By Takudzwa Pasirayi, Talent Partner at Major Players
UK Black History Month 2020
Black History Month has taken place in the UK for over 30+ years with the aim to celebrate the achievements and contributions of the black community across Britain.
The #BlackLivesMatter movement has forced many to see the stark reality of racism in all its guises; from disproportionate covid-19 deaths, George Floyd’s and Breonna Taylor’s abhorrent murders to the police brutality, institutionalized racism and systemic injustice.
In the UK, the scale and impact of institutionalized racism is clear to see, here are some examples:
- According to My London, during lockdown over 20,000 young Black men were stopped and searched - the equivalent of 1 in 4 young Black men in the capital. The Guardian reported in 2019, that Black people are 40x more likely to be stopped by the police than white people.
- The Macpherson Report (published 1999), prompted by the inquiry into the Metropolitan Police force’s handling of Stephen Lawrence’s murder; concluding that policing was institutionally racist and gave a set of 70 recommendations to address this – some of which still haven’t fully been implemented
- D&AD have previously reported that despite the creative sectors contributing 42bn to the UK economy and accounts for one in six jobs in the capital, only 11.4% are filled by BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic) groups.
The discussion of race and racism is more prevalent than ever and we are at a standpoint in time for real change. This starts with educating individuals and businesses on black history, heritage and culture – as part of understanding racism and standing in solidarity against it.
What does Black History Month mean to me?
Black History Month for me is a great opportunity to be the catalyst for learning, reflecting, recognizing and most importantly celebrating black history.
Growing up, the only Black history taught through the school curriculum heavily focused upon slavery; so it wasn’t until I started digging around my ancestors’ histories, I realised that there was more beyond this.
Black history is full of unrecognized iconic figures that have changed the world (Ralph Bunche, Dr Daniel Hale Williams, Cathay Williams, Benjamin Banneker, Jack Johnson and Henrietta Lack to name a few). Their names and stories deserve to be told.
This month is about recognizing the past, but more importantly celebrating the future; I hope that this year, everyone comes together and we use this opportunity to honor the commitment to learning and stand united against racism, not only just for this month but every day.
What we are Major Players doing for Black History Month UK
At Major Players we have recently put together an internal affinity group, opening up a dialogue with our management team to ensure the business is developing in the right way. As a business we are in a unique position to be the conduit for positive change; building a more equitable inclusive future for all.
So, to celebrate Black History Month, our affinity group will be taking over the Major Players social channels to share extraordinary people, their stories and their contributions and achievement.
Each week, we will celebrate a different theme including Hidden Figures, Black Women, Black LGBTQI+ and Inspirational Icons on our social channels, via reading lists and through interviews.
To keep up to date with what we have going on, please follow our Linkedin and Instagram accounts.
Upcoming Digital Events To Get Involved In
Brilliant and Black: Celebrating Black History Month
Thursday 1st October @ 2-4pm
In Celebration of BHM 2020 The University of Manchester is proud to present: “Brilliant and Black” with Professor Gary Younge
Introduction to Black Presence in the National Galleries in London
Thursday 1 October @ 7.30pm
Zoom: Meeting ID: 824 9185 8741 / Passcode: 445763
There is a Black presence in many of the paintings in the nation’s national art collections in London. That presence takes many different forms. Black people are depicted as kings, queens, as musicians, as slaves, servants, saints and sometimes just as people and even as artists in their own right.
Marvel Comics Black Panther Breakdown
Friday 2 October @ 6.30pm
Zoom: Register Here
Andrew Muhammad aka 'The Investigator' will decode this movie in one of his renowned movie breakdowns, uncovering the hidden truths and meanings behind Wakanda and all its characters! The Investigator will review the hidden African symbolism, spirituality and civilisations.
The Amazing History of Black People in London before 1948
Monday 5 October @ 7pm
Zoom: Register Here
Most people believe that Black people only came here in 1948. Black people have lived in Britain since Roman times. Moors were a common sight in Elizabethan England. There were great Black personalities in 18th and 19th century Britain. This presentation tells their story.
Black History Month: Whose Statues?
Tue, 13 October 2020 @ 6:30-8pm
Join author and heritage consultant S.I. Martin to explore the function and background of statues and plaques in a multi-ethnic society.
Black History Month: Lunchtime Showcase
Wednesday 14th Sept @ 12-2pm
Calling upon students, colleagues and researchers, this year we will be sharing projects & initiatives from BAME researchers.
Monday Xtra History Sessions:
Racism, Afriphobia & The UK Music Industry
Monday Sep. 28 @ 6-9pm
Via Zoom: Register Here
Representatives of eight of the key music industry organisations will be on hand to explain their post-George Floyd/#BlackOutTuesday/#TheShowMustBePaused race/ethnicity-focused diversity programmes.