Reflections on Black History Month

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The month of October in the UK is celebrated as Black History Month (BHM), which I must admit, I was not aware of till couple of weeks back. So, when I read about it, I thought ‘why not to write few lines for the people like me who may have not paid much attention to BHM?’

Black History Month is celebrated to recognise the struggle of black people for equal rights and civil justice. This celebration of BHM is for achievements to the contribution of black people, who, despite so much hardship, strive to contribute to humanity in every way.

Today during the pandemic, when we visit either the hospital or the care home, we see people from the black community, along with others, working tirelessly to save lives.

To tell you the truth sometimes when you read the history you find it so difficult to believe that any community has had to struggle so much for equal rights, a right which should be part and parcel of every human at the time of birth.

When we celebrate Black History month, it is to remind the current generation, and people across the globe, of the struggle of black people for social justice, to abolish slavery and discrimination.

The origin of BHM goes back to 1926 to commemorate African American history. In the UK, BHM was celebrated for the first time in October 1987. The aim to commemorate BHM was to challenge racism and educate the rest of the society about black people’s history – as this was not part of any school syllabus at that time – to introduce society to the rich culture and heritage of the black community, along with their struggle for equal rights. Whoever has flipped the pages of a history book will be aware about how hard it has been for black people to come out of slavery and gain equal rights.

On the surface, equal rights and non-discrimination seem paramount features of every advance society. But George Floyd’s death during his arrest on 25th May 2020 in Minnesota shows that the picture on the wall is not as it looks. In many ways, the fight for equality is still going on. All of us will have to work hard to eradicate discrimination and racism from this planet, It0 hardly matters against what community it is.

All of us as members of the Liberal Democrat party should take a pledge to strive to remove the racial inequality in our community and that is only possible when we recognize the achievements of all races.

Editor’s note: You can read more on this topic on the official website of Black History Month.

* Anita Prabhakar is a solicitor. She has been a Lib Dem PPC three times and is the diversity officer for Liberal Democrats for the Heart of England. She is a member of the Vice- President's Advisory Group, Diversity Champion of the East Midlands Regional Executive and Vice-Chair of Newark Liberal Democrats.

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2 Comments

  • A very good article by Anita and the inequalities that still exist have been highlighted during the pandemic. It is both intetesting and concerning that 50 years after the Equal Pay Act that we still do not have equal pay. Earlier this week there was an article in The Voice Newspaper highlighting the fact that the ethnicity pay gap was largest in London where Black and minority ethnic employees in the capital earn 24% less than their white counterparts. Let’s hope that Luisa will address this issue during her London Mayoral Campaign.

  • Interesting to note Winston Churchill, Home Secretary in the Asquith Liberal Government, banned interracial boxing matches on September 26, 1911 because of the fear that it might challenge the notion of white supremacy in the Empire.

    A full story is on the BBC News website today about Len Johnson, a black boxer from Manchester who was refused the opportunity to win the British title : “BBC Sport today : Len Johnson: the boxer with 93 wins who could never become British champion”.

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