improving the safety of the frontline workers she is responsible for. At the start of the UK pandemic, nursing staff were expected to continue caring for Covid-19 patients without protective personal equipment (PPE) such as masks, gloves and aprons. The reality of the PPE scandal is that over 650 health and social care workers have now died of Covid-19 to date. 2020 may continue to be a difficult year for all, but Kinnair has set out the RCN’s demands to Government and health service leaders. Demands that will protect nurses and patients. Demands that will help care for people through the pandemic, while providing a way forward for a full re-opening of the other healthcare services needed. Demands that will train and equip nurses to meet a nation’s healthcare needs, at one of the most challenging times in our history. Kinnair believes “Nurses, in all settings and sectors across health and social care, deserve to know that their safety and wellbeing is paramount to the UK Government, devolved adminisibbean Nursestrations and health agencies.” More than ever, knowing this is particularly important in 2020, and a definite priority for Kinnair. In 2020, Kinnair was named in the Powerlist, a list of 100 most influential Britons of African and African Caribbean descent. The Windrush Generation and their descendants, especially those who have been a part of the NHS journey and its development as a world-class service, have saluted Kinnair for her achievements and invaluable contribution. In turn, celebrating the 72 year anniversary of the NHS in July, Kinnair acknowledged the invaluable and lasting contribution of the Windrush Generation who became nurses. Professor Dame Donna Kinnair DBE was the toast of anniversary events 72 years after many of those first hopefuls made their way into nursing despite the many challenges they faced. Starting a long journey that would see The Windrush Generation and their descendants making an incredible contribution to the NHS and the health and wellbeing of the nation. BLACK HISTORY MONTH 2020


‘We have found a reward Crown Prosecution Serv There are so many diverse roles on offer within the Crown Prosecution Service. Meet some of the individuals working in these exciting roles today… The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is responsible for delivering justice through the independent prosecution of crime. As the principal prosecuting authority across England and Wales the nature and diversity of cases we advise on and prosecute means our work is often challenging and complex. It’s made up of a diverse range of legal and non-legal professionals from across our 14 regions within England

and Wales, working to make a difference to the public they serve. When it comes to recruitment our focus is on attracting the very best, ensuring all our talented personnel are supported throughout their careers within the CPS, from learning and career development opportunities to their mental and physical wellbeing. The skills and values that diverse individuals bring into the CPS are essential to our business and underpins everything we do; therefore, we ensure there are a wide range of opportunities to join us, whatever your background. Our employees cover a wide range of professions from Training Tutors, Policy Advisors and Facility Managers to


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Have a genuine impact on society. Build on legal skills, whichever area you’ve worked in. Be the lawyer you always wanted to be. Can you deliver justice?

Watch my film at and discover our latest Prosecutor opportunities. Closing date 21st October 2020.



Paralegals, Caseworkers and Prosecutors. One way into the CPS is through one of our apprenticeships, we currently offer funded apprenticeships at a range of levels across legal, human resources, operational delivery and finance professions. If you already have professional qualifications, the CPS offers learning and development opportunities at all levels, as part of our commitment to invest in every one of our employees. The CPS currently has several vacancies open across a range of directorates. To find out more please visit our website

LEGAL TRAINEE Employment at the CPS means that I can build a career out of public service and use my skills to contribute to justice for all those involved in the criminal justice system. My name is Clara Sibanda and I am a Pupil Barrister within the Crown Prosecution Service. I was driven to join the CPS, as I wanted to partake in the opportunities that the CPS offers its trainees, which are not readily available at other training organisations - e.g. secondments within other branches of the Civil Service or external organisations. Within my first six months, I was given the opportunity to spend one month in the Homicide Unit and another at Red Lion Chambers. I also wanted to utilise opportunities to do more than just work. There are many welcoming and proactive staff networks that one can join. One such network that I am an Executive Committee Member of is the National Black Crown Prosecution Association. With the NBCPA, I have been involved in proactively advocating for equality, diversity and inclusion. We have done and continue to do work to promote the needs of our membership, provide training and celebrate our cultures, as with South Asian Heritage Month and Black History Month.

ding career in the vice, you can too!’ The process of applying to become a Pupil Barrister at the CPS was straightforward but as challenging as one would expect of pupillage applications. The key, I found, was to be persistent and ask for help from those who had succeeded. It was on my third attempt that I was successful and since then, it has been a steep learning curve. No two days are the same. I appear in person and online to conduct hearings on behalf of the Crown and the cases are always varied. Drugs and stalking on one day, possession of firearms and robbery on another. Like any other, it is not a career without its difficulties. It is well worth doing and I encourage you to apply.

HUMAN RESOURCES Employment at the CPS means that I can have a satisfying career and a good work life balance.

PROSECUTOR Employment at the CPS means that I get to make a genuine impact on society, through the delivery of justice across all my work.

My name is Maqsood Khan, and I am a Senior Crown Prosecutor within the CPS Mersey Cheshire area. Prior to joining CPS in 2005 I was an Organic Chemist. However, I needed a new challenge within my professional life, and it was from this that I developed an interest for the CPS. My wife, Zaheda, works for the CPS as a Prosecutor. She encouraged me to join CPS to pursue a career path as a lawyer – and that’s exactly what I did. I joined CPS as a Witness Care Manager. In 2007, I was successfully gained a scholarship from the CPS to fund my CPE – the start of my journey to become a CPS Prosecutor. Upon completion, I was then offered a Training Contract, qualifying in 2016 becoming a Crown Prosecutor, and then promoted to Senior Crown Prosecutor in 2018. Throughout my time at the CPS, the one thing I can say I have been offered is a good work/life balance. I have 2 children, and I can say I have never missed a single sports day, parents evening or a school play - because of the flexibility CPS offers. Having held a variety of roles across the CPS, I have found that at each of the various stages of my career the relevant training has been available for me to progress to the place I am today – ultimately increasing my knowledge and understanding of the Criminal Justice System that has made me a better lawyer today.

My name is Dionne Moodie and I am a HR Advisor within the Complex HR Case team at the CPS. I applied to the CPS after finishing a degree in International Relations and Development Studies. I saw a big campaign within the Metro newspaper and decided to apply despite not really having an in-depth knowledge of the CPS. The location preference I chose in the application form aligned me to a HR post. It was a baptism of fire working as an A2 Administrator in the recruitment team. There were so many recruitment campaigns but with the support of my colleagues, I quickly got used to the office environment and the pace of life in HR. I was given lots of opportunities for promotion, starting with temporary promotions at a higher level to eventually securing a permeant promotion to HR Officer. I was promoted to a HR Manager within the same team a year later. I have had my development supported throughout the years, with my Individual Learning Account enabling me to attend external training, as well as being sponsored to undertake the CIPD Experience Assessment. I had thought that my time in the CPS would be brief, but I found it was such a great place to work, with a supportive culture; that is ready to listen to its employees and strives to improve year on year.




DZAGBELE MATILDA ASANTE I was nursing in the UK before Windrush and the NHS The prevalent Windrush narrative belies the fact that there were African nurses born in Britain or from Africa in the health service before and during the fledgling years of the NHS. History consultant Kwaku provides one such story with a familial connection. 28


few days shy of her 93rd birthday, Dzagbele Matilda Asante, who was born in 1927 at La, Accra in the then Gold Coast (now Ghana) is upset that she can’t remember much of her history. But she obviously provided enough memories both for a video and a Q&A session I organised, for many of the attendees who affectionately referred to her as Mummy. Incidentally, that’s what I call her, on account of her being my mother-in-law. Born into a well to do family – her father worked in the Treasury department of the then British colony of Gold Coast, where his position was that normally reserved for Europeans. Such positions were referred to as “European appointment”. Oh yes, even though it’s not spoken about much, there was colour bar and class bar within the British colonies. Whilst it was unusual at the time for most girls to have secondary education, Mummy did not only complete her secondary schooling with a School Certificate (equivalent to GCSE), but went on to teach at Accra High School, which was founded by a Sierra Leonean named Rev. JT Roberts. He was one of a number of Sierra Leoneans to establish schools in the Gold Coast. Teaching however was a temporary job, whilst she waited for arrangements to be made by her father for her to travel to the UK to study nursing. The profession was decided by her father, who also got one son to study medicine at Leeds University and another son to study law at Oxford University. Incidentally, although she was a privatelyfunded student, she still had to go to the Castle, the seat of the colonial government in Accra, to sign a bond confirming that she would return upon completion of her training. Mummy recalls arriving at Dover in August 1947. Although it was supposed to be summer, she found the weather cold. Her boat trip started from Ghana, but because of some unexplained post-war difficulties, she had to travel to Gambia to board the ship that brought her to the UK. She was put in the charge of the Ghanaian barrister and later the first Speaker of the Gold Coast Legislative Assembly Sir Emmanuel Quist and his wife Lady Quist. On arrival in London, Mummy was taken by a British Council officer to the Colonial Hostel in Collingham Gardens, near Earl’s Court – the British Council in those days was very particular about which part of London it housed its colonial guests. In less than a fortnight, she moved to Barnet Hospital in north London, where she began her nursing training. Unfortunately this hospital was rather small, without training facilities. So after several weeks of daily bussing to a bigger hospital for training, Mummy and a Sierra Leone fellow training nurse, made private arrangements to continue their training in bigger hospitals.

Dzagbele with siblings left, Peter (lawyer) and right, Christian (doctor)

Mummy was accepted at Central Middlesex Hospital in Harlesden, north-west London, where after the preliminary 3 month “observation” period, she was accepted for State Registered Nurse training, which she successfully completed in 3 years. Although it’s often been said that Africans, particularly those from the Caribbean, were routinely funnelled into State Enrolled Nurse (SEN) courses, which was not recognised outside Britain, Mummy does not recall meeting any SEN students during her training. With her SRN qualification, Mummy says “I could have stayed there forever. But I knew I was to return home sometime, and I wanted to do something else in nursing.” So she moved to South London Hospital For Women And Children to study midwifery, which was covered in two parts – one was mainly theory and the other practicals. She completed the latter at Kingsbury Hospital in north London, whereupon she qualified as a State Certified Midwife. A smile cuts across her face as she recalls a mischievous ambition of a fellow trainee. The sign of the hospital’s name had the “o” in Women missing. So Mummy recalls “the greatest ambition” of this trainee midwife was to climb up and remove the “W” in Women, to have the sign read South London Hospital For Men And Children, and stand back and watch the pandemonium that was likely to ensue. Mummy went on to study Health Visiting at Battersea Polytechnic, which is where that she met a Sierra Leonean fellow trainee, Adeline Lee, who was to become a long-life friend until her death. So what does she recall of the Empire Windrush’s arrival from the Caribbean in 1948? It would surprise readers of this magazine, who no doubt are aware of the ubiquitous coverage of that ship’s one trip from the Caribbean, that it passed Mummy by. She doesn’t even recall the Caribbean nurses mentioning it at the time. “It was interesting when,” decades later “people told me about this ship... We never really heard anything. I was surprised to hear such a thing, and none of us knew about it.” Following the Windrush, there’s supposed

to have been an “influx” of African Caribbean people coming to train as nurses. What does she recall? “I wouldn’t say ‘influx’. There were girls coming to do nursing,” she says. But adds: “Interestingly enough, either they didn’t like it, or, after the preliminary period of three months, they just left. They were not there any more.” One of the things she particularly remembers from engaging with girls from the Caribbean was that after years of maintaining a natural hair style, they introduced her to straightening her hair “to make it easy to comb, and easy to keep.” There is one more hirsute story Mummy recalls. It was a time when she was with a group of African Caribbean nurses having their hair done in someone’s house, as there were no African specialist hair salon then. These nurses were talking disparagingly about the non-chemicalised hairstyles of some of the continental African nurses. So Mummy asked them why they were talking about their fellow nurses in that way? Their response was why was she bothered. It was then that she told them that she was from Africa. Perhaps she speculates, because of her fair complexion, she says: “They hadn’t realised all this time that I wasn’t a West Indian, I mean, a Caribbean girl.” Mummy was training at Central Middlesex Hospital when the NHS (National Health Service) was launched in July 1948. She says the doctors were initially not keen on this development, and so to get them on side, they were allowed to have some private patients treated within the NHS. Also, unlike before, when the doctors wielded a lot of power, after the introduction of the NHS, the hospital management had increased powers over their affairs. Unsurprisingly, she experienced racism within the health service. There were some patients who refused to be attended to by African nurses. Mummy recalls an incident where a patient would not allow her to prepare him for theatre. When she reported the matter to the nursing sister in charge, she supported Mummy by phoning the surgeon to say his patient was being brought to the theatre unprepared, because he refused prepared by an African nurse. The surgeon had to sort out the preparation himself. Recreation was often going to the cinema,

which one could stay in for hours, if one chose to watch repetition of the same film. She remembers coming out of the cinema one day, and everywhere was covered by smog. Visibility was so bad that the bus conductor had to go on foot using a torchlight to direct the bus driver! Another form of recreation was window shopping. She recalls one incident that has a lasting memory. One day she and a group of girls from west Africa and the Caribbean went window shopping in Oxford Street. They ended up taking photos in a photographic studio. The following week when they went to collect their photos, she was so surprised to see her photo displayed in the shop window. The enlarged version is displayed in her house at La, and that’s the portrait she’s holding in the accompanying photograph. Mummy was a bit of an activist in her youth. She would challenge the negative spin on Africa portrayed in talks or films provided by the Colonial Office or British Council. The crisis in Kenya at the time was one of the colonial issues she and her friends expressed solidarity with by supporting the few Kenyan students around. It was no doubt her ability to speak up and to get her nursing friends to attend political type meetings that led to her being elected secretary of the Gold Coast Students Union. The one elected President was a socialistleaning statistics and mathematics student, KB Asante, who had come to London from Durham University. They would end up marrying in 1958, and having two sons and two daughters. Mummy went on to have a long career as a senior public health practitioner in Ghana. Her husband had a distinguished career as an aide to President Kwame Nkrumah and his diplomatic service included becoming Ghana’s High Commissioner to the UK and Ireland. Their marriage lasted 60 years, until the death of her husband in 2018.

Dzagbele Matilda Asante is still somewhat involved in the health service – her compound is used for the local weekly health meetings for mothers with young children. BLACK HISTORY MONTH 2020




“I realise that, generationally and historically, those of us who are custodians of a certain historical memory [we] have a responsibility to share that memory, and to offer it to a wide range of eager people who are very much concerned to educate themselves about historical processes that shape the moment we are in.” Prof Paul Gilroy (OUTERVIEW, June 2020) In June 2020, I began a series of reasonings with various social commentators on my YouTube channel entitled ‘The OUTERVIEW, Where Reason Comes First’, from which the above Prof Paul Gilroy extract is taken. The rationale behind the series is to demonstrate that it is possible to have profound discussions, premised in REASON, that seek to inform, uplift, and edify on matters of the Black experience in 21st century Britain. It is important for me to place emphasis on this aspect of the Black struggles for liberation because overstanding the ‘historical processes that shape the moment we are in’ is crucial to overcoming systemic, systematic, and institutionalised racism. That is why I have a forthcoming publication entitled ‘Black Lives Matter, Decolonisation, and the Legacy of African Enslavement’, wherein I explain that as an educator it continues to amaze me that as a person of African ancestry I still have to ‘prove’, usually during one calendar month, that I have a rich history that predates chattel enslavement. Equally, because Black history is generally regarded as a story about African people suffering chattel enslavement and then being freed, with an emphasis on the Abolition and the Civil Rights Movement, the scope for meaningful and informed discussion is limited. Consequently, as a ‘custodian of a certain historical memory’ it is incumbent on me to share with those who are eager to listen and learn whatever I bring to the table that I believe will uplift and empower them from an Africentric perspective, without compromise. Black History Month, despite the obvious and overly reductionist drawbacks, lends itself to an annual opportunity for alternate ‘world histories’ to be discussed, documented and disseminated in the wider public arena. I deliberately state ‘world histories’ to ensure that we work from the premise that Africans are, and always will be, part of any historical worldview, which is quite different from the racist European whitewashing that renders the African - read as Black people globally - as the ‘white man’s burden’. For instance, when I go into schools that are predominantly filled with African and African Caribbean students to deliver BHM talks, there is an overwhelming



and palpable sense of shame in the air. I am talking about Black students visibly sliding down in their seats, like veritable ostriches burying their heads in the proverbial sand, because they expect to hear solely about the horrors of ‘slavery’, coupled with an attack on white people. Considering what they are being ‘taught’ on this historical moment, coupled with the fact that the teachers of these children are predominantly White, we can sympathise with them. I say this because it is perhaps only human, whether young or old, to more often than not react to what we expect to hear based on what we know, or even think we know, and switch off before anything has been shared. This realisation led to a research publication based on some work I delivered in a couple of London Schools, where I discussed this sense of ‘shame’ with year 10 and year 11 students and some of their teachers. The article is entitled ‘Schooling, Education and the Reproduction of Inequality: Understanding Black and Minority Ethnic Attitudes to Learning in two London Schools’. You will notice that I link ‘attitudes to learning’ with the ‘reproduction of inequality’ and to make sense of this relationship the framework for the discussion was the relevance of BHM and the absence of meaningful Black historical content within the National Curriculum. My approach is generally to inform the students and their teachers that I am here to discuss history and, if Black people have made a contribution that I am aware of, I will share that knowledge with them as an aspect of a decolonisation process. This pragmatic approach is a radical departure from the expected, and immediately piques the interest of those gathered as it gives us a unique opportunity to reason through ‘hidden’ aspects of British history that challenges the way history is presently taught in schools. I therefore explain to the students that by giving them examples of how we experience Black history every single day in some way, shape or form, means it is the mind-set that needs changing as the history is always there. We just need to learn how to not be afraid to discuss it in an open and honest way. Everyone has a history and therefore everyone

should have a say in how that history is taught in schools, colleges and universities, as history cannot and should not be racialised. I believe that if BHM was given the level of importance that other annual celebrations receive, we would soon see a shift in the way we view each other as valid and valued members of the human family. Henry W, A. (2020) ‘Black Lives Matter, Decolonisation, and the Legacy of African Enslavement’ (in) Isaacs, S. (ed) Social Problems in the UK: An Introduction. London: Routledge. Henry, W, A. (2020) ‘Schooling, Education and the Reproduction of Inequality: Understanding Black and Minority Ethnic Attitudes to Learning in Two London Schools’ LinkedIn: Prof William Lez Henry


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By Lynda Louise Burrell, Creative Director, Museumand, The National Caribbean Heritage Museum

ne piece of the amazing legacy that Chadwick Boseman who played the powerful warrior in the Black Panther movie has left us is a piece of advice. He urged us to “Seize the Day. Enjoy it.” From the day I heard it my life has taken on a special glow. I’ve grown in stature I’m sure, but one thing I know for certain is that my confidence has, without a shadow of a doubt. I’ve been able to look people in the eye and not be afraid. I’ve been able to look people in the eye and see them change. It’s as if they feel they have been recognised for the first time, that someone is really looking at them and seeing them and that makes me feel good because I’ve made a difference to someone’s day. That’s what Chadwick Boseman - the man, the actor, the director, the writer sought to do. He sought through his work and interaction with others to motivate and inspire, to present when his roles required a true picture of a people with a culture and roots based in Africa. He sought to make people feel good and he certainly did that for all ages since the release in 2018 of the film Black Panther in which he starred. 2020 was going to be another feel-good year and many were really looking forward to it. It was going to be a year loaded with significance. The start of a brand new decade. Most people were expecting momentous moments and positive changes alongside the usual highs and lows. After all, 2020 felt like a magic number, one that would ensure we got more of what we felt we deserved. We were not only going to seize the day, but the whole year. Instead, what we got was a global pandemic that’s kept us on tenterhooks. Will we or won’t we catch the virus? Will our nearest and dearest be affected by it? Who have we been in contact with that could pass it on to us? The pandemic caused the anxiety level of many to shoot off the scale as they wondered just how long it was going to take to control the virus and bring things back to normal. Many felt they were certainly not in a position to seize the day, or anything else, while the virus was roaming unchecked. Technology enabled us to work and play, even if Covid-19 meant we couldn’t get physically close to our family and friends. It enabled us to shop for essentials and support those facing difficulties during the weeks that dragged on and became months. It enabled scientists and medical professionals to work together, around the clock, to develop treatments and potential vaccines. And it gave us the opportunity to see and reach out to others around the world.



While the world was working hard to grapple with the virus, Black people were given another blow. Black lives were being cut short. Not only by the disproportionate impact of the virus on Black communities, but by endemic systemic racism and most overtly, by the police. Racism took on a bold form, perpetrated by the very people that Black communities had a right to expect would protect them. The world watched in horror as technology captured despicable acts like the murder of George Floyd and shared them with the world. The video ignited an international eruption of protest and demands for justice – from all sectors of society. The names of Black men and women murdered or brutalised by the police was made public and widely commemorated. People took to the streets, as well as social media, to stand united, protest against these grave abuses of power, condemn the treatment of Black people and demand change. Technology is helping to keep the fight for justice alive. The speed of the digital world means the news of someone’s passing is communicated within moments – with eulogies and remembrances shared across social media. One such passing which rocked the world was the unexpected death of Chadwick Boseman. An American actor from South Carolina, Chadwick Boseman was known for his starring roles portraying pioneering Americans Jackie Robinson, James Brown and Thurgood Marshall. He won the hearts of young and old with his acclaimed performance as T’Challa in the film Black Panther, part of the Marvel cinematic universe. Chadwick Boseman debunked the myth that Black actors couldn’t sell internationally. His skill and talent extended beyond acting to being a writer, a director and a teacher of Black history. The result is a creative body of work that inspires adults,

‘Chadwick Boseman’s work opened doors for the Black community and his legacy provides powerful stories that will be learned from and inspire millions, for generations to come.’

Partner with us to celebrate Caribbean history and heritage in the UK - together we’ll re- imagine your collections and explore Caribbean culture in new and inspiring ways. We work nationally with individuals, communities and organisations across heritage, arts, culture and education - from grassroots groups to national institutions. Want to learn more about the Caribbean experience and explore how you can support Black culture? young people and children. It gives them all a reason to feel pride in themselves. To take on challenges. To see and understand the significance of history despite its many complexities. Chadwick Boseman’s work opened doors for the Black community and his legacy provides powerful stories that will be learned from and inspire millions, for generations to come. He encouraged viewers to use their imagination as the first step to achieving their goals. He did all this while privately suffering from cancer, without making it known publicly. In our collective grief, let’s reflect on what Chadwick Boseman has left for us. • The importance of having a big, all-encompassing vision. • Not being afraid to take on a challenge. • What can happen in a life that acknowledges the presence and the achievements of ancestors. • His commitment to culture and heritage in his work and how he used it to enrich his creativity and benefit so many others. Chadwick Boseman has received many accolades in the tributes and testimonies to him. One in particular has resonated because it speaks so powerfully to the times we’re living through. Like him, we should aim to be “bridge builders”. He’s told us that’s possible because we stand on the shoulders of giants – our ancestors. Let’s honour him and do this. Now that he’s one of our ancestors too we know for sure that we can become superheroes in whatever situation we find ourselves in. Technology ensures we can listen again and again to his words, and continue to be inspired.

Chadwick Aaron Boseman, 29 Nov 1976 - 28 Aug 2020 (age 43)

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WILL 2020 BE THE YEAR THAT BLACK LIVES FINALLY MATTER IN FOOTBALL? “the real test for football is away from the glare of the cameras and world-wide television audiences”

BY LEON MANN Leon is Founder of Black Collective of Media in Sport and Co-Founder of the Football Black List


ow will we reflect on 2020 in years to come? The coronavirus pandemic, tragic death of George Floyd and subsequent global protests will clearly define it - but I hope the year goes down in history as the period where we saw a significant shift in momentum towards achieving true racial equality. As someone who has been campaigning against racism in football for 20 years, I do believe we are at a vital point in time for our national sport. Footballers wearing the slogan Black Lives Matter on their shirts, taking a knee before kick-off and many choosing to lift a clenched fist is something, I never thought I would see in my lifetime. But the real test for football is away from the glare of the cameras and world-wide television audiences. It is in the boardrooms, dugouts, and all non-playing roles - even though a third of professional men’s footballers are Black. The stats across the 92 professional men’s clubs reflect the challenge: 5 - Black managers 0 - Black Chief Executives 1 - Black British Chairman The situation is stark and disturbingly the levels of underrepresentation have not changed for decades despite the huge contribution of Black players.



So why do I believe there is a reason to be hopeful now? Firstly, the symbolic actions have led to a shift in tone, understanding and discussion around the lack of diversity in the game. A case in point is the England manager, Gareth Southgate, speaking openly this year about the “white privilege” that exists in football. Meanwhile, players like Raheem Sterling have continued to be vocal about challenging racism and even the white players are now finding the confidence to take more responsibility here. However, there is no getting away from the fact that while words are powerful, we can only judge progress by the actions taken. This is where Paul Elliott, a former player and respected anti-racism campaigner, is leading the charge. He has been working with the Football Association to put in place a code that steers clubs to follow meaningful actions and work to targets. Will the code work? How long will it take before we see its impact? What are the consequences if clubs do not follow the code? These are all questions that will be answered in time. But the advancements made this year have pushed the issue towards the top of the agenda. In truth, the one action to force change is with the stars of the show - the players. If they come together and demand change, things will move quickly. Player power is the ultimate game changer and I speak to enough footballers to know the levels of frustration are at a tipping point. Will we see a strike? Are players organising behind closed doors? Are they brave enough to confront their employers? Again, only time will tell. I can certainly never recall a time like this. The energy for change is there and it will either be led by the authorities or the players. Something good can come from a year of pain and suffering. It is time to change the game and confine the depressing stats to the history books. If Black Lives Matter to the football industry it is time for the actions to prove it, before the players lose patience and we see a very different show take centre stage.

Donna is a 4x Great Britain Olympian. She is a well-respected figure and role model in the world of UK athletics and sport generally. In December 2018, Croydon Borough Council awarded her the Freedom of the Borough, the highest civic honour a local authority can give to its residents. This has propelled her into two key roles at UK Athletics (UKA).

The first role is the Equality, Diversity Engagement Lead, and the other is Domestic Competition Manager. The impact of Covid-19 and the tragic death of George Floyd presented her with significant challenges this year. The domestic competition role covers Officials, Coach Education, Track and Field competition licensing and Runbritain (road running). This is a big remit, but when Covid-19 presented itself, it meant that the track and field season was in danger. By working with the home countries, track and field did resume within the government guidance, but much later than usual. The primary focus was to get some form of competition available for UK athletes to compete. We were delighted to speak to Donna about the immense challenges she and her colleagues faced over the last few months, as well as the hope and optimism she has for the future. The death of George Floyd in May escalated the conversation of Race within our sport and we wanted to truly understand what the feeling was ‘on the ground’. We invited our athletics family to join the conversation ‘Let’s talk about Race’ so we could hear personal experiences and find solutions. There was no agenda intentionally, so that people could feel comfortable being open and honest about how they truly felt. We delivered 17 ‘Let’s talk about Race’ sessions which totally blew me away; the experiences, the honesty, the frustration was prevalent. This proved that positive action needs to be taken as a National Governing Body. From this we set up focus groups to revisit the conversations and agree priority recommendations to be included in our Diversity Action Plan for 2021-2024. With it being such a strange year to deliver our ED&I activities. We decided for Black History Month this year, to take advantage of delivering activities online and will be kicking off with ‘Noir Voices’. This is a series of online sessions with special guests covering various topics from Black female images to Black leaders in athletics with an educational undertone. The programme is jammed packed and the UKA ED&I Advocates have worked extremely hard to pull together the busiest BHM plan ever. Outside of my day job, I also sit on the Sport Honours Committee. I recently joined

My 2020 Reflections BY DONNA FRASER

the Honours Diversity Committee which has a clear focus on ensuring the work of the Honours system is properly reflective of UK society. This work is important, as it is not fully understood within ethnic minority communities how the Honours system works. As an advocate of ED&I, it is my duty as a committee member to share positive stories and educate others on how the system works.

October is also Breast Cancer awareness month. I am a survivor of breast cancer and a Breast Cancer Now Ambassador. It is important for me to spread the awareness message to all, particularly those from an ethnic background. In our community, we do not often talk about cancer openly. We must not be afraid to, as that alone can save lives. So, I say “be breast aware and touch, look, check!” Although this year has been challenging. I had much to celebrate with the 20th Anniversary since that iconic 400m final at the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000, where I finished fourth. I am blessed to have been part of history with Cathy Freeman flying the Aboriginal and the Australian flag. That is Black History in itself. So, we must remain positive and look forward; next year we have many sporting events to look forward to including the Olympic and Paralympic Games. My message for Black History Month to everyone is “let’s embrace adversity and celebrate diversity”.


ords are not merely tools to describe things, ideas or concepts. Words often come with loaded meaning. At the extreme, it can have a pernicious impact on one’s psyche, wellbeing or sense of self or worth. In the space allowed in this publication, I’ll key in on some of my positions on terminologies and concepts, from and an African and British context. A more comprehensive coverage can be found in the Interrogating Language of Identity and Decolonising programme. This event is likely to be repeated in November, so keep an eye by checking the listings on the website. African, Black, or People of Colour? Although People of Colour is gaining popularity even among anti-racists, this term is inherently racist. Because it presupposes that White is not a colour and others every other heritage. As White is also a colour, it makes the term nonsensical. Black as a descriptor of Africans has gained a certain added ubiquitousness, especially after the death of George Floyd and the re-invigorated global Black Lives Matter activities.

The point is that when used in the context of the US, it unequivocally refers to Africans, or African Americans. But in the UK, it can have a diffused meaning, as there’s the political Black, which essentially means any non-European, and even some racially discriminated European groups. It is particularly for this reason that I advocate the use of African to refer to Africans, or as some prefer - people of African heritage. Ah, but it’s not so simple. African Origin, African Heritage, or African Descent? First of all, there is only one human race. Secondly, even the most racist person with



Interrogating the Language of Identity and Decolonisation History consultant and co-ordinator of African identity advocacy project TAOBQ (The African Or Black Question) Kwaku lays out his arguments for the use of African instead of Black, and other identity and decolonisation terminologies.

any education will accept the fact that the human species came from Africa. Hence, everybody – Europeans, Asians, you name it – can be described as of African descent or origin! If this idea is new to you, then relax and mull over it. So of the three choices, African heritage is the most appropriate descriptor for African people. However, there are some, like me, who advocate dispensing with the ‘heritage’ appendage, arguing that any person of African heritage is nothing else but an African. So the ‘heritage’ bit is redundant – surplus to requirement. In fact, we are in the middle of IDPAD (International Decade for People of African Descent) 2015-2024. The UN initiative aims to “promote a greater knowledge of and respect for the diverse heritage, culture and contribution of people of African descent to the development of societies”. Whilst this is laudable, the ‘descent’ bit is a tad bit problematic. As it can be argued that it actually refers to all human beings. However, one has to understand the UN is a multi-national organisation, so in order to

have an accord there are often compromises to be made for the greater goal. Another issue some of us identity activists have with the UN and its agencies is the use of Afrophobia. I am among those advocating that this word that speaks to discrimination against African people are things African, should be spelt with an “i”, that is Afriphobia. As this strengthens the ties to the African continent, rather than evoking images of a comb or a particular hairstyle. Afro-Caribbean, African-Caribbean, or Caribbean? Well, not only does Afro-Caribbean once again evoke images of a comb or a hairstyle, this expression is so 1970s. It’s passé, and should be left alone. Caribbean refers to anybody that has Caribbean antecedents – so they could be African, European, Asian, etc. In order words, its focus is only on the Caribbean, and not specific to any racial heritage. To belabour the point, Caribbean is in no way synonymous with Caribbean people of African heritage. If the latter is what’s of

History Month in Britain was predicated upon the African Jubilee Year Declaration of 1987. It spoke only to African people and their concerns. Such as fighting racism and apartheid. The logo highlighted the 25th anniversary of the founding of the OAU (Organisation of African Unity), the 100th anniversary of the birth of the pan-Africanist Marcus Garvey, and the 150th anniversary of the so-called emancipation of enslaved Africans in Britain’s Caribbean colonies. So it’s not surprising that some of us want to align closely to the Declaration by using African History Month.

interest, then the correct terminology is African-Caribbean. By the way, this term does not cover all African and Caribbean people. It covers only those who are both African and Caribbean. To cover all African people, one should either use just African, which refers to all people of African heritage irrespective of whether they are born on the African continent or its diaspora, such as UK, US or the Caribbean. Or if necessary, use, for example, African/ African-Caribbean. Black History, Africana Studies or African History? For the same reason that I argue that Black is a diffused terminology, I say Black History is not synonymous with African history, as many would have observed from some of the events put out in October under the Black History Month banner. African history, and Africana studies, which is usually offered by higher education establishments, both speak to Africans histories in and outside Africa. Another fact which many supporters are unaware is that the introduction of Black

BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic) or AAME (African, Asian, Minority Ethnic)? Well, one theatre company has recently jettisoned the use of BAME. And there have been several debates of late urging the ditching of the term. The government says it shouldn’t be used. But unfortunately several government departments continue to use it, which has resulted in an online petition that aims to remind Boris Johnson to have his government implement its own advice. My view is that where we need to use an umbrella term, then it should be AAME, which stands for African, Asian, and Minority Ethnic. This obviously highlights the African, instead of the diffused Black terminology. Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade or Trans-Atlantic Trafficking of Enslaved Africans? I argument that although there was some African complicity, it was never a trade. Hence, I opt for the use of Trans-Atlantic Trafficking of Enslaved Africans. Slavery Memorial Day, International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition, or International Day of African Resistance Against Enslavement? Since 1998, UNESCO has urged member states to mark August 23 as International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition, as a way of highlighting “the tragedy of the slave trade in the memory of all peoples”.

Many British heritage institutions mark the day either as Slavery Memorial Day and Slavery Remembrance Day. Whether ‘Remembrance’ or ‘Memorial’ is used, they both echo of what some call Wilberfarce – that’s the benevolent European saviours of the enslaved Africans. This belies the fact that the August 23 date actually speaks to Africans in Haiti in 1791 taking agency by fighting and defeating the European powers of France, Spain and Britain, and eventually founding the nearly thirteen years later the Haitian Republic. This is the only statehood to come out of an African-led rebellion in the Caribbean or the Americas. 2020 has a number of significant milestones within global African history, which also buttress the argument for the use of the African descriptor. This year marks the 80th anniversary of the death of one of the world’s greatest pan-Africanist icons – Marcus Garvey. He was once asked: ‘Are you an African or a Jamaican?’ He replied: ‘I will not give up a continent for an island.’ Whilst he is better known for founding the UNIA (Universal Negro Improvement Association), few people realise it was simultaneously founded in Jamaica in 1914 with a double barrel name. The other being ACL (African Communities League). It’s also the 120th anniversary of the Pan-African Conference. The body that organised this 1900 Conference in London was named the African Association, and was led mainly by African-Caribbean people. Another group of African-Caribbean people, including the likes of the British-born politician of Barbadian ancestry John Archer and the Trinidadian doctor John Alcindor, co-founded the African Progress Union in 1918. The organisation was meant to be “an Association of Africans from various parts of Africa, the West Indies, British Guiana, Honduras and America.” These were people who recognised that they were African, even though they were born in the diaspora. They actually made a reality what the historian Runoko Rashidi was to articulate several decades later: “We are African people. Get comfortable with it. And learn to love your African self.” I rest my case. Kwaku blogs on African identity issues on and is the editor of ‘Look How Far We’ve Come: The Race/Racism Primer’



MusicFootballFatherhood C H A N G I N G T H E P E R C E P T I O N O F B L A C K FAT H E R H O O D It’s New Year’s eve, the last day of 2019, and I’m writing my goals and aspirations for the year ahead. I had big plans for my organisation, MusicFootballFatherhood (MFF), to step up the work we do in our mission to create safe spaces for open conversations around fatherhood. I’m a young, married, professional Black father. And I don’t exist. Back in 2017, I wrote about my experiences of being a Black man and a new father in The Independent. This experience was often one of feeling invisible. It was one of feeling alienated at parent-baby groups, as other parents greet you with suspicion. Or medical professionals assuming you know nothing about your baby and aren’t worth engaging with at appointments. Or looking at the TV and failing to see a dad that looks like you and reflects the life you live.

The year before, I had started MFF to create the space for open conversations around fatherhood, but also to change the perception of what Black British fatherhood is. MFF has grown into a strong team of contributors from a range of backgrounds. It’s the UK’s most exciting parenting and lifestyle platform for men and the BBC even called us the “The dads’ version of Mumsnet.”! Supporting Dads through lockdown So when we as the MFF team were setting out our vision for 2020: little did we know that, just a few months into the year, the whole world would spin on its head.

Through COVID19 and Lockdown, where at one point most of the UK population were at home, our mission became even more important. As many Dads faced new challenges; of home schooling, juggling childcare and working from home, job insecurity, or for some, being away from their children for prolonged periods of time. Like many other Dads, I was dealing with some of these same challenges myself and it was tough going some days. What the Lockdown taught me was to appreciate things we can so easily take for granted; the green spaces near our house, the comfortable tracksuits (I haven’t worn a shirt in months!), our good health and the love in our home. I’m proud that MFF has been able to support the mental health of dads through this period. We have had important conversations with our MFF community and shared resources through our blog, podcast, online events and social media. Parenting through Black Lives Matter And just like COVID, none of us could have predicted the shift in the world following the murder of George Floyd. As a platform, we held discussions around parenting during this time, helping Dads around the world to process these events and think about what it all meant for the way we live our lives, bring up our children and how we use our voices and power for positive change in the world. Black History Month gives us

another opportunity to think about how we use our platform for good, while we also celebrate the richness of Black history across the world and particularly here in the UK. Throughout the month, we’ll be launching our #BlackBritishHeroes campaign where each day, one of our MFF Dads will be share a video on our socials and website highlighting a Black British figure who has had a big impact on who they are and the way they parent. I am still overwhelmed when I think about the huge impact MFF has had on Dads in the UK over the last few years. Last year, this was recognised by the United Nations and I was awarded their change maker of the year award for my work on gender equality. What a surreal experience. Why I am so proud to lead MusicFootballFatherhood I’m truly grateful for this recognition, and all the recognition MFF has had to date, and I want to use this opportunity to encourage you to manifest that idea you have. We can often underestimate our own power and the impact we can make on the world. Now is the time to make that idea a reality. MFF has already given me so many highlights I will always treasure, however the true gift in MFF is how we are able to create safe spaces for Dads to have open conversations around fatherhood. I’ve cried reading stories about miscarriage, widowhood, baby loss, mental health and relationship breakdowns. I’ve been encouraged by conversations around home schooling, creativity, fitness and shared parental leave. I’m proud to lead an innovative and compassionate organisation like MFF. The modern Father is a new breed. We are way more involved and present than ever before. But every Father is different. Whether you are a single parent, father of a blended family, a stay-at-home dad or a father of quadruplets, we are here to inspire, inform and support. Come and visit us, have a look at our #BlackBritishHeroes campaign and join the community at and @MFFonline_ on Twitter and Instagram. By Elliott Rae - Founder of MusicFootballFatherhood, Diversity and Inclusion expert and United Nation’s Changemaker of the Year

BLACK HISTORY MONTH A BEGINNING AND NOT AN END “This is the era of Black Lives Matter” What does October mean to you - clocks going back? The realisation that Winter is coming once again? Halloween? It is all those things and more, and that ‘more’ is Black History Month. 31 days for us to celebrate all that people of African and Caribbean descent have contributed to this country - and the world - from antiquity up to the present day. Put like that, it does not seem anywhere enough, does it? Because it is not. As Chair of BCOMS (the Black Collective of Media in Sport), we try to celebrate and elevate Black excellence in sports media all day, every day. Which is not always easy, as an unfunded, voluntary organisation. Through our masterclasses for young talent, opportunity sharing, network building and relationships with industry leaders, we aim to be a conduit between our communities and the UK sports media that knows it needs to diversify to survive and thrive in a new time. This is the era of Black Lives Matter, and a generation that feels rightly emboldened to demand a fairer, more equitable society for all people, and across all sectors. We hope our part of the UK puzzle - the sports media industry - keeps its word and strives to embrace the change that we all recognise is necessary. We will see a flood of activity this October, as we do every year. But Black History - and Black Lives - are not only about 31 days once every Autumn. We are important each day. And at BCOMS we will keep pushing that message, as we have done 24/7, 365 for the past 10 years. Happy Black History Month, Drew #BlackLivesMatter Drew Christie is a sports producer and journalist and Chair of the Black Collective of Media in Sport (BCOMS). To find out more about BCOMS please visit You can follow BCOMS on Instagram @wearebcoms and on Twitter @bcomstweet



Beyond F Black and Proud




or many 2020 was set to be a big year, there was something about entering a new decade which made you feel revitalised and looking forward to the new year. However, for many that was not the case. News of a virus outbreak flooded in and within months the UK went into Lockdown. For the first time the world came to a halt as the pandemic set in and with this shed light on a much sinister beast. Racial tension was higher than ever, and the tipping point came with the death of George Floyd. Early June while aimlessly scrolling on social media my feed became filled with the unsettling and disturbing videos of a Black man in the US being pinned to the ground and subsequently dying. I and millions around the globe were seeing police brutality in its undeniably rawest form. To many Black people this was nothing new, as horrible as it is, we have all seen this before, but there was something different this time. For this time people around the world were able to witness the injustice, to see a man laid out on the concrete road with the knee of a white police officer in his neck taking his last breath. We all watched the racist murder for the eight minutes and forty-six seconds it took. The outcry from the Black community was immense, “Black Lives Matter!”. Hashtags were all over social media and across the globe people took to the streets in solidarity to peacefully protest against police brutality, black injustice, and racial bias. Our non-black counterparts were forced to assess their own privilege and their role, whether friend or foe. This combination of racial injustice and the rise of Covid-19 further shone light on the health inequalities faced by Black and ethnic minorities. As the cases across the UK rose it became prevalent that Black and ethnic communities were at a disproportionately higher risk of contracting and dying from the virus. The reasons for this are numerous from inadequate health care, economic deprivation, underlying health issues to the high proportion of ethnic minorities working in our front-line services where there were higher risks of transmission. As a Black woman I had to reassess my own safety and like many others isolating and working from home became the new normal. I relied on the news and governmental measures to protect us and control the spread of the virus, but these were in fact exacting a heavier social and economic price on those already experiencing inequality. During this time racially aggravated crimes jumped, people were on edge and black and ethnic minorities were taking the brunt of it. There was a glimmer of light by the voluntary and community sector groups that rose up collectively to attend to those in need, but the deep-rooted discrimination in British society overshadowed that good

work. It is quite clear that the UK needs to do more to eliminate racial discrimination and because of Covid-19 it was more prevalent and exposed than ever before. Saturday 6th June 2020 - The day I took part in my first protest! I travelled to Parliament Square in London with my younger sister to protest the ongoing police brutality that continues to rock the black community. Unfortunately, another Black life was inhumanly taken from us at the hands of a US police officer. This story is not new to us, we have heard it many times before where an unarmed man, woman or child has been mistreated by law enforcement and it has ended up costing them their lives. For too long this has been the narrative. That day and days previous the world stood united in saying “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH”.

Standing side by side with my brothers, sisters, and allies, we made sure our voices were heard. We made sure that our presence was felt because for too long we have been denied a voice, for too long we have been losing our fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters at the hands of those who are supposed to be protecting us. As a Black woman one can only be reflective of my own life, especially when thoughts of Breonna Taylor come to mind. The story of a key worker who was shot dead in her sleep due to the mistaken identity of a male perpetrator. When these heinous crimes are committed there is no justice being served and that is not right. Racism is a disease that is unfortunately woven in the fabric of many institutions around the world and for decades we have been made to feel that this type of treatment is normal, that it should just be tolerated and that it will never change. What am I showing my younger sister and her peers? As we marched peacefully, I felt a great deal of responsibility to play my part and be a part of the change that is very much needed. It’s finally time to decide what side of history you want to be on!


DAVID LAMMY MP It’s been more than two years since I challenged Amber Rudd in the House of Commons over the Windrush Scandal. Confronting a government that couldn’t even tell us how many people had lost their jobs, kicked out of their homes, been denied medical care, detained or deported, I said it was a day of national shame. In truth, it was only the beginning.

It wasn’t until the following year when the Windrush Compensation Scheme was officially launched. Insufficient, delayed and overly complex, I made my grievances about the compensation scheme heard. At the same, time, however, I also want to emphasise just how important it is that you reach out to receive this compensation. To anybody who was affected by this scandal, please apply so that you can receive the financial compensation you are owed. The scheme is still online, and it will remain so until April 2023. Please get in contact with Citizens Advice, who can help you with the forms and offer support over the phone and in person. This service is available to people living in the UK, as well as to those who are overseas. The Windrush citizens can never be repaid. These are people who had been denied a lifetime of employment, housing, citizenship, wealth and opportunity. There is no financial settlement that will restore the dignity that your own government took from you. Those citizens who were detained, deported, made destitute, jobless, or homeless will never truly be repaid. There is no amount of money that will reverse years of pain from family separation. There is no reimbursement that will rectify state-sanctioned brutality. Seeking compensation is just the beginning of a long process of national self-reflection, repentance and justice, but I encourage you to take this first step. It’s the least you deserve.






“Black people were forced to revisit their reality, there were fall outs on social media, people breaking down in tears on corporate zoom calls and challenging their senior leaders in group emails”


he murder of George Floyd forced me into a place of reflection. The world around me was changing, Black people were starting to post about their personal experiences, as victims of racism. The world within me was changing too, but why? I was confused and angry, it was a strange feeling, that led me to feeling curious as to why I was feeling this way. Watching the latest video of a Black person being murdered by the Police was not the reason. This reality show has been aired on social media for years, different lead, same outcome. So, I am now partially desensitised to it. In the past I would share information about racial injustices, and attend Marches, but I (and my group) never felt heard. For example, I would attend the Reparations March from Brixton’s Black Cultural Archives to Parliament and there was no outcome. I would share information on the March, petitions etc on social media but there was little to no engagement. There was never a direct outcome, in a strange way, that kept me motivated. After the Police murdered George Floyd, everyone paid attention, engaged in conversation, and shared their experiences. George Floyd was the catalyst for people to share what this world is truly like. It became a time of forced reflection.



My experiences I believe that this feeling of confused anger, was 30 years of suppressed emotions coming to the surface. Suppressed emotions from primary and secondary racial experiences. Starting from the age of seven. My older brothers and I went to a local fun fair. That evening, one of my brothers was stabbed by the National Front and we had to run for our lives, the reason? Because we were Black! The next day I went to school as though nothing had had happened. I learned about my mortality at seven years of age. I learned that suppression was part of the process, to survive under oppression. I collected more experiences as the years went by, between the age of seven and fourteen, I had the Police brazenly telling me that they’re questioning me because I was Black, advised to avoid New Cross on select dates due to the National Front (NF) march. At the time, New Cross was a place that was like my second home, due to my first school, first football team and first community centre being there. When I was 14 years old, I had my first opportunity to pursue my dream as a Professional Footballer with Charlton Athletic FC, in

Eltham, an area I am supposed to avoid due to its racist history. Unfortunately, this was where the training ground was and two years after Stephen Lawrence was murdered for being Black! The opportunity was a dream! But, travelling to and from training was a nightmare! I did not speak to anyone about my experiences because I had already learned from a young age that, that is just the way it is. It was a childhood of “Ah well, I guess I’m going to have to suppress that too.” As time went by, I collected more experiences and so did those around me but that’s life, suck it up, suppress it and keep moving. Our experiences Black people were forced to revisit their reality, there were fall outs on social media, people breaking down in tears on corporate zoom calls and challenging their senior leaders in group emails. I used my experiences between seven and fourteen, to add context to what took place on social media, zoom calls and email chains. Years of suppressed emotion erupted! Mixed emotions from personal trauma and guilt from where people feel they could have done more. When speaking to friends and colleagues, they confirmed that we had the same experiences, with different content. What now? If you can relate to the above and want to positively change how you feel, how your family feels and change the culture at work. I recommend – • •

Therapy: Suppression can be a great temporary coping strategy, but never a good permanent one. Speaking to someone about your experiences helps you to unload the baggage you have been carrying. Facilitating therapeutic conversation: There is “The Talk”, within the Black community where they tell their children they must work harder than others and how they will be treated because they are Black. Some do it, some do not. It would be great to facilitate a space for young people to speak about how they feel, with regards to what they have been exposed to.

Kevin George is a Clinical Consultant, professionally trained in Person-Centred Therapy (Counselling). Specialising in group programmes, to develop emotional literacy. Twitter @_kevingeorge Instagram @iamkevingeorge

‘Boring days don't exist here’ John, technology graduate

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ooking back, I never made a conscious decision to become an ally to the BAME community (as no one was calling it back then!) Born in Ladbroke Grove (for those not in the know, it’s in the heart of the Notting Hill Carnival area) in the mid-60’s. Growing up in a community of some many different cultures, supporting your neighbourhood and those that lived in was a given. My parents, in line with so many, took it as part of their class conscience, a “simple act of solidarity” as we used to say back then. You didn’t need to have read intellectual texts or books or have gone to university to reflect to decide to be an Ally. We just knew that when our Black friends were being picked up indiscriminately under the Sus laws , or our friends were having their doors kicked in just because they had a different skin colour or were being murdered in police cells. It was wrong and I had a responsibility as a white man to say so! As I grew up through the 70’s and 80’s individuals and groups tried to reach into white communities to suggest that if the UK continued to embrace Diversity (as no one called it then) we would become a poorer country (spiritually and economically). The narrative of the age was that one of a loss of housing, jobs, identity etc which was meant to encourage us to reject this “invasion”. For my friends and I, however, it had the opposite effect - how could any harm come from the sounds of Bob Marley & Nina Simone, the urgent incisive poetry of Gil Scott-Heron, the stunning and sumptuous food and spices from India, Jamaica, Africa and the beautiful clothing and textiles from Africa, India and beyond. This was going to be our world of different and equal cultures and we were going to immerse ourselves in it. As we looked on through the uprisings in Notting Hill in 1976, the creation of the Anti-Nazi League in 1977, and the further uprisings in Liverpool, Bristol and Brixton in the early 1980’s. It was clear that our friends


By Paul Downer Civil Servant 36 years

A simple act of solidarity

“The issues of Race and Class have become sharply into focus during the current crisis” and families in the BAME communities needed those in the privileged white community to offer solidarity - not to lead or speak for them, but simply to stand next to & link arms. The current Covid crisis demonstrates clearly that we have so much more work to do. Starting work in 1984 at Willesden County Court (a corner of North West London) I have resolved to continue this work and hope. Over the past 35 years I have lived up to this personal credence working and supporting a full range of Diversity and Inclusion initiatives, learning and growing as I go. I will let others judge whether this is the case. It was at Willesden County court that I met Rob Neil, OBE and formed a life-long friendship that continues to this day and which has enabled me to grow and develop as an Ally. In 2001, Rob asked me to join the team which created the first staff BAME network within the Ministry of Justice called PROUD. This friendship has continued to flourish and over the past 10 months of this year, Rob and myself have developed and conducted a series of webinars and presentations which reflect

on our collective experiences and the impact that Race and Class has had and continues to have on our communities. The issues of Race and Class have become sharply into focus during the current crisis and we have called our series “Unfinished Business” for obvious reasons. So in conclusion , to those white readers who may not know how they become an Ally and what this may mean for them, I say that it can the simplest of acts, a bit like deciding not be removed from a Bus in 1950’s USA (“Thank you so much Rosa Parks!”). Listen to the community and act accordingly - you will not regret it, you have so much to learn, understand and grow. This column is dedicated to my eldest Brother who sadly died too early at the age of 59 in January of this year, and without whom I would not have my lasting love of Ska, Bluebeat, Reggae, Funk, Soul and Jazz. RIP. If you are interested in learning more about “Unfinished Business” please contact me or Rob on Twitter at either @paul_downer or @robye46

The NFTS is determined to use our position as a leading film and television school to effect meaningful, lasting and long overdue change within the industry.

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IN THE MIDST OF A PANDEMIC, ADOPTION IS FIRMLY IN THE HEARTS OF OUR COMMUNITIES Results from a recent survey show that black people have positive and altruistic views around adoption as a new campaign urges potential black adopters to come forward


s we enter Black History Month, we and the world instinctively reflect and celebrate the positive things within black communities. It is widely known in black communities that informal adoption is part and parcel of the fabric of our communities; we raise and nurture children that are not our biological children as if they were. Now new data from the cross sector National Adoption Recruitment Steering Group reflects this truth, showing that black communities have positive and altruistic views around adoption, with 80% stating that they have either adopted, considered or would consider adopting a child in the future. In addition to Black History Month, the data coincides with the launch of the first National Adoption Recruitment campaign, an initiative urging people who are considering adoption to take the next step. The drive comes as the survey reveals that whilst motivations regarding adoption are overwhelmingly positive amongst the black community, there are a number of barriers and misconceptions that deter people from taking the next step. This includes concerns around people feeling that their housing is not adequate (35%); finances not being in a good enough position (30%) and worries about their age (20%). At a time when national statistics reveal that black and mixed-heritage children are disproportionately represented in the care system, a factor that one in six respondents was aware of, the National Adoption Recruitment campaign is raising awareness that the key attribute for adopting a child is providing a loving, safe and stable home and that factors such as occupation, salary, the size of someone’s home, home ownership or age are not important. The data also revealed that there are a number of incorrect assumptions about the type of person who can adopt. Contrary to




we have seen the fulfilling challenge of adoption at work in several people, including close family, who have benefited from being adopted and some who have adopted. Every child deserves a loving home and I urge anyone who is considering adoption to come forward and take that next step to put a stop to our children waiting longer for an adoptive family.”

Sinitta, singer and mum of two, said: beliefs outlined in the survey, those for whom English is not their first language, single people and those who are not married can adopt. Bishop Joe Aldred, broadcaster and writer, said: “People think that if you’re in a low income job or on benefits, you cannot adopt, this is not the case. The National Adoption Recruitment campaign reminds people that not only is the adoption process quicker and simpler than it once was but that the chances are, if you’d like to adopt, it’s very likely you can. Over the years

“I would definitely encourage others to consider adoption. I always knew I wanted children and I tried everything from IVF to surrogacy to have them. All of those journeys led to heartbreak, except adoption. The feeling of finally becoming a mother was almost indescribable; it’s just everything. It was everything I wanted and more. I love my children more than anything and I always say that love is thicker than blood.”

Reflecting on her experience, adopter Fran says: “The best thing about adopting is knowing that you’ve made a constructive change to someone’s life and that they have done the same for you. My daughter has made my parents grandparents, my brother an uncle and my friends Godparents. I’m honoured to be her mum, she is such a blessing. To anyone in the black community considering adopting I would say absolutely go for it. There are children out there who need support and love and you can add so much value and make a difference to their lives. Your situation if you are single, married or older for example – won’t matter, if you can provide a loving and nurturing home, I’d say go for it.” Further information can be found at








and begin your journey towards growing your family

The truth about The Windrush Scheme and Windrush Compensation Scheme Some people from the Caribbean, or countries such as Ghana or Nigeria who settled lawfully in the UK before 1988 have the right to live and work here, but do not have the correct documents to show their legal status. As a result, they may have found it hard to demonstrate their right to work and access services in the UK, and lost out on things like jobs, housing and healthcare. This has become known as the ‘Windrush issue’ as many of those affected are people from the ‘Windrush generation’ and their families. The Windrush Help Team has been set up to help eligible people get the documents they need to demonstrate their right to live and work in the UK. They can also help people claim compensation. Here are some of the most common misconceptions associated with applying for the Windrush Scheme and the Windrush Compensation Scheme, as many people don’t realise they are eligible to apply for support or to seek compensation. You can only receive help if you are from the Caribbean. This isn’t true. If you have settled lawfully in the UK from ANY overseas country before the end of 1988 and have been affected by the Windrush issue, you should call the Windrush Help Team to confirm if you are eligible for support. You can only apply for support if you have the correct paperwork You can still apply even if you don’t have the correct paperwork. The UK Government recognises that those affected by the Windrush issue did not have documentation to prove their lawful status and so has set up the Windrush Scheme and the Windrush Compensation Scheme to help affected groups get the documents they need and compensate them for the impacts and losses they suffered. It can take years to receive support or compensation Getting help is quicker and easier than you think. The Windrush Help Team is a dedicated group of individuals, committed to guiding eligible people through the application process to secure the support they need



– be it acquiring the correct paperwork to prove their right to remain in the UK, or receiving compensation. If you call the Windrush Helpline your details will be passed on to Immigration Enforcement This is absolutely not true. The Windrush Help Team was set up to help those that have been affected by the Windrush issue. All active Windrush cases are dealt with sensitively by the Windrush Help Team. The information provided by callers to the Windrush Helpline is not shared with Immigration Enforcement. The process is expensive The helpline is free, and any applications made for support are free. You cannot apply if you have a criminal record The Windrush Help Team is focused on supporting people that were affected by the Windrush Issue. You may still be eligible to receive help if you have a criminal record. All claims for support have been put on hold due to the Covid-19 Pandemic The Windrush Help Team has continued to process applications during the pandemic and is working tirelessly to make a difference to the lives of those affected by the Windrush issue. You will be forced to accept the first offer of compensation If you are offered compensation and aren’t happy with the amount offered, you are entitled to have the offer reviewed by

another team in the Home Office. If you are still unhappy with the offer, you can have it reviewed by the independent Adjudicator. You cannot apply if you are based overseas You are still able to apply for support from the Windrush Help Team, but the process is slightly different. If you are applying from outside the UK, you must use the online application form. To learn if you can receive help from the Windrush Scheme and the Windrush Compensation Scheme, even if you are unsure of the documents you need, visit or call the FREE helpline 0800 678 1925 for assistance. Anything you tell the Windrush Help Team will be treated with sensitivity and won’t be passed on to Immigration Enforcement.

Here to support you and your family

Start here to see if we could help you confirm your legal status and claim compensation. Did you come to the UK before the end of 1988?


Yes Have you struggled to prove your legal status in the UK?

Have you suffered losses because you couldn’t confirm your legal status?


Here to support you and your family We’re here to help you apply for the Windrush schemes. Call the free helpline: 0800 678 1925 Visit:

Your information won’t be passed on to Immigration Enforcement.

By Prof. Geoff Thompson MBE FRSA DL Black History Month 2020 has been identified by many as the most important month in the 33 years of its inception that defines the social, cultural, economic, and political progress that Britain’s Black community has made.




With the on-going Windrush scandal and compensation shortcomings along with the statue controversy. The health inequalities, disproportionately high infection rates and mortality because of Covid-19. We have also seen the global and national impact following the killing of George Floyd on 25th May. This led to the Black Lives Matter momentum, especially in the lives of our young people and how they are able to overcome the mental, physical and emotional disaffection that can lead to lives being lost; when hope and opportunity are seemingly distant. The challenges we face are stark within the uncertainty in Britain and throughout the world. However, there is much that can be realised within the resilience, hard work and dedicated effort that has characterised the post war migrating Windrush generation and the intergenerational heritage, motivation and inspiration that can give confidence, trust and respect. Since May 25th, hundreds of discussions, debates, and dialogue have taken place as to how Black lives can matter in Britain. I have always found it a social and economic anomaly as to how a very small percentile of ethnic minorities with over 400 years presence in Britain cannot be imbedded into all levels of society. Despite many attempts by governments and failed policies and strategies. The institutional and systemic culture conspires either by intent or ignorance. I have reflected on my own humble beginnings that have seen me go from racial disaffection to multi medal winning success for Britain in my sport of karate and having served in public life for 30 years. I have taken a long hard look intergenerationally in the lives of my parents with my mother being the survivor of that post-war Windrush migration. Now as a father myself and a Black man who has soul searched and asked the difficult questions and had uncomfortable discussions that are still taking place. I ask, “What does the future hold for my children and the disaffected and disadvantaged young people that look

BY CATHERINE ROSS like me and the Diaspora as a whole?” I believe we have reached the societal tipping point. In 1999, the MacPherson Report was launched following the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993. Over two decades later, the recommendations have had little to no impact. The intergenerational Diaspora deserve to be celebrated and recognised during this month. However, we must remain relevant throughout the year within educational attainment, employment, and entrepreneurship. There must now be a national coalition of solidarity. Our leading lights in professional and public life need to reflect the historic changes that are taking place in the USA, Africa, and the UK with decisive leadership. This is our moment in time to make a real and lasting impact and difference in the lives of our young people as society is judged in how it treats its young and old. The Youth Charter has fought for young people for 27 years to be given an opportunity to develop in life through sport, arts, culture, and digital technology and has launched its “BLACK HISTORYwise” education programme. This is a year-round offer – not a month and can be embedded within mainstream cross curricular learning. This also responds to Baroness Doreen Lawrence’s tireless campaigning for Black history to be taught in every school. To ensure we give Black pupils and ALL pupils and society as a whole an insight and appreciation of the rights and responsibilities that we should be afforded in this green and pleasant land.

Geoff Thompson is Founder and Chair of the London based Youth Charter a United Nations accredited Non-Governmental Organisation. He is a Board Member of the London Legacy Development Corporation, Deputy Chair of the British Caribbean Association, an Advisory Board Member at the Muhammad Ali Centre in Louisville, USA and was Chair of the Board of Governors at the University of East London between 2017 - 2019.

The Black Farmer - A new range of sausages, packaged to inspire! Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones is a towering figure of a man, instantly recognisable by his trademark hat. He is a man who makes things happen. In the 2020 New Year’s Honours List, he received an MBE for services to British farming and is continuing to use his profile to promote British farming. He has a number of achievements to his credit. From running a rural scholarship scheme to give young people from inner city communities the opportunity to experience what it’s really like to live and work in the rural community; to The Hatchery, a collaborative incubator for ambitious food entrepreneurs, through which Emmanuel-Jones mentors, advises and supports young brands – including the Black-owned business Gym Kitchen. Above all, Emmanuel-Jones wants to encourage the use and enjoyment of rural spaces and flag up the importance of everyone having a physical stake in the country they call home – both in the built and natural environment, land and buildings. This Black History Month, EmmanuelJones is following up these social responsibility initiatives with another one, which will not only benefit the Black community, but everyone who buys the Black Farmer brand of sausages. He has used his influence to encourage major supermarkets like Sainsburys and The Co-operative to run special promotions – to raise awareness of Black History Month and show their support for changes in society that recognise Black Lives Matter. These promotions include bringing two new varieties of Jerk sausage into The Black Farmer range – jerk pork sausage and jerk chicken sausage – to help others experience a little more about Caribbean food culture. Not only will people be able to enjoy sausages made even more delicious by Caribbean flavourings and seasonings, they will also be able to discover more

about Black cultural icons thanks to the brand’s inspirational packaging for Black History Month. These icons include the British-Jamaican nurse, healer and businesswoman Mary Seacole, and Sergeant Lincoln Orville Lynch DFM, a Jamaican pilot who volunteered to serve with the RAF during World War Two. These icons of achievement and civic contribution have delivered and inspired generations, against all the odds they faced. Emmanuel-Jones’ aim is to keep them at the forefront of people’s minds and encourage others to follow in their footsteps, inspiring everyone to think about what they can do to improve the present and the tomorrows of us all. Profits from the sale of The Black Farmer products will be donated to the Black Cultural Archive based in Brixton, and the Mary Seacole Trust based in Richmond. Emmanuel-Jones is someone who thinks outside the box, and inspired by his Black History Month initiative, he hopes others will do the same. Mary Seacole certainly did. Her contribution to helping soldiers and the wounded during the Crimean War went beyond providing medical aid, the comfortable and compassionate medical quarters she created to nurse people back to health saw the space described as the “British Hotel”. How great was her thinking?! So, having enjoyed your sausages and been inspired by the stories on the packaging, please tell everyone about this exciting and innovative way of introducing AfricanCaribbean history into everyday life – when people are out shopping or at home cooking. Emmanuel-Jones acknowledges the great contribution of Black people to music and sport, but through his Black History Month campaign, he wants everyone to consider all the ways in which they can make their mark and leave a legacy. What will yours be?

Geoff is a former five times World Karate Champion with four honorary degrees to his name. He has been listed in the top 100 BAME leaders in the UK and the Evening Standard’s top 1000 influencers in London and was this year awarded an honorary professorship of the International Business School at Xi’an JiaotongLiverpool University, Suzhou, China.



THE RISE OF SYSTEMIC RACISM IN EUROPE “Reach Society believes that the 21st century will be known as the century when the evil of systemic racism ends”

he first quarter of this year saw the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus in China which spread to virtually every corner of the globe. While people were getting infected and sadly dying from the Covid-19 virus, the whole world witnessed the heartless killing of George Floyd, a Black man, by a group of policemen in Minneapolis, USA. It took almost 9 minutes for these uncaring officers to take the lifeof another unarmed African American. In the 1960s the African American author, James Baldwin, described America’s treatment of its Black citizens as “morally monstrous.” And in May 2020 the killing of George Floyd is further evidence that America is still a morally monstrous country. And this is just one more example of systemic racism at work.




In examining systemic racism in countries in the West it is important to be aware that it was launched in 1452. In that year Pope Nicholas 5th issued a Papal Bull that gave permission to Portugal to treat all people

they encountered in new lands, who were not Roman Catholic, as less than human, take their possessions and enslave them. This 1452 Papal Bull was an act of pure evil that gave permission to the first European nation to treat everyone whose faith was not Roman Catholic as property. As explorers from Spain vied with those from Portugal to discover new lands, the Popes who followed Nicholas 5th also gave permission to the Spanish to treat anyone they encountered who were non-Catholics or Christians as less than human, take their possessions and enslave them. These Papal Bulls were soon embedded into the laws of European countries such as Portugal, Spain, England, France, Belgium and Holland. Through these laws everyone who was not deemed to be a European

had limitations, restrictions and barriers put in their way in every country under the control of Europeans. This situation endured for hundreds of years. As we are aware, the UK passed a law to end the slave trade in 1807, and another law to end the enslavement of Black people in the British Empire in 1834. In addition the UK’s political control over most of its colonies in Africa and the Caribbean ended in the 1960s. And other European countries also released most of their former colonies. However, despite these laws the impact of the evil that was launched on non-Roman Catholics or non-Christians in 1452 by Pope Nicholas 5th still persists. People of African and Asian descent are still suffering from limitations, restrictions and barriers which are placed in their way to limit their progress and social mobility in every aspects of their lives. So why is this happening? It is our belief that Europeans have been encouraged to be morally monstrous to non-Europeans for so long, this behaviour has become second nature. It is our belief that laws without effective enforcement shall be ignored. Consequently, in 2020 we are seeing this behaviour in North and South American countries, in the UK, and in countries in continental Europe. It is our belief that systemic racism can end, but this will only occur when

there is effective enforcement of existing laws in order to send a clear and consistent message that being morally monstrous is no longer acceptable in our society. On 25 May 2020 the killing of George Floyd horrified virtually everyone who saw the video and it triggered protests by Black Lives Matter groups in the USA, the UK, and across the world; and they involved people of all ethnicities and ages. These protests were by the “alliance of conscience,” or fair minded people who want our society to change, who want society to move away from morally monstrous behaviour that has blighted the lives of citizens of African and Asian descent for too long. It is our belief that the BLM movement will harness this “alliance of conscience” and drive the required transformation. Reach Society believes that the 21st century will be known as the century when the evil of systemic racism (that was launched in 1452 by Pope Nicholas 5th) will be ended because the decent people, of all ethnicities, who have forged the “alliance of conscience” will no longer tolerate this morally monstrous behaviour. In addition, the modern Black community needs to teach its young people of the foregoing historical timeline of systemic racism. It needs to teach its young people that the familiar abuse and persecution of people of African and Asian origins by Europeans was launched as an act of evil by Pope Nicholas 5th, and which was acted upon for centuries by colonial nations from Europe. And despite the recent passing of laws against racial discrimination change in behaviour by employers, in institutions, and service providers is very slow because of poor enforcement by governments. Consequently, white individuals remain free to indulge their ingrained habit of discriminating and obstructing the development and progress of people of African or Asian descent. The modern Black community (or MBC)

needs to teach its young people that they are fully capable of developing their God given potential to do whatever they desire to live meaningful, happy and rewarding lives. They need to be taught from an early age to reject messages from anyone - white or Black, family member or stranger - who tells them that they are less than other people because of their skin colour or ethnicity. That notion has never been true, and it will never be true. Why? In the 21st century scientists have mapped the genetic code of human beings and have shown that people of all ethnicities have the same genetic make-up. Consequently, parents in the MBC need to invest in their young people from birth. They need to nurture and prepare them to live and succeed in our qualification society. That requires all parents and carers to encourage young children to fall in love with reading through bedtime stories; and fall in love with numbers by memorising their times tables. Parents need to speak with their children about things they have read and what happens in society as that will help them to learn how to think critically about a wide range of matters. And our young people need to regularly look things up on the Internet in order to increase their general knowledge. “What we do in life echoes in eternity.” This was said by general Maximus, in the film Gladiator, just before the Roman army attacked a local tribe in Germania. What Pope Nicholas 5th did in 1452 has echoed across the world for roughly 570 years. In the 21st century we have an opportunity to dissipate the echo of the evil released into the world (in the 15th century) by what we choose to say to our young people to inoculate them from the trauma of systemic racism, strengthen their resilience, and develop their potential to shape their future. In Reach Society we believe that the leaders in our modern Black community need to make this inoculation process our top priority; and in so doing we shall ensure that what we do will also “echo in eternity!”.

Dr Dwain Neil OBE, Reach Society, Chairman (September 2020) & Dr Donald Palmer, Reach Society, Networking Programme Director. BLACK HISTORY MONTH 2020



ver the last six months, as the world has struggled with a global pandemic and nations have battled the crippling effects on their economies, the US has also had to manage, the divisive and long-standing issue of race. This finally came to a head, and was pushed onto the world platform, by the tragic death of George Floyd. The initial shock and outcry quickly cumulated in a resurgence of a more prominent, and widely supported Black Lives Matter movement, and as the shockwaves reverberated around the world the effects were immediately felt in many cities in the UK. This came at a time when Covid-19 deaths in the UK were at a peak, and evidence was showing that it was disproportionately affecting ethnic minority groups. The Office of National Statistics (May 2020) reported that when taking into account age in the analysis, Black males were 4.2 times more likely to die from a COVID-19- related death and Black females were 4.3 times more likely than White ethnicity males and females. With these two major topics simultaneously hitting the forefront of the mainstream media, many individuals were made to face the uncomfortable, almost taboo issue of race, and they were forced unpick and examine the various inequalities experienced by black people in the fields of health, housing, employment, the judicial system and education. Consequently, many discussions centred



IS THIS THE IDEAL TIME FOR SCHOOLS TO EMBRACE A MORE INCLUSIVE CURRICULUM? B Y F O L A A W O FA D E J U > > > > > > > > > around racism and the ongoing controversial issue of stop and search, and people questioned the way in which various institutions in the UK treated the black community throughout the years. The toppling of the Edward Colston statue in Bristol further fuelled the debate and led many to focus on the impact and effects of Britain’s colonial past, and the way it is entwined in our daily experiences from statues on street corners, to names of buildings, etc. This particular awakening meant that for many, this was the first time that they queried the history of their local area, which in turn led to them questioning the way in which they were taught history as well as challenge the content of what they were taught, often acknowledging that the teaching of history at school failed to be broad, balanced or reflective. It is well established that Black Britons have a history spanning centuries, and in more recent times Black British history has reached many milestones i.e. 72 years since the Empire Windrush sailed to the UK and 52 years since

the enforcement of the 1968 Race Relations Act to name a few, so it is surprising and somewhat disappointing that the teaching of black history has not been embedded into the curriculum, as it is currently taught in a flexible manner and its coverage is very much dependent on the school. For example, in years 1 and year 2, children are taught to focus on the lives of significant people and schools are given a choice of many different figures to teach about i.e. Mary Seacole, Florence Nightingale, etc. From this example, it may be difficult say one should override the other or it may be argued that there definitely should be space for both, and it simply should not be dictated by the lack of age appropriate or suitable resources, all children should get a chance to learn about different historical periods and backgrounds. A range of cultural heritages should be adequately reflected in the curriculum. It is essential that a classroom environment should reflect the diversity of the real world,

the CLPE reports that 11,011 books were published for children in 2018, of which 743 books were found to have a BAME presence. BAME pupils make up 33.1% of the school population in England. This lack of diversity that exists in texts, characters and amongst writers ensures that there is a lack of representation of the black voices. With the latest school exclusions figures showing that black Caribbean pupils are at least twice as likely to be permanently excluded from school and at this current time, when young black children may have been exposed to the current discourse, where many struggle to see consistent positive representation in their external world, it is essential that some books in their school environment reflect their stories and they have the opportunity to

learn more about people that look like them who have been successful, who have worked hard and who have made an impact. Over the years, after witnessing such a variation in the teaching of black history within schools and acknowledging some of the practical issues i.e. the inability to find age appropriate varied materials, I decided to develop some books to assist with the teaching of black history in schools. World Figures – focuses on icons of the 20th century, who have made a long-lasting impact on the world. Maintaining the teaching of the ‘more established’ figures in black history i.e. Nelson Mandela, etc. has over the years of teaching garnered such interesting responses, as these figures are often barely familiar to primary aged children. Young people regardless of their background, are gripped by an inspirational story, and these stories cannot be forgotten. Since then, I have worked on Windrush Activities – Primary book. This book aims to celebrate and commemorate the lives of the Windrush Generation, as well as acknowledge their contributions to the UK. Currently, I’m working on the third title in the

series Black Britain and Beyond. This book mainly showcases our own stories and talent in the UK, as well as looks beyond, focusing on the Benin Empire. The process of researching and compiling these books has been extremely enlightening and enjoyable, as well as, at times sad, but regardless, it has instilled me with so much pride, the pride that I would love to see replicated in young people. In my opinion, it is important that schools embrace the wave of change and make the effort to ensure that their curriculum is more inclusive and that it reflects the real world.

We’re a museum without walls connecting Caribbean communities across the UK through heritage, art, music, performance and more. Take a look at our latest project inspired by the Windrush Generation We create compelling, original, innovative and unusual exhibitions and events dedicated to preserving, celebrating and sharing Caribbean history and culture in tangible and intangible ways. Support our work, champion Black culture and make sure the Caribbean contribution to life in the UK isn’t forgotten Donate to Museumand The National Caribbean Heritage Museum

We’d love to hear from you!


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09/09/2020 15:49

Interview with

MARK ELIE by Drew Kulow and Keri Seymour

Mark Elie, Artistic Director and Founder of the Mark Elie Dance Foundation and Portobello Dance School has successfully developed young talent in Notting Hill for a quarter of a century. Mark is one of the UK’s most successful classically trained professional dancers having enjoyed a stellar career with some of the world’s leading companies; Rambert Ballet, Lisbon’s Ballet Gulbenkian, and the legendary Dance Theatre of Harlem. Could you tell us a bit about yourself and how you ended up being a classical dancer? I was brought up in a Westminster children’s home in Paddington by a lovely lady named Helen Parry that I called Auntie Hele. And I was a really hyperactive child – growing up today I would have been diagnosed with some form of attention deficit disorder – but instead, I was diagnosed as a young drag queen! There was a weekly programme on Thursday nighst – Top of the Pops – and one of the featured groups was Pans People. And in the Pans People was one particular dancer called Babs, with long blonde hair…..and I used to stand in front of the tv and just basically imitate Babs. I’d put a jumper on my hair, flick it to the right, flip it to the left! At the time I had a wonderful social worker called Julia Grahame who just thought “right…I think maybe you should just send this young man to dance school”. So I auditioned for the Ballet Rambert and all I remember was meeting this incredibly glamourous elder lady, who was actually Rambert’s daughter Angela Ellis. I was in her living room, and she asked me to run run run and do a jeté (and of course I’d seen Nureyev), so I ran and I did a big jump, and the rest is history. Now, in ’79, when I was completing my training at Rambert, there were almost no working black classical dancers in the UK. Any black British dancer that showed promise went directly to the Dance Theater of Harlem in NY. Can you tell us a bit about your work and your school? In ’86, a good friend and mentor, Carol Straker – this amazing black British ballerina – she said “Mark, let’s start a company”. So with all the experience she had with her Russian ballet training, and my training with Rambert, the Dance Theater of Harlem and the West End, we started the Carol Straker Dance Foundation. We founded a school, we wanted to do it properly – we knew what the blueprint was. To cut a long story short, we were launched by the BBC but, sadly, due to a lack of support from the Arts Council, she had to close down the company.



I took everything I learned from that experience and I brought it to west London. I knew I had to contain it, condense it, so I kept everything small and tight. I got the Mark Elie Dance Foundation (which is a registered charity) and the Portobello Dance School going, and from the school I now produce three shows each year, including Classically British, which is my Black History Month show. What was happening, was I was running this Saturday dance school and I had all these talented children. And still there still wasn’t that black ballerina at the Royal Ballet, there was one black ballerina in the English National – Precious Adams, who came to visit the school during the creation of a ballet I was choreographing called Belle, inspired by the life of Dido Belle. We had a Q&A with the students from the school and Precious Adams, which was very much appreciated by all. So I wanted to find a place in the calendar for an event that would actually spotlight black British talent in the classical aesthetic as well as the contemporary. You see, we have been trained, here in the uk but not but not embraced. And I thought Black History Month would be a perfect fit. So we have a dress rehearsal in the afternoon for local schools and the public (which we supplement with an educational side touching on the historical accounts of past and present pioneers), and a performance in the evening.

The UK’s only museum dedicated to Caribbean history, heritage and culture celebrating the Caribbean contribution to the UK in tangible and intangible ways. Take a look at our latest project Support our work Donate to Museumand The National Caribbean Heritage Museum




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This year Classically British is being showcased virtually. Can you tell us what we can expect? This year we’re going to go global. With everything that is happening now with Black Lives Matter, this is – I think – a perfect platform to discuss inclusion and diversity and to be able to share that with a wider audience. I’m fortunate to be working with a really incredible Oscar and BAFTA-winning cameraman – Frank McGowan – and we’re bringing together some stunning artists who bring to the table gorgeously varied visions of dance. Our dancers – Pàje Campbell, Bela de Souza, Nathan Geering, Mukeni Nel, Sam Salter and Layton Williams – are producing pieces (classical, neoclassical and modern) that touch upon diversity, intimacy in isolation and the Black experience – celebrating passion in this challenging time. We will be launching globally on 16 October for anyone to be able to tap into through Eventbrite or my website ( For more information, feel free to contact me, Mark Elie - CEO and Artistic Director - 079 4748 4021.

09/09/2020 15:46

Be supported Do you want to be part of a progressive and diverse organisational community?

If yes, then find out more about the University of Gloucestershire and our job opportunities. We offer a supportive and encouraging environment to help you achieve your full potential and feel a sense of belonging.

Find out more: BLACK HISTORY MONTH 2020


I was elected as National Chairman of the POA in August 2002 and served in that position until May 2011. I am to date the only BAME member ever to be elected to lead the POA, and within the wider criminal justice system of trade unions and staff associations.

The Professional Trades Union for Prison, Correctional and Secure Psychiatric Workers (POA) is the largest UK union in penal establishments, representing uniformed prison staff and those working in secure psychiatric care. However, it has not always been viewed by many in the labour movement as a “proper” trade union, more as a staff association. The POA is a union that has come under attack and been undermined by far-right groups that have infiltrated its membership. I joined the Prison Service in 1986, at a time when the right-wing views of many staff went unchallenged by management. There were those who openly flaunted National Front badges and voiced support for racist views. As a man of colour entering this world, I was welcomed by the majority of staff but there was a hardcore element that viewed me with suspicion and racist bigotry. In the 1980s there were not many BAME staff and in the majority of prisons there were none. Senior management was a sea of white faces. At the same time the prison population was growing, and this was highlighted by more and more Black and Asian men and women receiving custodial sentences. In the 1980s through to the 1990s the POA had no BAME members on its national executive. Prisons have always been able to foster extreme views among inmates, whether it be the National Front, British National Party, or other neo-Nazi groups. These groups can flourish inside prisons if they are not strongly challenged by senior management. Prison officers should be the guardians of both the security and safety of those put in their charge. For them to hold extreme right-wing views is a massive danger to the stability of our prisons. The POA in the early 1990s challenged racist views and behaviour in HM Prison Service. In 1993 the union expelled from its membership a leading neo-Nazi who had been allowed by senior management to promote his extreme views. In response the POA leadership came under attack by certain elements of the membership and the union’s executive determined it would set up a race relations advisory committee made up of BAME members of staff. In 1996 I was elected to the national executive committee of the union - the first BAME member to be elected to such a post.



The march of the far-right in the penal system By Colin Moses, former national Chairman and an honorary life member of the POA Through the late 1990s we saw a series of deaths in custody of Black inmates while they were restrained by staff and this led to a total overhaul of restraining hazards. The next ground-breaking moment came with the publication of the Macpherson Report, published in 1999 following the public inquiry into the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence. The report found there was institutional racism in the Metropolitan Police Service, and this sent shock waves through the prison service’s senior management. Many of the professional issues and competencies in the report on the Metropolitan Police could be mirrored in the prison service. In 2006 there was another momentous public inquiry, this time focused on prisons. The focus of the inquiry was the racist murder of Zahid Mubarek. He was an Asian teenage inmate at HMP Feltham Young Offenders Institution in West London, who was killed by his racist cellmate Robert Stewart. The published report highlighted the danger posed by far-right extremists such as Stewart. Today our prisons are breeding grounds for extremists: while the media will often highlight Muslim extremists, the spotlight should also be turned towards far-right recruitment. The Lammy Review, chaired by MP, David Lammy, focused on the criminal justice system and called for a series of reforms after finding overt discrimination and bias against BAME people in the system. The report highlighted the disproportionate numbers by stating: “Despite making up just 14% of the population, BAME men and women make up 25% of prisoners.”

As of January 2020, employment statistics for the prison service show that 93.1% of prison officers in England and Wales are white, 6.9% are Asian, Black and Mixed Race, and from 2015 to 2019 BAME staff in the service increased from 2.3% to 3.1%. No one can accurately say how many prison staff belong to far-right groups. What can be identified, with the arrival and growth of social media, is that more and more are expressing hard-right views on different platforms. The current POA general secretary, Steve Gillan, and the present national chairman, Mark Fairhurst, have given their support to Black Lives Matter. However, their statements have been greeted by personal attacks on social media by those who claim to be members of the POA or former members. The battle against the far-right in our penal system goes on and must be won.


Are You Numb Yet?, is a short film, written, choreographed and directed by Anthony and Kel Matsena of Matsena Performance Theatre. The drama, beautifully filmed by Alex Hermon, is set in a post pandemic world where ‘Dre’, a young black man, feels he has been left behind and everyone else in the world around him seems to have moved on. Set in the aftermath of the Black Lives Matter movement and the Covid-19 pandemic, This story is told through a potent mix of poetry, dance, theatre, and music. Full of suppressed anger and fear, we watch Dre as he implodes from the traumatic effects of dealing with two pandemics. Are You Numb Yet? is the beginning of a journey that follows a young man on a quest to find hope through his trauma. To watch Are You Numb Yet? check out the Matsena Performance Theatre - MPT page on YouTube.

“Fevered and haunting work” THE NEW YORK TIMES

“powerful, relevant and raw” THE SCOTSMAN

“A strong, confident short film” THE GUARDIAN

“Packs a mighty punch” BRITISH THEATRE GUIDE

@MatsenaPerformanceTheatre @matsenaperformancetheatre @MatsenaPTheatre

We are Anthony and Kel Matsena, the Co-Artistic Directors of Matsena Performance Theatre.

We are Zimbabwean born and Welsh raised brothers who were very early on inspired by our oldest brother Arnold Matsena to enter the world of creativity and performance. Through our experience of being brought up in an Afrocentric house and having Eurocentric schooling, we have built a love and curiosity for telling stories that express themes of culture, race, change and belonging. We trained at prestigious schools: London Contemporary Dance School and Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, which then led to us developing a passion to drive narratives using a wide range of performance disciplines. Our dream as creatives is to continue to encourage people to have conversations about the difficulties we face in our society. We have co-produced and co-created with Matsena Performance Theatre (MPT) for the last 3 years for Sadler’s Wells, Jasmin Vardimon, The Bunker Theatre (Play House), National Dance Company Wales (NDCW), Messums (Fine Arts) and many more. We are currently planning a tour of our most recent work ‘The Geometry of Fear’ which premiered at the Messums Wiltshire last September. We’re in the early stages of organising the tour to be taken around England and Wales in 2021. We’re also investigating how we can continue to improve the art of digital storytelling as well as how we can use non-conventional performance spaces to connect with a more diverse audience of theatre-goers. This year has been extremely difficult for the arts industry, which has brought about the quick realisation that we need to reimagine performance and break out from the traditional proscenium arch.



PROUD SPONSOR BLACK HISTORY MONTH 2020 BECUASE RACE EQUALITY MATTERS Our Partners are organisations and companies who are actively seeking to recruit from minority groups; regardless of race, gender, ethnic origin, disability or sexual orientation.


Love without Borders By Wali Rahman

“be brave enough to fight against the cultural barriers that exist between communities when it comes to love and marriage” Recent events around the Black Lives Matter movement have highlighted racism in wider society. They have also shed light on anti-Black attitudes within some minority ethnic communities, including the Asian community, presenting an opportunity for introspection, and raising awareness. Wali, who is British with Indian heritage and Mariama, who is British with mixed Gambian and English heritage, have faced racism individually throughout their lives but also collectively in their quest for acceptance as a mixed Asian and Black couple, which is still quite rare despite an increase in mixed race relationships. The couple who both grew up in Wiltshire met towards the end of their school days and have been happily married for 14 years, with two children. Despite both being Muslim, it is still hard for many Asian families to accept ethnic and cultural differences when it comes to marriage and therefore Wali had to work hard to gain the blessing of his family and at one point faced the possibility of being cut off from them as a result. However, Wali’s (now late) father, a firm believer of the racial equality taught by Islam, supported his son’s decision, and convinced the rest of the family to accept the marriage.

For Mariama recent events have also re-opened some wounds from childhood and the challenges she faced being born and raised in rural Wiltshire as one of the only mixed-race children in her village and school. The recent events have forced her to confront the trauma she faced growing up as she recalls being taunted at primary school on a regular basis and endured years of bullying and name-calling. Mariama remembers being always singled out and feeling inferior due to her skin colour, threatened with violence, and being called the N-word frequently. This was once sprayed across her family’s fence. Sadly, the children and the parents in her neighbourhood were at times no different in the way they treated her. Mariama remembers that her late father also suffered racism throughout his life in the UK, after arriving from Gambia in the 1970’s as an engineering apprentice with Cable and Wireless. Fast forward a few years and after years of working for a company in Wiltshire, he felt he was held back from progression due to racism. He was subjected to racist “jokes” and comments while being overworked up until his death in 1998 from a heart attack. Mariama believes this was a direct result of what he had suffered for all those years. Mariama feels that despite being born in the UK to a white mother, she will always be considered inferior due to being Black. She felt she was a victim to a double disadvantage as a visible Muslim woman, after she

made the conscious decision to wear a headscarf at the height of post 9/11 Islamophobia in 2003. However, despite the challenges Wali and Mariama have faced and continue to face as a couple and as individuals in society and in the workplace, they believe they are stronger and more resilient as a result. They also hope that more people from backgrounds and situations like theirs will be brave enough to fight against the cultural barriers that exist between their communities when it comes to love and marriage. Today, Mariama is a successful interior designer whose innovative service was one of the first of its kind in the UK ( She was recently featured in the Times Sunday Supplement as part of a feature on the best online interior design services. She is passionate about making quality interior design services accessible to all groups and communities. Mariama has a classic decorating style, emphasising colours and style. Wali is an Organisational Development Officer at Wiltshire Council and a Diversity and Inclusion professional delivering consultancy services and training on Unconscious Bias and Equality and Diversity. Connect with Wali on LinkedIn ( walirahman/).



Margaret and Simon Thomas arrived on British soil in the year 1958 with me and my two sisters Arlene and Glynnis in tow.

I was already on the way and with money saved, my parents rented some basic accommodation in North London. Consequently, I was born under the sound of the Bow Bells making me a true cockney. Their plan was to live off my mother’s salary as a teacher whilst my father was planning to train in accountancy. Prior to this he had been working as a social worker in South Africa. Unfortunately, my mother’s qualifications were not recognised by the UK authorities, so she was unable to work as a teacher and she spent her time caring for her 3 children under 4 years of age. It couldn’t have been easy. My father has always been very sharp and ambitious and with mother’s drive and intellect they made a dynamic young mixed-race couple. As well as being of African origin we also have some Scottish and German in us. I guess this explains why we all have fire in our belly and when push comes to shove, we will stand up for what we feel is right.

My dear parents Not long after our stay in North London my parents found more suitable accommodation in Bickley and then went about finding a small terraced house to buy. Finances were extremely tight, but my parents were very resourceful.

My parents were ambitious for us and

instead of sending us to the local State school they sent us to a Church of England school called St George where education was of a higher standard. We all played two instruments each. I chose the violin and the piano and we all played in the school orchestra. I was also in a quartet and sang in the school choir and of course in St George’s church on Sundays. We all enjoyed every aspect of music, but singing especially. My Dad had an old Ferguson reel to reel recorder, and we loved making recordings as well and showing them to any and everyone who visited our home. My youngest sister Michelle arrived 9 years after me and we all really enjoyed having her to look after. She was truly treated like a living doll. We dressed her up in all fancy clothes, outfits that my parents could not afford for us when we were younger. She was really loved. By the time I went to secondary school I had found my niche in Gymnastics and former Olympic Champion Margaret Bell became my coach. I became part of the elite team,


so we entered national competitions and I was chosen to train in the Czech Republic with another elite gymnast, Carole Gould. As a young teenager I found a penchant for dressing up and really got into punk clothing at the very beginning of its existence, before it went mainstream. I was briefly one of the original members of Siouxsie and The Banshees, playing electric Violin, but I never felt entirely comfortable as it was so far removed from the classical music I had played from the age of 5. I went on to sing in a Jazz Funk band which was much more my style and my taste, and I donned the newer romantic style of clothing. Bowie was a huge influence on me and still is to this day. I went on to play in many other bands and we supported Ashford and Simpson at The Dominion Theatre as well as playing regularly at The Embassy Club in London. When I was 17, my father got a contract with the University of Botswana. I was very independently minded and decided to stay in London with my two older sisters.

I later travelled a lot and lived in Spain for several years, which was where my son Jay was born. When he was 3 years old, I returned to England. I knew I would be able to get him a better education here and he was bright and took to the move like a duck to water. As I knew South East London very well, this is where we made our new home and I eventually married my childhood sweetheart James Plummer. We both had one child from previous relationships and his daughter was 1 year older than Jay. As they are also mixed-race people assumed they were brother and sister and as we became a family when they were young was indeed a blessing in creating the family unit. I went on to study music while Jay was in school and then once he was in secondary school starting working as a supporting artist and because of my musical skills got to feature in The Bill as a police woman singing at The Chief Of Police’s memorial service. This led to more featured work and then getting an acting agent, Longrun Artistes. Work is so varied, and this made it very exciting. Over the years I have worked on EastEnders, Holby City, Silent Witness, Love Actually, Batman, Harry Potter to name a few. I have been filmed for many commercials. The scariest thing I have experienced is being on a shoot for

the underwear brand Sloggi, where I was lead gospel singer and we were skating a choreographed routine on ice. It was shot in Ukraine and it was a truly amazing experience and I am so grateful I did not break my legs. I am just starting work on a new TV drama called Bloods playing a nurse. Sadly, James was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis around 20 years ago. He is unable Simone and her son, Jay

to walk unaided and uses a wheelchair. Prior to Multiple Sclerosis he had been a very successful businessman. I have written a health food book called Uberdacious, Eat Yourself Healthy which is available on Amazon. I am really into health foods and have eaten a mainly plant based diet for almost 40 years now. My parents are also mainly vegan and my Dad who is 93 looks at least 15 years younger and can still beat us all at Scrabble! I think that many more people are aware of a need to eat good quality and nourishing food and I wrote the book to share some of recipes that do just that. I enjoy and know the benefits of keeping fit especially in the precarious health world health situation. I have included a number of exercise tips in the book, and have to confess to Yoga being my favourite. My son and I were lucky to take a holiday in Cape Town with my parents just before Lockdown this year. We see them on Skype every week and are glad that they are doing well and can see other relatives every weekend. Everyone’s wish, no matter what religion or race is for this virus to go away so that we can hopefully return to a more normal lifestyle once again.

From the first public sculptures of Black Britons to the home of Britain’s first West Indian newspaper, help us celebrate the Black histories of 31 places in England in October #BlackHistoryMonth



“How will Sport respond after Black History Month 2020?” On both sides of the Atlantic, Sport stepped up to vocalise the Black Lives Matter message. Now we wait to discover who was really listening In years to come, how will we look back upon the UK’s Black History Month in 2020? Will the year itself be seen as era-defining, one that saw real change politically and socially? Or will it be seen as ‘a moment’ when hopes were raised, only for the status quo to continue, an opportunity missed? Never before has Black History Month, observed here in October, arrived at a time when the issue of Race has been so prominent in the national discourse. In the US, the Police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May sparked worldwide protests and a debate, not just on police brutality, but also the systems and structures which lead to racial inequality in society. These discussions have taken place in politics, the workplace, in popular culture, and perhaps most prominently, in the world of Sport. As the video went viral of Floyd pleading for his life - a police officer’s knee pressing on his neck - the world of sport led the way in expressing collective outrage. From Lewis Hamilton’s raised fist on the podium at the Styrian Grand Prix to Premier League footballers taking a knee, some of the most powerful and emotional images were made in the sports arena - and some of the most impassioned pleas too. “All we want is for Black Lives to Matter now. It’s as simple as that.” When Sky Sports commentator and former West Indies fast bowler Michael Holding spoke these words ahead of the first Test match of the summer in Southampton, he summed up the very basic request being made across the globe. But even as he and England’s first Black female cricketer Ebony Rainford-Brent told of their experiences of racism in a video viewed by millions on social media, there were responses that showed just why it was necessary to vocalise something that seems so obvious. Twitter was awash with questions from viewers wondering why they were being preached to. One memorable tweet summed it up: “Is this a sports channel or a political channel?”



In a move instigated by a disapproving Burnley fan, a plane with a banner reading ‘All Lives Matter’ was flown over the Etihad Stadium when Burnley played at Manchester City during Project Restart. A reminder of why we kneel, why we protest, why we need to keep saying ‘Black Lives Matter’. But in the main, the response in the sporting industry was positive. In the USA, the National Football League (NFL), previously so opposed to San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s initial protests against injustice back in 2016, now admitted it had got it wrong and vowed to do better, including pledging $250 million over 10 years to causes combating systemic racism. In Basketball, both the men’s and women’s game were at the forefront; the sport’s biggest star LeBron James one of the most prominent voices demanding action. Major League Soccer staged a powerful, united demonstration, a mix of players taking the knee and raising the gloved fist in a throwback to Tommie Smith and John Carlos’s iconic protest at the 1968 Olympics. Over here in the Premier League, not only did the players kneel, they did so with the public backing of their teams and their governing body, with ‘Black Lives Matter’ on their shirts. Rugby Union launched its first-ever dedicated anti-racism campaign. And more important than the gestures, welcome as they are, a whole host of voices felt empowered to speak out and express themselves - not just as black sportsmen and women, but more simply as Black PEOPLE. England Rugby player Maro Itoje, after attending a Black Lives Matter protest, spoke of his desire to educate people and change perceptions, and called on politicians not to ignore the calls for change. Footballer Raheem Sterling said: “It’s been going on for hundreds of years and people are tired, and people are ready for change”.




Equally important is the fact that white people began to ponder their role. When the ‘All Lives Matter’ banner was flown over the Etihad, Burnley captain Ben Mee was quick to condemn. “These people need to come into the 21st century and educate themselves,” he said. And education became a watch word. “I’m trying my best to learn and understand about the Black Lives Matter movement and systemic racism, and sport is not free from that,” said Sir Andy Murray, after he and fellow tennis players took a knee ahead of the Battle of the Brits at Roehampton. Ben Stokes, captaining England against the West Indies, also acknowledged he had a part to play. “We have a great chance to send a powerful message and educate people more on the matter,” he said. Such an encouraging reaction. So why do I ask the question, of how will Black History Months of the future view 2020? It’s because what comes next is key. As British 100m sprint champion Imani-Lara Lansiquot asked in an emotional social media post, what happens “when the hashtags and blackouts have fizzled out?” Already there are concerns in some quarters that, as we’ve seen before, the good intentions fall away after the initial show of solidarity. The words ‘Black Lives Matter’ that replaced player names on Premier League shirts following the Covid-19 enforced break soon became patches on the sleeve. Those patches have now been replaced with one that reads “No Room for Racism”, the Premier League’s own anti-discrimination campaign. Elsewhere, the England and Wales Cricket Board drew criticism from Holding when it was decided both sets of players would not kneel ahead of the One Day Internationals against Australia as they had done in earlier matches against West Indies, and Ireland.


Meanwhile in the States, as another video emerged of a black man, Jacob Blake, being shot seven times in the back by a police officer, so it became clear that all the protests, the kneeling, the raised fists in solidarity could only go so far in terms of changing attitudes and behaviours. The sound of booing from the crowd as the players of the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans linked arms in a show of unity as they kicked off the new season showed just how much education is still needed. Kaepernick, instigator of those initial protests four years ago, cast doubt over the NFL’s commitment to change, accusing them of “propaganda about how they care about black life”. So now it’s up to sport to deliver, to show the slogans and campaigns aren’t just propaganda. Will this be the catalyst that means we see the numbers of Black players on the football pitch reflected in management and in the boardroom? Will we see greater diversity in the F1 pit lane? Will, after Rainford-Brent tearfully told of her years in the game, Black cricketers feel confident they can walk into a dressing room without feeling isolated and bothered? That will be the measure by which we judge the impact of 2020. Change won’t come with a few months of visible protest. Hamilton meant just that when he said: “for me this is going to be a lifelong thing.” At Sky Sports we strive to do more, to say more. We are against racism and racial injustice in all forms

Black History Month Magazine would like to thank Dev Trehan - a true hidden figure at Sky Sports News, who we have known for around three years now. He facilitated the articles by Shaun Gayle and Roger Clarke and gave up so much of his own time to deliver this content for our readers.



“MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU” An interview with Dr Leroy Logan MBE by Rob Neil OBE

I first met Leroy back in 1995 when, together with our respective spouses, we bumped into each other during a baptismal service at a church in central London. Encouraged by our mutual love of film, jazz, and football [even if Leroy is an avid fan of Arsenal, whist my loyalties rest in West London with QPR] our spirits have remained married ever since. Leroy Logan was born in the late 1950’s to Jamaican parents. The family settled in North London and Leroy attended Ashmount Primary School in Highgate and Highbury Grove. Leroy went on to study Applied Biology at the University of East London [UEL]. After an initial job in medical research at the Royal Free Hospital, Leroy determined to persue a career in the Police Force. After a conducting a wide range of operational and strategic roles including Deputy Borough Commander in Hackney and Policing at the 2012 London Olympics. In 2000 Leroy was awarded an MBE for his work in advancing policing. Leroy retired from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) as a Superintendent in 2013 after a 30-year career. Leroy was a founder member and former Chair of both the Metropolitan and the National Black Police Association (BPA), which saw him give evidence at the Macpherson Inquiry as a member of the Stephen Lawrence Steering Group. As Leroy settles into his grand chair, I assure him that my questions will not be anywhere near as tough as some of the interrogation he had to mete out during his three decades as an officer.



Rob Neil [RN]: What was your dream job growing up? Leroy Logan [LL]: Scientist. After my degree, I worked in medicine at the Royal Free and developed a desire to be at the cutting edge of research through pioneering clinical trials which would serve public health. RN: Which living person do you most admire? LL: Bishop Rose Hudson-Wilkins who became the first Black female bishop in 2019 and continues to dedicate her working life to community cohesion. Rose and I worked together in Hackney when I was the Deputy Borough Commander and she was a prominent faith leader. RN: What superpower would you like to have? LL: Spiritual x-ray vision aka discernment. I would like to be able to look into people’s hearts and sort the wheat from the chaff, like a form of Ethical Leadership. RN: Who is your dream dinner party guest? LL: The Obama’s, so long as they picked up the bill. RN: What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? LL: My busy-ness. Especially that which emanates from my weapon of mass distraction…., the mobile phone. I use mine for, reading, entertaining, socializing, etc etc. It really is taking over my life. RN: What is the trait you most deplore in others? LL: Disrespect. Ultimately, we have more in common than we are unalike. RN: What’s your most embarrassing moment? LL: I can remember at the age of 13 after admiring a girl from afar for a few weeks before plucking up enough courage to approach her, only to be dissed on the spot. Since entering the workplace and after spending 30 years in the Met Police, it teaches you not to feel embarrassment, it is considered a weakness on the job. RN: What is your greatest extravagance? LL: Since stepping into the Lockdown I have purchased a Brompton [folding] bike. With a new and real flexibility in my mode of transportation – which helps maintain my fitness levels – I know move about London in what feels like a quintessentially English way. RN: What objects do you always carry with you? LL: Yep, that weapon of mass distraction [as above] which also offers my access to my; bible, books, and bargains. RN: What is your favourite word/phrase? LL: ‘Your worst nightmare could be your breakthrough’ – which happens be the first line of my book ‘Closing Ranks’, published last month. RN: What do you consider the most overrated virtue? LL: Feigning acceptance. Specifically, pretending to like others and or welcome difference. RN: What single thing would improve the quality of your life? LL : Whilst busy-ness has its place, as a Grandfather and ageing husband I would like to be less busy and free from standby mode, so that I could spend more time with my wife and ever expanding family.

RN: What are you reading/listening to at the moment? LL: My book ‘Closing Ranks’. I am proofreading a final manuscript and by the time this interview hits the page, my biography will have been published. RN: What is your favourite movie? LL: The Matrix. The parallels with the Holy Bible, specifically Romans 12: 2 “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of GOD.‘ RN: Can you list five songs/tracks you listen to regularly? LL: Police and Thieves by Junior Mervin, Redemption Song by Bob Marley, Any Love by Kirk Whalum. A current favourite is an old classic, Could Heaven ever be like this by Idris Muhammad. RN: How would you like to be remembered? LL: The guy who tried to make a positive difference. RN: What is the most important lesson life has taught you? LL: Change is constant, and you cannot sit in one mind set or approach. Renewal, adaptation, and diversity of approach in what is an ever-changing world are key.

CLOSING RANKS: MY LIFE AS A COP In his new book, Closing Ranks, Leroy recounts his time in the force and the overt racism and hostility he faced even as he ascended the ranks. A labour of love which has been 10 years in the making, Leroy honestly shares his story of faith and duty. This strong sense of faith ensured he followed his heart to pursue justice for all in his illustrious career. Leroy is a committed advocate for good relationships between the police and Britain’s minority ethnic communities. This selfless work includes being a mentor to young people and an advisor on knife crime. CLOSING RANKS: MY LIFE AS A COP was published on 17 September by SPCK Publishing and is available on Amazon and Waterstones bookshops.



My personal reflection on the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement during Lockdown BY IJE AMAECHI 2020 “Race doesn’t really exist for you because it has never been a barrier. Black folks don’t have that choice.” Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah


hen I think back to the strange world of Lockdown we all suddenly found ourselves in, the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement is at the forefront of my mind. It is like the world was forced to quieten down and Black people could finally have their voices heard. People all over the internet were having discussions - actual conversations about what we had all seen. It felt like so many White people had suddenly opened their eyes. They could no longer be blind to police brutality in the USA and were prompted to question how racism affects people in the UK too, with some only just realising that the UK is not as tolerant as they once thought. Growing up as a mixed-race girl, I always questioned what it meant to be mixed-race, always asking myself questions like ‘how do I fit in?’, ‘how do people see me?’ and ‘how do I see myself?”. I remember asking my mum (who is White English) why I could not call myself White, but I could be Black. My child self could not comprehend why I could not be in the middle or be both.

As you grow up in a society like ours, you very quickly learn that you cannot be both. You cannot be White, especially with 4a textured Afro hair standing out in a room full of mostly White children, and you often feel like you do not fit into being “Black” either. The BLM protests being broadcast on mainstream news channels encouraged White people to start talking about race and privilege. This gave me hope and a newfound courage to speak up when I felt uncomfortable, or to at least gather my thoughts and let people know afterwards. I attended two BLM protests, one in London and one in Watford, and found the experience incredibly powerful. Seeing such a diverse mix of people at both felt like a change for good. White people were starting to see racism as a problem for them to fix, an issue that affects everyone. But how do we go from feeling comfortable having these conversations with our Black friends and allies, to feeling strong enough to be able to say “no, you can’t touch my hair” to an ignorant or racist non-Black person? How do we ask our bosses “when are we going to talk about underrepresentation in our organisation?” How do we gain a sense of self whilst always being othered? How do we muster up the energy to have that conversation at a New Year’s Eve party when

someone says “is that your real hair? I just want to scrunch it!” or when someone asks you, the only Black person at the party, if you’re “doing the catering” (real ‘Get Out’ moment!). Whose responsibility is it if there are no allies around? These are just a few of the questions I have been asking myself during Lockdown. Instagram infographics were flashing up every time I unlocked my phone, stuff we had all been saying for years, finally in the mainstream, finally being read by real life White people! Real life White people who I had heard be racist before, in real life! Those same people sharing catchy slogans about race, sharing a heartfelt Black square on their timeline! I felt like I was in a pot, being stirred around in a sticky mixture of anger, exhaustion, sadness but also hope and motivation. Do not get me wrong, I think it is great that individuals are looking inwards, and workplaces are starting to question their equality, diversity, and representation, and acknowledging that they can be more inclusive. But how many companies are taking the next steps? Who is not only looking at their management teams, but actively changing them and the way they work? Who has set up regular meetings to tackle these issues head-on? For the few who care enough to actively make steps towards being anti-racist and

creating an anti-racist environment in their workplace, this will be a long journey and mistakes will be made. However, it is better to start driving on a long road than to say, “we should take a road trip one day”. For us as Black people, this is not a fun campaign that we can opt in or out of, these are our lives. Our brothers, sisters, ancestors, and descendants’ lives. Many of us do not feel we have the choice to sit back - and if we do sit back, we are still affected in ways which are difficult to even begin to explain. I have been making a conscious effort to not just internally scream and murmur “here we go again” at the microaggressions I experience and the things that are said carelessly by non-Black people. It is really hard and sometimes you are left shocked and speechless, especially being a young woman, when people already belittle you or seem unable to take you seriously. Despite this, I have found that stepping away from the situation, then going back to that person and saying what I actually feel in a nonconfrontational way has helped and resulted in some awkward but rewarding conversations. The first time I did that, my heart was racing, and my hands were shaking. I was on a Zoom call with five White people, but I knew I had to say something, because if I did not, nothing would have changed. White people who are not used to talking about race may

not know how to approach certain topics or may even be worried about calling someone Black. As draining as it is for us Black folk, the fact that they have actually begun thinking, even for a brief moment, about the role they play in society, their privilege and how this manifests in their lives and inhibits Black people, is a step in the right direction. The more we all have these conversations, the more they will have to think, because if they say or do something that is not right, it will be questioned. Silence no longer feels like an option. We cannot let comments “just slide” because people are too old or too this or that and I am tired of hearing excuses and justifications for people contributing to the racism that many Black people experience every day in the UK. We all need to stop prioritising someone’s momentary discomfort over Black people’s lifelong, generations-long oppression. Allies need to start doing the work in everyday life, relaying what those beautiful Instagram infographics tell them and challenging peoples’ prejudices. It is time to find the courage to speak up when you experience or witness racism, regardless of whether there are no other Black people around. We need to show our circles and beyond that these conversations are here to stay. Harmful jokes, tick-boxing and tokenism will not be accepted - enough is actually enough. If, as a White person, you have read this

article and thought to yourself, ‘White was mentioned a few too many times and made me feel uncomfortable, separate and different’, imagine how Black people feel all the time.

Ije Amaechi is a 24-year-old singersongwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Watford with Nigerian and English heritage. She studied Music and Development Studies at SOAS, University of London and released her first two singles, ‘Loved and Lost’ and ‘Breathe’ earlier this year, out on all major platforms.



Pioneering photography on display in Ipswich for Black History Month Ground-breaking portrait photography by John Ferguson, one of Britain’s most talented Black photographers and the acclaimed national press and documentary photographer, will be hosted outdoors in central Ipswich from Saturday 3 October to Sunday 1 November. The images, from John’s acclaimed Black Britannia collection, focus on African people, and those of African descent, who have achieved success in contemporary Britain.






The exhibition is free to attend and located in Cornhill, Ipswich, from Saturday 3 October to Sunday 1 November.


The collection of stunning images first went on show in central London in 2007 in an exhibition opened by Prime Minister Gordon Brown. This October, Ipswich is pleased to host a selection of images from the collection in an outdoor exhibition on the Cornhill. The exhibition has been funded and supported by a local event and engagement partnership between Ipswich Borough Council, Ipswich Central and the New Anglia LEP. John, an Ipswich resident and Fleet Street’s first Black staff photographer, says: “Like many Black people throughout history, the people in the photographs have overcome racism and discrimination, and the legacy of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. This exhibition pays homage to their resilience and inspirational qualities and celebrates their incredible achievements.” Black Britannia features striking photographic portraits of 55 inspirational Black Britons, who personally inspired John or have made great strides in public life. Of the 55 Black Britons, some well-known faces such as Sir Trevor McDonald, Sir Lenny Henry, Naomi Campbell, Paul Ince, Lewis Hamilton, and others from various occupations such as head teachers to showbusiness, boxers to lawyers - people from all walks of life. For Black History Month 2020, John has selected some of his favourite portraits to be shown in front of Ipswich Town Hall throughout October. The exhibition aims to highlight the accomplishments of these individuals, by promoting a positive image of Black Britons and a message to today’s Black young people through these aesthetically arresting and high-quality portraits. John explains: “The aim being, first, to inspire younger Black people to broaden their horizons by providing non-stereotypical role models, and second, to show Ipswich at large, the incredible achievements of individuals away from the all too frequent stereotyping of black people.


“I believe that all too often the Black community is portrayed in a negative light. I want to challenge this preconception by raising people’s consciousness and awareness to the fantastic contributions made to Black Britons not only to UK culture but also to the economy at large. “I love that this venue is accessible and free to everyone, an important consideration given that part of the target audience I’d hope to attract would be disengaged youth. “Ipswich is a multicultural town, and through diversity comes strength and cohesion - consciously and subconsciously. This exhibition is a chance for younger people to become inspired by the portraits and stories of these Black men and women.” Cllr Sarah Barber, Portfolio Holder for the town centre, said: “Ipswich Borough Council is delighted to host this ground-breaking exhibition of portrait photographs by John Ferguson, one of Britain’s most talented Black photographers. “It pays homage to the resilience and accomplishments of Black people who have achieved success in contemporary Britain and gives young people in Ipswich an opportunity to be inspired by people that they can relate and connect to.” BALLET DANCER- SHEVELLE DYNOTT




WWII Veteran: Sargeant Nikanori Oming


y beloved Grandfather Nikanori Oming, was one of the fifteen children born to Bua Aryec and Atim Alito on 02.09.1920 in Abok village, Ngai, in Northern Uganda. Most of his siblings died as infants, so only two of them survived, him and his sister Apio. The cause of infant deaths occurred due to the lack of immunisation. Bua Aryec hailed from the Arak Opelo, a very successive warrior clan. Bua was highly respected as the rainmaker, a priestly role among the Lango tribe. Nikanori Oming studied up to Primary



By Faith Ruto (MBA, BSc) Four at Aculbanya Primary School in Aboke. He could not continue with education since his father could not afford to pay the school fees. Thereafter, he went to teach at Ototong sub-grade school in Ngai. At that time, a beautiful young girl, named Consy Achola had fled her home, in fear of pressure exerted on her for an arranged marriage. She was staying with her Uncle, Lacito Obwor of Ajejeri homestead in Ototong village, Ngai. It was there that they met. Because the dowry (bride price) asked from him was 25 cattle, 15 goats, and other assorted items; Oming could not afford it. He was so in love

with his young girlfriend that he begged her and his future father-in-law to wait for his return from the army. In June 1941, Oming joined the British Army recruits at Lira, North Uganda. They were transported south to Magamaga Barracks in Jinja for a short training. From there, they were transferred to Gilgil Barracks in Kenya for an intensive training. Once these exercises were complete, he was registered in the 11th African East Division. Malaria was, and still is, a human threat as a killer disease. The British authorities felt that African soldiers would be well suited

BELOW: My Grandparents, Consy and Oming

FAR LEFT: The East African Division Sign MAIN: African Troops in Burma

to jungle warfare and that they were less susceptible to malaria. So, in June 1943, they were taken to Ceylon Island, India for further training. Thereafter in June 1944, they were taken to Burma to fight with the Fourteenth Army during the Burma Campaign. My grandfather recalled an incident when the scouts identified a hill for them to camp. They were unaware the Japanese soldiers had identified the same hill and had camped up there before them. The Japanese spotted them as they advanced towards the hill. As they were climbing up the hill, the Japanese army had laid an ambush and launched a surprise attack on them. He spoke emotionally about his escape; how he rolled down the valley, losing his gun in the process. He got lost in the forest for one week, feeding on berries and using a combat knife to cut his way through the thicket. The battle intensified in the horrendous terrain of the notorious Kabaw Valley. His team artillery bombed the Japanese camp so hard that they smelt of smoke. They pursued the Japanese retreating from Imphal down the Kabaw Valley, where the Japanese suffered heavy casualties. In 1945, Sgt. Oming returned to Uganda, he came back with medals and plenty of

money to marry his beautiful bride. I am proud that my grandfather was such a remarkable man. He was a loyal, caring and a loving husband and father. Oming and Consy were happily married for over 50 years. They had 10 children, two live in the UK. My mother Rosette Oming is a Senior Diagnostic Radiographer at the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. My aunt Anne Ekinu is a Diabetic Specialist Nurse at Lewishham and Greenwich NHS Trust. Sgt. Oming and Consy had 34 grandchildren, including 62 great grandchildren and 10 great great grandchildren. My grandfather was ordained as a Church of England Reverend and he served the Lord until his peaceful death in 1990. My fondest memory of my grandfather was sitting beside him in the evenings and listening to BBC News with the then radio presenter George Alagiah. My self-help book “Transform Within – 7 Strategies for Professional Growth and Resilience” is dedicated to my beloved Grandmother, Consy Oming, who was the Matriarch of our family. She inspired both my mum and aunt to go into healthcare profession, who have worked in The NHS for 60 years combined. She was also a fierce woman, yet very caring and kind. Although, Consy had no formal education, she was a treasurer for the Mothers Union and community midwife. In May 2008, with her family beside her, our Mama peacefully passed away at the age of 83 years old. The family have built a memorial school for Sgt, Reverend Nikanori and Consy Oming in Ngai, Uganda. The pandemic crisis has had a terrible impact on my families in Uganda. Many are without work, students are at home, and the memorial school in our grandfather’s name

is closed and in need of funds. To honour our grandparents and to keep their story alive, we have set up a crowdfunding page on JustGiving. Our entire family is grateful to Black History Month magazine for giving us this platform to share our grandparent’s story. “We Stand on the Shoulders of Giants”. I am grateful to my Uncle, Canon. Reverend. Dr. Johnson Ebong Oming, who helped me to tell this story. We would like to leave you all with this inspirational phrase and wish you a peaceful and blessed Black History Month for 2020.

“If you want to go fast, travel alone. But if you want to go far, travel together.” Unknown, African Proverbs.



Pioneering train guard gains recognition for his contribution towards achieving equality in employment law in 1966. Not many will have heard the name Asquith Xavier, nor will they be aware of how the brave family man who faced racial discrimination in the workplace managed to beat the “colour bar”. Just a little over five short decades ago, Asquith Xavier, applied for a promotion that would see him move from Marylebone to Euston Station in 1966. But astonishingly, at the time there was an informal ban on Black workers holding railway jobs where they met the public, and he was turned down. Asquith Camile Xavier was born on July 18, 1920, on the island of Dominica in the West Indies, then a British colony. Like many of the Windrush generation, he answered the British government’s call for those in the Caribbean to move to Britain to help rebuild the weakened economy following WWII. There were severe labour shortages, so Commonwealth citizens were invited to travel over to Britain. Asquith boarded the TN. Ascania in his capital city of Roseau and docked in Southampton on April 16, 1958. Settling in Paddington, West London, he gained employment with British Rail as a porter before progressing to guard at Marylebone depot. In 1966, when the freight link



By Camealia Xavier-Chihota

at Marylebone depot was closed, he applied for a transfer to London Euston station. Asquith was told that he was denied the job due to an unofficial “colour bar” which operated at the station, excluding Black people from working in customer-facing roles. Dissatisfied with this decision, Asquith campaigned to end the racial discrimination practiced by British Rail. The first Race Relations Act was passed in 1965 making it illegal to discriminate on the

grounds of colour, race, ethnic or national origins in public places. But the railways were not considered public and somehow Asquith’s story gained traction. With the support of Jimmy Pendergast (NUR Branch Secretary) and Barbra Castle (Secretary of State for Transport), Asquith’s hard-fought battle meant that, on August 15, 1966, he became the first non-white guard to be employed at Euston Station. Asquith refused to accept discrimination and his quiet determination not only ended in him securing the job, but his pay was backdated to when he had first applied for the position. Subsequently, the Commission for Racial Equality was created. His campaign also led to the strengthening of the Race Relations Act (1968) which made it illegal to refuse housing, employment or public services to people because of their

ethnic background. On the day Asquith started at Euston, station manager Ernest Drinnan said: “We expect Mr Xavier to fit in very well here… His record at Marylebone was exceptionally good and we know everyone here will take to him.” Sadly, this wasn’t quite the case and his victory came at a cost. He received race hate from the public and threats to his life, so required Police protection on his way to and from work. Presenting the Bill to Parliament, then Home Secretary Jim Callaghan said: “The House has rarely faced an issue of greater social significance for our country and our children.” In 1972, Asquith and his family moved from London to Chatham, Kent, where he commuted daily by train to work at Euston, but not long after his health began to fail and in 1980, he passed away. Speaking about my grandfather, Asquith Xavier, and his advancements in gaining equal opportunities for the non-white community in the workplace, fills me with an overwhelming sense of pride. His dignity, strength of character and tenacity in the face of adversity makes me feel honoured to carry the Xavier name. His contribution to our society has undoubtedly shaped the way we live today and should be celebrated and never forgotten. His legacy has made a lasting impression on me and taught me that with matters of discrimination, the pen can be mightier than the sword. My grandfather’s approach to racial injustice managed to bring about a change in employment legislation of the time. This was not only a significant step in the right direction towards equal opportunities for the Windrush generation, who faced overt racism and prejudice daily, but also paved the way for future generations. For this I am truly grateful. Unfortunately, recent actions have shown that in Britain, racism did not end back in the 60’s with the passing of these laws. Sadly, it Camealia Xavier-Chihota is a grand-daughter of Asquith Xavier

is all too often the case that your ethnicity can determine your destiny. This is evident with the backlash received by the three words “Black Lives Matter”. Like many, I have been both inspired and concerned by the recent global Black Lives Matter movement, which has drawn attention to Britain’s past and present record on racial injustice. This coinciding with my grandfather’s centenary has helped shed light on his achievements within British race relations. But it is bittersweet for our family. Not only because he sadly passed away aged just 59, but also because this milestone comes at a time where, despite his efforts and despite the Race Relations Act, it is evident that we are not yet living in an anti-racist society. Black and mixed-race people are still under-represented, and their achievements largely omitted from the national curriculum, where it would be well-placed to improve unconscious bias and racial discrimination in the next generation.

During Black History Month 2016, Network Rail revealed a plaque in honour of my grandfather at Euston Station. Four years on, in the year we would have celebrated his 100th birthday, a brass mural detailing how Asquith Xavier overcame racial injustice in the campaign for equality in Britain, has been unveiled in Chatham, Kent. This local appreciation acknowledges his legacy as part of modern-day history, which will hopefully lead to nationally recognition of our unsung hero. Chatham was the place he travelled from and to daily, in the town he called home and where he was laid to rest, so it was significant to have a have record of his legacy locally. The production of this plaque was supported by Chatham’s Labour Councillors Sijuwade Adeoye and Vince Maple. I was truly humbled that Network Rail, Southeastern Railway and RMT came together to pay a special commendation to Asquith Xavier, in honour of his contribution to our multicultural society. It is a place where we can bring our children to be educated about his

pioneering ways and for the general public to learn of an ordinary man who achieved extraordinary things by standing up against systemic racism. I hope that his bravery will help to inspire others to also stand up for what they believe in and what is right. I am deeply upset as I never got to meet my granddad, but I am also hugely proud and feel a sense of duty to take the baton and advance the work he started to eliminate racial inequality, disadvantage and discrimination. I have addressed my local MP, the Minister of State at the Department for Education, and written to Boris Johnson to ask him to make learning about Black historical figures compulsory in schools. I don’t think there should be just one month dedicated to it, it needs to be integrated as part of the national curriculum. The national curriculum needs to be brought up to speed to include the positive achievements of Black, mixed-race and people of other ethnicities which are very relevant in both local and British history. I hope that by the time my children (Gabrielle, 3-and-a-half years & Ella, 2 years) reach school-age, their mainstream education will include learning about Black people who made a positive impact on British culture such as Ignatius Sancho, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Mary Seacole and Asquith Xavier. These people helped shape this country and teaching of their accomplishments may help address issues of prejudice and bias, assisting cohesion within the multi-cultural Britain we live in today. What my grandfather was able to justify over 50 years ago, was not just that Black Lives Matter but that the quality of life of black people matters equally. BLACK HISTORY MONTH 2020


ZONG Project


“Addressing the legacy of colonial slavery and industrial exploitation” BY REVEREND ALTON BELL

Chair of The Movement for Justice and Reconciliation


he Movement for Justice and Reconciliation was established in 2015 to highlight and address the legacy of the colonial enslavement of Africans in the Caribbean and the resulting industrial exploitation which ensued from that. To do this, we have gathered a varied team of researchers, historians, theologians, archivists, and community organisers to get our message out to the public.

The current Coronavirus pandemic and the graphic racial injustices witnessed in America have exposed a deep, divisive malaise in the fabric of Western societies, whose foundational institutions have their roots in the 15th century. It was then that various Popes of Western Europe sanctioned the enslavement of Africans. In 1442 Pope Eugenius IV issued a papal decree or bull – Illius Qui, which approved of Prince Henry’s slave trading expeditions to Africa and then gave Portugal sole rights over all its discoveries. His successor Pope Nicholas V issued another bull, Romanus Pontifex in January 1454 which gave formal support to Portugal’s monopoly of trading in Africa. This included Africans, as well as the instruction to convert them to the Christian faith. This bull was read out in the Cathedral of Lisbon in both Latin and Portuguese. And, as one historian pointed out, it helped to establish the familiar Portuguese pattern of ‘making money’, ‘saving’ Africans from ‘barbarism’, and the excitement of voyages down the Guinea coast and raiding expeditions up the rivers. (Thomas, Hugh. The Slave Trade: The story of the Atlantic Slave Trade: 1440-1870. Touchstone books, 1997. Page 65). This created a platform for White supremacy and the subsequent colonisation of the African and American continents by European nations. During colonisation, these European powers led by the Portuguese and the Spanish, created a system that categorised people. It was a hierarchy based upon the proportion of European blood they possessed and the hue of their complexion; a “pigmentocracy”, where lighter-skinned people enjoyed higher social status. After centuries of implementation, this white hegemony is embedded in the psyche, philosophy, and institutional structures


of many societies in Western Europe, Asia, Australia, and the Americas. Consequently, innumerable metrics demonstrate that Black and brown people in these societies are often marginalised, denigrated, dominated, and treated detrimentally. A major part of the mission and mandate of the Movement for Justice and Reconciliation is to increase the consciousness of those still steeped in white hegemonic views by highlighting their origins. Our aim is to create a climate that fosters reconciliation by revealing the histories behind many of the divisions that are still evident in societies as a direct result of slavery and colonisation and provide tangible mechanisms to heal them. As part of our ongoing efforts to achieve these aims, we have carried out research and delivered programmes since our inception. One of our projects is The Zong replica slave ship project. We particularly want to draw this to the attention of the Black community, since an abhorrent incident aboard The Zong slave ship played a pivotal role in raising the awareness of the public to the fact that Black people were, in fact, human beings and not chattel. During an Atlantic crossing in 1781, 132 people captured in Africa were thrown overboard from The Zong, drowning them, and claiming insurance money for them as loss of goods. The crew responsible for this misdeed were tried in 1783, although the case was heard as an insurance dispute, rather than a murder trial. Still, this seminal case changed public opinion about the transatlantic slave trade and highlighted the horrific experiences of African people at the hands of their captors. The Zong case galvanised the abolitionists,

whose efforts eventually brought about the Slave Trade Act of 1807, which abolished the transportation of slaves from Africa on British ships. The abolition of slavery itself would take another 31 years, as many parliamentarians, businessmen and clergymen had huge investment in the Caribbean Plantations and owned significant amounts of African Slaves. The Movement for Justice and Reconciliation has the opportunity to purchase a ship which will be renamed The Zong. We intend to use this as a floating museum to educate people to the fact that racism is a legacy of the transatlantic slave trade and that white privilege and hegemony must cease. The horrific events aboard the original Zong were used in the fight to abolish the slave trade and eventually slavery itself. Our intention is to use the replica slave ship to educate people that Black Lives Matter. The legal, political, and religious institutions of the past – whose mandates resulted in colourism, classism and racism which still exist today – must reconcile their role in the systemic inequity and work towards eliminating it. A large majority of the descendants of the enslaved still suffer from Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome, which is expressed in myriad ways. (see resources.html for articles relating to the Post-traumatic Slave Syndrome). To address these maladies, we need to repair the damages of centuries of injustice. Only when this happens, can we repeat the line form the old negro spiritual, “free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, I’m free at last.” The MJR would welcome donations by visiting their website BLACK HISTORY MONTH 2020


The crossroads facing the NFL and American society Super Bowl winner and Sky Sports NFL pundit Shaun Gayle opens up on the anxiety, resentment and fear facing Black people in America

Before the 2020 NFL season ends, there is the real possibility we may see another horrendous act of social injustice and police brutality.

The accrued anguish and anger, which follows such awful acts, will translate into more protests. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL made a U-turn, choosing apologies over penalties for players kneeling during the national anthem in protest. Authored by former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick, this peaceful pre-game protest against police brutality was hijacked, politicised, and rebranded as an offence against America, the military, and its flag. Tragically, it took the NFL and all those who embraced the false narrative, a horrific eight minutes and 46 seconds to finally see what Kaepernick, his teammate Eric Reid, and other players already knew - that the anxiety, resentment, and fear Black people feel in the US is real, as the world witnessed a Black man, George Floyd, being killed by the Police as if his life did not matter. Just recently, Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford shared a story. He had prearranged permission to use a field to work out with a teammate in preparation for the season. A teammate who like Stafford, happens to be white. A week later, Stafford gets the same permission to workout at the same field, however this time his teammates with him are Black. Someone in authority shows up and tells them they are trespassing and demands that they leave. This was followed by a call to the Police, with inflammatory commentary that they are being “uncooperative” and “not leaving the property”. For Black people in America this is not a new story, and to Stafford’s credit, sharing this experience will help educate those who want to be educated. But for the individuals who feel such an education is unnecessary because they themselves are unaffected, I have to refer them to a comment by comedian and author DL Hughley. “White privilege is like being asymptomatic during the pandemic. Your actions can perpetuate the disease without you experiencing any of the symptoms.” It has been said that those who have never personally experienced racism tend to question it exists. This disconnect helps keep racism alive. Protests are invaluable to democracy. They are an expression of objection. It is a collective “we won’t take it anymore”. Unfortunately, simply protesting can be an imperfect instrument, namely the prolonged time a movement takes to achieve actual change. The NFL and frankly the entire population are now at a crossroads and time is not on our side. How long before we witness another failure of humanity? How will the players react? More importantly, how will we as a people react? There is no reasoning in waiting for more images of callous brutalities because of race. If there was ever a time for the proverbial team effort, that time is now. And the change we need will take all of us.



Shaun Gayle is part of the pun ditry team on the Sky Sports NFL channel (407) and is also an Emmy Award winner. As a former American football defe nsive back in the NFL. He played twelve seasons, eleven for the Chicago Bears, and one for the San Diego Chargers. He was a member of the Bears squad that won Super Bowl XX in 1985. He was also a member of the “Shuffling Crew ” in the video The Super Bowl Shuffle. Gayle attended Ohio State University.

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