Black History Month
Every October in the UK we have the pleasure of acknowledging Black History Month, a time to formally recognise and celebrate the contributions African & Caribbean individuals have made towards British society but also, to reflect on the reason why celebration is imperative.
It started in the United States when Dr Carter G Woodson, who was born in 1875 in Virginia, had the rare opportunity to study and graduate with a PHD in History. Carter was passionately driven to advocate and educate schools on Black History which was desperately needed – thereafter, launching the beginning of Black History Month in 1926.
Amid, facing the hinderances for authentic freedom and success there are lots of household names which broke barriers leaving unforgettable legacies, to proudly name a few:
- Mary Seacole, a British- Jamaican businesswoman and nurse who set up the “British Hotel” behind the lines during the Crimean War. Coming from a tradition of Jamaican and West African “doctresses”, she used herbal remedies to nurse soldiers back to health. Mary was awarded the Jamaican Order of Merit in 1871.
- Walter Tull, growing up in an orphanage from the age of 9, became the first African-Caribbean mixed heritage man to be commissioned as an infantry officer in the British Army.
- Dame Shirley Bassey, well known for recording the theme songs to the James Bond films Goldfinger, Diamonds Are Forever, and Moonraker. In January 1959, Shirley became the first Welsh person to gain a No. 1 single. In 2000, Shirley was appointed a DBE for services to the performing arts. In 1977, she received the Brit Award for Best British Female Solo Artist.
- Moira Stuart is a British presenter, who was the first African-Caribbean female newsreader on mainstream British television. Moira Stuart began working with the BBC in the 1970s as a production assistant in the Radio Talks and Documentaries department. Moving to television news in 1981.
- Marcus Rashford an English professional football player who In October 2019, Rashford set up the In the Box campaign with Selfridges to give homeless people essential items over the Christmas period while also sending some to a children’s home in his grandmother’s home country of Saint Kitts and Nevis. In March 2020, during the UK lockdown Marcus provided his full support with a target of supporting 400,000 children but raised over £20 million to provide food for children nationwide. It is recorded that the charity had been able to provide 3 million meals across the country, rising to 4 million the following month.
- Stormzy, a Ghanian rapper born in South London mainly known for his Grime music. Stormzy was the first black British rapper to headline at the Glastonbury Festival in 2019. Stormzy has funded the “Stormzy Scholarship for Black UK Students” at the University of Cambridge, covering tuition costs for two students each year and maintenance grants. In 2022 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Exeter for his work to promote education and fighting racial inequality. In 2022, the artist announced a partnership brand including football clubs, Sky Sports and Goal.com, for a programme called “#Merky FC aimed to increase the representation of Black and mixed-Black British people in the game’s industry, by providing long-term, paid professional placements at the brands.
Black History Month for me personally feels like an opportunity to be seen & understood – not of a higher regard, but to be seen equally as my counterparts, peers and people who look different to me- without justification. As much as it seems like the ordinary to treat everyone as equal regardless of their race, unfortunately it has not always been the case for the majority, and I am grateful for a platformed opportunity each year to further highlight advocacy and equality.
With an increasing number of children from Black backgrounds entering care, there is a greater need than ever for foster carers from Black communities/ backgrounds. Becoming a foster carer during Black History Month is more than just a gesture; it’s a commitment to creating a more inclusive future. By opening your heart and home to a child in need, you have the opportunity to provide them with a nurturing environment that not only respects their cultural identity but also empowers them to embrace their heritage proudly. Profoundly impacting a child’s sense of belonging and self-worth, fostering an environment where they can thrive and reach their full potential.
I ask for us as a community to make a meaningful difference in the lives of children in need. By becoming a foster carer with Sunbeam Fostering Agency, you can be a beacon of hope and support for children who deserve a nurturing and culturally sensitive environment. Embrace the spirit of diversity and inclusivity and join us in fostering positive change that will impact generations to come. If you are interested to become a foster carer or need any help & support, please feel free to contact Sunbeam Fostering office on 02087990930 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org