BHM 21: Proud to be partners

Continuing with our BHM celebration and commemoration, we’re sharing what this year’s theme, #ProudToBe means to our amazing partners who have worked hard with us to support wider changes in the industry and raise the bar on inclusive and people-forward strategies.

Having started 2020 Change as an ode to the community, 20/20 Change support the next generation with empowering development programmes and spirited group discussions, helping young people realise their true in today’s changing society. 

Duro Oye, CEO of 20/20 Change and now, new father, sits down with us to talk through this year’s Black History Month theme, ‘Proud To Be,’ and everything in between. 

Duro Oye - A young Black man paving the way for the next generation of Change Makers 

What does Black History Month mean to you? 

Black History Month for me is the opportunity to reflect on the sacrifices that those that came before us made for us to enjoy the life that we are living now. An opportunity to recharge and work towards the changes I want to see in the coming year. 

Why is it important that we recognise and celebrate Black History?

All too often we forget the struggles and successes of Black people, representation matters. If we have a better understanding what those that came before us were able to achieve with the little, they had. It helps us put in perspective just how much is expected of us. Recognising and celebrating Black History reminds us of the greatness that we have on the inside. 

What does the theme #ProudToBe mean to you?

The #ProudToBe theme takes me back to the James Brown classic “I’m Black and I’m Proud” this song came out over 50 years ago and Black people are still feeling the pain and aggression that lead James Brown to write those lyrics. It’s like we’ve gone full circle. The theme makes me put aside some of the challenges Black people have faced and focus on the things that make me proud to be a Black man! 

What is your proudest achievement and why?

Becoming a father! Feels strange to say fatherhood is my proudest achievement since I didn’t make it happen myself! Nor is it a one-time thing but my son is a gift! For years I’ve poured into the lives of young people, I now have the greatest opportunity to help mould a young life, giving him all the tools, he needs to be all that he can be! This is a new journey for me but if you ask me time and time again my answer will always be the same! 

Who inspires you to feel proud and empowered? 

Every one of our 20/20 Change Alumni members! Watching them find themselves on our programme and going on to achieve what they said they would make me so proud. One by one they all become pillars in their communities not only leaving empowered but empowering the young people around them.  

Finish the statement, I am #ProudToBe… 

A young Black man paving the way for the next generation of Change Makers!