Being a LibDem in Black History Month 2015!

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Our party will officially celebrate Black History Month 2015, with photos of members celebrating their Black Heroes hosted on our website.  Event lists with Black History Month information is being mailed out to Local Party Chairs – alerting them about the eclectic mix of theatre, music, film and talks etc., taking place during this celebratory month of October.  The information is an aid to encourage us to take this celebratory month and embrace new cultures and new members from ethnic minority backgrounds.

Black History Month is a yearly event and is inspired by many contemporary cultural thinkers that include Akyaaba Addai-Sebo, Ansel Wong and Linda Bellos – to name a few.  The movement was supported by publications such as Caribbean Times, Asian Times, African Times, West India Digest and Roots magazine.  Without doubt, the powerhouse behind Black History Month is firmly evidenced in the Black Cultural Archives in Windrush Square, London and Hansib publication is seen as the key driver.  The team organized events and published photos and other materials, ensuring the history of Black Culture in the UK was captured for future generations.

The purpose of Black History Month is essentially to celebrate the diverse cultures that make up Black Britain.  Events in 2015 will include migrant groups such as Polish, Irish and Turkish etc, cultures that unite under the political term: Black British.  These celebrations include embracing others and healing the harm from years of racism.  Although the Race Relations Act had secured its political journey and was firmly on the statue books by 1974, racism continued and by 1987 several community leaders had come together to change the public mood.

Along with other initiatives, Black History Month was born and began its arduous battle to influence the negative portrayal of migrants in our mainstream press and many of our communities. Black History Month demonstrates that immigrants proved not to be the wicked curse as some had suggested, and through the celebration of art, music and culture, the anti-immigration narrative began to be challenged.

The celebration of migrant communities and their contribution to Britain chimes well with our party’s mantra – that immigration is a benefit to our country.  Only last weekend (12 September 2015) did we see many LibDem members marching around various cities calling for our political leaders to accept the most recent refugees from Syria!

As a party that celebrates the many histories of the world, our commitment to our migrant values will be firmly celebrated by LibDem members during Black History Month and you are all welcome to join in!

* Teena Lashmore is the Vice Chair London Region Liberal Democrats and writes in a personal capacity.

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8 Comments

  • Eddie Sammon 28th Sep '15 - 3:49pm

    Good to see! I thought Black History Month was about challenging Euro-centric views of history? Maybe it is about this and celebrating culture!

  • Great post, and timely as we move into the GLA and Mayoral campaigns, where we will need to connect with London’s multiple and diverse communities, and their separate and intertwined histories.

    My employer, the Royal College of Nursing, will be holding a few events, and of course we are hoping that the Mary Seacole fundraising will be complete in time to have the statue unveiled this year. See: http://www.maryseacoleappeal.org.uk/latest-news-and-events

  • Richard Underhill 29th Sep '15 - 3:25pm

    We should also commerate the work of one ethnic minority MP from the Progressive Reform Party who campaigned against apartheid. Helen Suzman was thanked by Nelson Mandela.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen_Suzman

  • Tahir Maher Tahir Maher 2nd Oct '15 - 10:58am

    Good article Tina. I have always supported Black History Month as the benefit of ethnic minorities in the history of this country, alone, is never mentioned and therefore forgotton. For example hundre of thousands of (than) Indians died both in the first and second world wars. This was the same for the Africian Americians – all contributions forgotton. Unfortunately, when I wear a poppy to honour those who died in the wars (espicially of colour) the same people ask me why. They have been so diverted from the truth that they don’t honour or understand anyone would remember our forefathers who did for British liberty (right or wromg – they gave their lives). This is one example of history that we need to ensure is made clear and remembered there are countless more. Good article Tina.

  • Yahaya kiingi 5th Oct '15 - 5:32pm

    Great article ! I think now, more than ever, we must as a party reaffirm our support for multiculturalism, at a time when britishness and identity is a becoming a political football . As one of the few ethnic minority parliamentary candidates in the last election I know how much our members have embraced the ideals of equality and representation but we still have work to do. We still have zero representation in parliament and very little in the parties leadership structures. I hope this month we will not just celebrate the contribution of minorities in our society, but also lift a mirror up and ask ourselves what more we can do to champion diveristy. As for my own black role model, I would like to highlight and pay respects to a man whose personal trials, tribulations and triumphs continue to inspire me. The abolitionist and campaigner Olaudha Equiano the african.

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