As we celebrate Black History Month, I thought I would share a few thoughts with you, I hope you don’t mind!
When I was growing up (I am very old!) there was no such thing as Black History - full stop, let alone a whole month dedicated to it! The only time black was mentioned in school was in relation to slavery.
We had moved house and were the only black family in the neighbourhood for a few years. We had all the usual; “get back to the jungle” comments, (some made by teachers!) but my Dad, a wonderful, wonderful man kept our spirits high, with his wit and wisdom; whilst my Mom was ready to do battle with anyone who tried to “mess with us”.
Some of you (as old as I) may recall the Handsworth Uprisings in the early 1980’s. I joined Rock Against Racism and marched, rallied and danced (something I still love to do) to Two Tone and Reggae and Punk Rock! But it was during my studies to become a Social Worker, that I was made aware of the depths of racism and oppression, both here and globally.
For me BHM is an opportunity to reflect on the contributions made by so many who came before us, those who fought and campaigned both here and abroad.
So in 2022 I will mostly be thinking about my brilliant Daddy; a calm and welcoming man who endured extreme racism on building sites, who made us pick a football team to support so we had something to discuss and in common, who told us, “you can do whatever you like; but doing nothing is not an option” who danced more than me, at my 30th birthday party and who demonstrated how to love, how to provide support and how to rise above the hate of racism to be the better person.
Lorna Wallace-Davis, Board Member and EDI champion